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Newcastle United 2 - 0 Leeds United: Formation Frailties on Show in Cup Defeat

Newcastle showed their quality when needed at home to overcome Leeds on an entertaining night on Wednesday.

Michael Regan

A trip to any Premier League ground is always going to be an up-hill task. In recent years though, the Whites have had their fair share of fairytale stories to look back on.

The League Cup without doubt isn't the biggest of competitions - but it is still a competition that every side wants to win. With Newcastle starting the season in dodgy form, there was always that little bit of hope as we set off up the A1 with hours and hours to spare ahead of kick-off.

For me it was my first ever trip to Newcastle but plenty will have made the trip in recent years for our friendly. Boss Brian McDermott made plenty of changes to his starting eleven as he looked to freshen things up with Millwall in mind. Alex Mowatt started in midfield, Stephen Warnock came back into defence, with Dom Poleon and Matt Smith starting up top.

Newcastle had the odd-half chance early doors but it was Leeds that started the game the better. A quick pace in midfield and some pacey running from Poleon out wide was giving Leeds room in the middle. Ross McCormack found space and could have given Leeds the lead but his chipped effort hit the woodwork after he left Tim Krul helpless in the home goal.

Once again in the eleventh minute the songs rang out for Gary Speed as the Leeds fans chanted in tribute to the former player in a tribute that could have been shared by more of the home crowd.

As the half ticked by, the Magpies came on stronger as they threatened on several occasions. Yoan Gouffran could have scored and Papiss Cisse scuffed his shot when he could have finished from six yards out. The striker didn't miss the target minutes later when Sami Ameobi found him in the box and his header went past the stranded Paddy Kenny.

The half-time whistle went and 99% of fans sat in the heavens with a smile on their face and a similar performance in the second-half gave us plenty of confidence.

Matt Smith had a good chance early doors but his header could not have been easier for Krul to gather. But with half chances being missed, Leeds' problems with their formation were once again on show. Ross McCormack and Dom Poleon were playing as wingbacks at times and when in possession, Smith was left exposed with no real speed up top.

A double sub from McDermott tried to give Leeds a fresh impetus - Diouf replaced Poleon, Tonge coming off for White. That change was in vein when Newcastle doubled their lead and killed the game off. Gouffran got the ball on the edge of the box and then rifled the ball into the top corner to send the home crowd wild.

The remainder of the game passed by with nothing on the pitch seeming to matter. Most of the entertainment was in the crowd as Leeds fans did their best to forget the result.

The journey home down the closed A1 (someone please tell me why) was bad enough but it was made worse by my realisation that once again Aidy White had somehow being paid to be a footballer. All in all United had a good go, we could and should have scored but once more the problems with our formation took its tole.

A decent loan signing here or there won't go a miss.