Monday night witnessed one of the games of the season to be played at St. James’ Park this year, as Newcastle’s reserves drew 3-all with Manchester United, with 17-year-old Italian forward Federico Macheda stealing the headlines with a hat-trick for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s second-string XI.
Macheda opened the scoring from the penalty spot after his attempted cut-back was handled by Brazilian defender Claudio Cacapa after just 13 minutes of play. But the sides headed into the break all-square after Gary Neville, returning from a groin injury, was guilty of conceding a soft penalty for a nudge on Xisco, with the Spaniard making no mistake from 12-yards.
Three minutes into the second half and the Magpies were ahead, a left-wing Ferguson cross was volleyed back into the danger area by Godsmark and Mark Doninger arrived on the scene to fire home at the near post. But the Toon could not hold onto their lead, Matthew James released Macheda to burst into the box, and the Italian striker had the composure to take the ball round Forster in goal and slide the ball home from a tight angle and past two defenders.
The final ten minutes were thrilling.
Eight minutes from time Danny Guthrie looked to have sealed the win with a fine low drive from 20-yards out that arrowed into the bottom corner. But Macheda would again have the last word a minute from time, a stunning raking pass from Wes Brown’s younger brother, Reece Brown, picked out the number 9 over-the-top and Macheda’s controlled expertly before finishing clinically to earn a share of the spoils.
Highlights of Newcastle’s thrilling 3-all draw with Manchester United’s reserves can be seen here.