MISSING SEVERAL OF their regular faces, Newcastle United survived sweltering conditions to hold Greek side Atromitos to a 1-1 draw in their Europa League play-off round first-leg early this evening.
The English Premier League side were playing in Europe for the first time in five years but coach Alan Pardew made nine changes from the side which beat Tottenham in their opening league match at the weekend to give fringe players some game time.
The new faces included Adam Campbell, a second half substitute who became the Magpies’ youngest European debutant at 17 years and 236 days – 64 days younger than former favourite Andy Carroll when he played in Palermo in 2006.
Another getting a rare game was former first choice keeper Steve Harper, who at 37 was handed a start with Dutch international Tim Krul giving way.
Pardew also gave youngsters Romain Amalfitano and James Tavernier chances to prove themselves at the Peristeri Stadium in stifling heat of almost 40 Celsius, as well as handing summer signing from Ajax Vurnon Anita the chance to boss the midfield.
Harper was unable to keep a clean sheet as German striker Denis Epstein gave the hosts the lead on 24 minutes before Ryan Taylor fired home a free kick in first half stoppage time to give Newcastle a good chance of reaching the group stage with the home leg to come.
Pardew rang the changes with his team facing a difficult trip to Chelsea on Saturday, though striker Papiss Cisse did feature.
Cisse set up a headed chance for Sylvain Marveaux after the break but the Frenchman was unable to find the target.
Cisse then saw former Liverpool reserve keeper Charles Itandje deny him late on as the Senegal international attempted to poach a winner before Konstantinos Giannoulis missed a gilt-edged change for the Greeks.