LEE Paul Scroggins helped Whitley Bay hold European heavyweights Metalist Kharkiv on Tyneside – then backed Newcastle United to go one better.
Scroggins, from South Shields, scored in Sunday’s 1-1 draw between the two sides.
The game at Hillheads was arranged by Kharkiv to top up their players’ fitness ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League Round of 32 tie against Newcastle at St James’s Park, with the Ukrainian league on a winter break.
Scroggins has scored a lot of goals in his career, but never against a team of said.
“I was on the edge of the box for a corner, but there was too many people there so I thought I go in. The ball came over and I put my foot in.
“I’ve done a lot of things in football – I’ve played professionally in America, and scored goals all over the world – but that’s one for the scrapbook and to tell the grandchildren.
“It was a great experience. It’s not very often you get to play a team like that – when we found out we were a bit shell-shocked.
“For the first 15 minutes we were chasing shadows, but people watching said we held our own.
“We created a couple of chances, and got in at 1-1 at half-time. We thought we might have been 8-0 down! We just wanted to keep it tight as possible for as long as possible.”
Alan Pardew’s Newcastle side will be looking to take a lead into the second leg in the Ukraine on February 21.
While Scroggins rates Metalist, he feels United can get themselves ahead in the tie.
“To come away with a 1-1 draw against a team of their calibre was brilliant – they’re ranked 29th in Europe,” added Scroggins.
“I think it’ll be different against Newcastle – this was a warm-up match for them.
“They’ve got some technically-gifted players, and played some good football. It’ll be interesting on Thursday.
“Newcastle have got some new players, and had come into form before Saturday. I’d expect them to win.”