After being forced to take over first-team duties earlier this summer following Rafa Benitez’s, Neil Redfearn is now back in his intended job – managing the U-23’s.
Unfortunately, his start to life with our second string has gone pretty horribly, with our youngsters being smashed 6-0 at Reading in their opening game of the Premier League 2 season last night.
The team was a strong one. It featured last season’s top scorer Elias Sorensen, talented Spaniard Victor Fernandez, highly-rated new signings Kyle Scott and Jake Turner (GK), along with U-23 regulars Kelland Watts, Owen Bailey, Lewis Cass, Mo Sangare and Tom Allan; players who played a big part in us narrowly missing out on promotion last season.
The team looked strong and hopes would’ve been high on the back of our play-off push in 2018/19, but the result and performance was a disastrous.
Tyler Frost gave Reading a lead just over 10 minutes in, with Andrija Novakovich and Thierry Nevers then scoring to make it 3-0 before half-time. Perhaps the most worrying thing at the break was the nature of their goals (watch here), with each and every one coming via some woeful defending and basic errors at the back.
Andrija Novakovich scored again to make it 4-0 just after the hour mark, however it only got worse just moments later, with U-23 captain Owen Bailey seeing red and reducing us to 10-men as a result.
An inevitable late collapse then followed in the final five minutes. Nevers made it 5-0 with his second, with the scoring then rounded up by Novakovich – who made it six and completed his hat-trick late on.
A debut to forget for new signings Kyle Scott and Jake Turner and new boss Neil Redfearn.
Let’s hope we can bounce back on Saturday, where the U-23’s welcome West Ham to Tyneside for their second game of their new Premier League 2 campaign.