Toon talent makes it 11 goals in 16 games as NUFC beat Sunderland in Tyne-Wear derby

If the final piece in the Ashley jigsaw disappearing with the removal of the Sports Direct signage at St. James’ wasn’t enough to celebrate yesterday, then add in the U-23s 2 – 0 victory over Sunderland in Premier League 2!

United’s youngsters were pushed all the way by a determined Sunderland side who actually went down to ten men after only 16 minutes when Patrick Almond was sent off for a terrible challenge on former Chelsea man Charlie Wiggett.

It was a tackle worthy of an early bath with the referee not taking any pity on the Sunderland youngster and having no hesitation in despatching him from the game.

United calmed any Tyne-Wear derby nerves midway through the first half taking the lead thanks to hot shot Dylan Stephenson. The Geordie youngster has climbed his way through the ranks from the youth team last season and is in fine form this season, bagging 11 goals in 16 appearances.

He was even touted for a place on the first team bench earlier this season and certainly looks a player well worth nurturing and monitoring. His goal came when he turned in the box and rifled home on 22 minutes with a right-footed finish.

One-nil up at half-time it was Stephenson that almost doubled his and United’s tally shortly after the break but his effort although beating Sunderland keeper Jacob Carney crashed into the side netting.

Dan Langley in the Newcastle goal did well to help his side to stay in front making decent saves from Cieran Dunne and Stephen Wearne before Dunne wasted a great chance for an equaliser after bursting into the box but blazing over with just Langley to beat.

United’s youngsters though confirmed the win late on with yet another goal from Dylan Stephenson, his 12th in only 16 games this season. Cameron Ferguson, son of Big Dunc, on as a substitute won a header knocking it down into the path of Lucas de Bolle.

His shot was saved by Carney but he could only parry the effort straight into the path of Stephenson who lashed the ball home from close range.

For recently appointed (from Sunderland!) reserve team coach Elliott Dickman, the win was a satisfying one against the club he left to join Newcastle’s new era. Dickman said: “I’m pleased, and pleased we kept the clean sheet.

“We have been speaking a bit about that in the last few weeks so delighted that the team did that. It’s nice to win a derby game. Although, the sending off probably changed the game a bit. It’s never easy against 10 men but that’s a different challenge for the players.”

“It’s a couple of times we’ve come across that now and again we asked the lads to do different things and channel it in a different way. Some of it was good – some of it could be a bit better. That’s every single game we play, we will pick the bones out of it and find areas where we can better.”

As for Stephenson? Well, time and signings elsewhere may well play a part in his progression but there’s no doubting that his undoubted ability and eye for goal has marked him out as a real prospect for the future.

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