With head coach Eddie Howe in attendance, Newcastle United Under-23s boosted their hopes of progressing into the Premier League Cup knockout stages with a 2-1 victory against ten-man Watford on Friday afternoon.
Dylan Stephenson broke the deadlock inside four minutes at Whitley Park, the striker’s 13th goal of the season at second-string level, before the Hornets were reduced to ten men in the second-half following Kamil Conteh’s red card.
Lucas De Bolle doubled the young Magpies’ advantage in the closing stages with his first goal at under-23 level and despite JJ McKiernan’s stoppage-time strike for the visitors, United’s youngsters saw out the Group G encounter to secure maximum points.
Elliott Dickman made two changes to the side which claimed a 2-0 victory against local rivals Sunderland on Monday night as Josh Scott and Rosaire Longelo were named in the starting line-up in place of Matt Bondswell and Adam Wilson respectively.
Newcastle’s second-string had suffered a 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture in September but were aiming to leapfrog their Hornets counterparts with a much-needed victory.
Meanwhile down in London Newcastle United Under-18s sealed their place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup following a 3-2 away win against West Ham United on Friday night.
After a tight encounter at the Rush Green Training Ground, the third round tie sprung into life in the closing stages as Michael Ndiweni’s close-range rebound broke the deadlock for the Toon teenagers before the visitors were quickly pegged back through Divin Mubama’s emphatic finish.
A dramatic finale was to follow as Jay Turner-Cooke regained United’s lead in the dying minutes before Ndwieni’s composed finish eventually wrapped up the victory for Newcastle’s youngsters despite George Earthy setting up a nervy finish after halving the deficit for the hosts.
Newcastle’s win sets up a fourth round tie at home to Colchester United, who claimed a 3-0 victory against Arsenal.
The young Magpies, managed by former United centre-back Peter Ramage, reached the quarter-finals of the prestigious youth competition last term before losing to eventual winners Aston Villa.
Nice to hear that Eddie Howe was at the Under-23s game and assessing all his squad and not just at games but apparently in training as he and his coaching staff had individual chats with all the youngsters in the Academy.
We may be the richest Club in the world and may eventually be able to buy pretty much any player we want but it’s nice to know that we’ve got talent in reserve and are keeping an eye on our emerging stars.