Newcastle played Aston Villa at Villa Park tonight in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup, in front of a decent crowd of 2,457, and gained a creditable 1-1 draw in a keenly contested game.
Newcastle had top youngster Haris Vuckic on the bench, and the 17 year-old Slovenian U-21 International is only now returning from 5 months out with a knee and ankle injury.
And Newcastle got off to a great start with a goal form Phil Airey after just 9 minutes played.
18 year-old Amble-born Airey was put through by a long ball downfield, and Phil beat the Villa offside trap, and controlled the ball nicely before putting it past Villa goalkeeper Siegrist from close range.
And following a good first half, Newcastle took a deserved 1-0 lead into the break.
And confidence was starting to flow through the Newcastle side when the second half started, and the lads were passing the ball around nicely with Villa struggling to get the ball.
But then on 60 minutes the home side were level.
Jason Lampkin moved quickly down the left wing and put in a great cross right onto the head of Kofi Poyser, and the striker headed home past the helpless Jak Aklnick in the Newcastle goal, from just 8 yards out.
The goal was against the run of play but Newcastle were now in a game, and after 7 minutes after the Villa equalizer Newcastle brought on Haris Vuckic, Newcastle’s 6’2″ midfielder in place of Sammy Ameobi, hoping no doubt the budding young star could restore Newcastle’s lead.
And Vuckic was immediately involved in the game, and was almost put clear after a good passing exchange with Australian Brad Inman when just 20 yards out – and Newcastle were pressing hard for the winner in the final 20 minutes of tonight’s game.
Both sides tried to find the winner, and it became exciting end-to-end action as time ran out, but both sides settled for the draw, with the game ending a stalemate at 1-1.
Newcastle now entertain Aston Villa at St. James’ Park a week tomorrow night, in the second leg, and the Geordie lads must stand a great chance of progressing to the final, where they will meet Chelsea, who have a strong side this season.
Let’s hope the youngsters can get some great backing from the Newcastle crowd a week tomorrow night, as that could certainly make the difference.
Howay The Lads!!
Aston Villa U-18: Benjamin Siegrist, Durrell Berry, Ellis Deeney, Daniel Devine, Derrick Williams, Richard Blythe, Jason Lampkin (Connor Taylor 72), Samir Carruthers (Ebby Nelson-Addy 76), Kofi Poyser, Ryan Simmonds, Tomos Roberts
Subs: Calum Barratt, Courtney Cameron, James Clifton
Newcastle United U-18: Jak Alnwick, James Tavernier, Stephen Folan, Jeff Henderson (c), Paul Dummett, Samuel Adjei, Brad Inman, Greg McDermott, Conor Newton, Sammy Ameobi (Haris Vuckic 67), Phil Airey
Subs: Ryan McGorrigan, Patrick Nzuzi, Dan Taylor, Aaron Spear
Referee: Mr R Shoebridge