By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Willie Donachie praised his young stars for 'standing up to the challenge' as Newcastle United Reserves beat Ashington 2-0 in the second round of the Sage Northumberland FA Senior Cup.
A youthful Magpies starting line-up, including six Acadmey youngsters, progressed to the semi-finals of the county competition thanks to an eye-catching Brad Inman brace.
And Reserve team manager Donachie was delighted with the way his 'boys' performed against the men of Ashington and refused to be daunted by the task in front of them.
"I was really pleased for the players," Donachie told nufcTV after the final whistle.
"It's hard when we've got a very young team, and they (Ashington) are older, bigger, stronger and more experienced.
"They are not bad players, they are mostly ex-pros and a lot of them played at this Club, so had a lot to play for. They had three or four years on some of our players, and had massive power and size.
"Every time they put a ball into the box against our 18-year-old goalkeeper it could have been a problem. But luckily Sticks (Alex Baird) in goal did fantastically well.
"But it was a big challenge for a lot of them and they have to meet that when they come up against men. It was great tonight that they met that challenge, stood up to it and battled through it."
Donachie reserved special praise for central midfielder Inman, as the Australian struck two spectacular shots from distance to settle the tie.
"It was two great goals," said the boss.
"I think he was unlucky with another one and we made a lot of other good chances. I was pleased for Brad. He is learning, getting stronger mentally, and if he keeps continuing improving then he's got a chance."
To hear more from Willie Donachie and view highlights of the cup victory, log on to nufcTV on Wednesday by clicking the button below