By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Lee Toland insists Newcastle United Reserves proved that if you're good enough, you're old enough, with their 2-0 Northumberland FA Senior Cup victory over Ashington on Tuesday night.
Six players from the Club's Academy were in a youthful starting line-up for Willie Donachie's side including left-back Toland, who was making his second string debut.
The Northern Ireland Under 19 international looked assured down the left flank, linking up well with winger Joan Edmundsson and centre-back Tamas Kadar, and Toland believes Donachie was justified in his selection of so many youngsters.
"It's good, especially to be winning as well and keeping a clean sheet. As a defender that's all you want really," said the 18-year-old.
"After a shaky first half, it was much better in the second half and I'm pleased with my performance. I can't really complain.
"It was good to play with Joan down the left. He works back well and helps me out loads, and Tamas as well kept me right by always talking to me. It was good for me to have that experience alongside me.
"As a team we proved tonight that we can handle it. Especially for such a young team that was put out, even with the bench we had, to beat an older, more experienced side was great. We have done really well."
Two long-range efforts from Bradden Inman settled the tie in Newcastle's favour, as they look to defend the cup they lifted last season.
And against an older, stronger, more experienced Ashington side, Toland believes he and his teammates can be pleased with their performance.
"It was a great win against them," he said.
"'In the first half they threw everything at us. We were trying compete for a lot of balls in the air against big men, and we weren't going to win like that.
"But in the second half we realised we had to get the ball on the ground and pass it, and that worked much better for us. They got tired near the end and we managed to open them up easier as the game went on.
"Overall it was a very good win for us."