Marcus Maddison celebrates scoring against Darlington

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

It's little wonder that Marcus Maddison admits the FA Youth Cup is his favourite competition to play in.

Last season, the winger scored four goals in the third round at Dulwich and this term he scored with a spectacular strike in Thursday night's 3-0 win against Darlington at the Sports Direct Arena.

It was his third goal in three Academy starts this season and the 18-year-old from Durham was a threat to the Quakers defence all evening with his pace and trickery.

Afterwards, he spoke to and revealed his liking for youth football's biggest domestic tournament.

"It's my favourite," he said. "I enjoy playing in it - it's my biggest thing of the year, really.

"Last year I scored four but that was against Dulwich and Darlo are a better team. But it's a goal and we got through, and that's the big thing for us.

"Darlo had their moments but at the end of the day we were always on top."

Maddison's goal was a half-volley from the edge of the box, which was past Darlington keeper Jordan Nixon in a flash.

And, having been booed for most of the game by the visiting fans who harshly accused him of diving in an attempt to win a penalty, he ran half the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Quakers contingent in the East Stand.

"It was well struck," he said. "You don't really remember much about goals like that - I just touched it and hit it.

"Their fans got on my back in the first half so I decided at half time that if I did score, I would go and have some banter!"

Having scored last weekend in the 2-1 win over Barnsley, and netted in his only other appearance of the season at home to Sheffield Wednesday in October, Maddison hopes to keep on playing his way into Dave Watson's high-flying under-18s side.

"It's good to be playing again, and nice to be doing well and getting goals," he said.

"I just try to get out there and prove myself, and if you get dropped you've got a reason to ask why.

"If you're not doing well, you know why so I'll just try to keep up the performances and keep on playing."

And the former Tudhoe Grange School pupil believes Newcastle, who were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by eventual winners Manchester United at the fifth round stage last season, can enjoy a long run in this year's competition.

He said: "Hopefully we can go all the way as a team. I think this team we've got at the minute are doing very well. We're top of the league and I believe we can go very far in the cup."