Michael Riley

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

An honest Michael Riley held his hands up for the goal which saw Newcastle Reserves slip to their fourth defeat in a row, but took plenty of encouragement from what he felt was their best performance for several weeks.

It's been a tough time for the Magpies' second-string, who haven't won since January and lost 5-0 at Fulham last time out, but their display against the Gunners - particularly in the second half - was deserving of much more than the 1-0 loss they suffered.

Teenage left-back Riley played the whole game and put in a solid shift - apart from failing to cut out Oguzhan Ozyakup's crossfield ball in the build up to Thomas Eisfeld's decisive goal.

And he told nufc.co.uk: "I thought it was the best I've seen us play in a long time.

"Lately we've been getting bad results - 4-0, 5-0 like last week, so it was good to play well again and I thought we were unlucky.

"In the first half, they knocked the ball around but we pressing in really silly areas. We weren't getting tight where we should have been, we weren't using the ball the way we did in the second half and we weren't getting in behind enough.

"But when we came in at half time, the manager told us what to do and we took it on board. In the second half we proved that; we were the dominant side and we could have scored three or four goals in the second half.

"I think they had one clear chance in the second half. Apart from that, we kept them really quiet."

Riley's uncle Ian Bogie, who played for United in the 1980s, was in the crowd and the 18-year-old is hoping to follow in his footsteps in the future - but first, he plans to bounce back from his role in the only goal of the night.

"It was my fault in a way," he admitted. "It was a mistake, but you've got to learn by your mistakes.

"I will come back stronger, take things on board and try to improve with every single game I play.

"And next year I just aim to play regularly, see where it takes me and try to progress."

Barclays Premier Reserve League North leaders Manchester United are the Magpies' next opponents, with a 7pm kick-off at Whitley Park next Monday.

But Riley said: "If you want to be the best, you've got to play the best. So to play the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal - it doesn't come much better, does it?"