Dave Watson and Kevin RichardsonBy Paul Reece

Academy coach Dave Watson revealed his delight after his under-18s sides' "important" victory over Aston Villa.

The young Magpies have endured a difficult start to the season with four defeats from their first five games but recovered from a goal down to beat their Villa counterparts.

And Watson said: "I am really delighted with the result. We have lost four games and confidence was a little low.

"To put in the performance we did today, and come away beating a good Aston Villa side, will do the lads' confidence the world of good.

"It was a tough game and I felt it was a battling performance. There was not a lot of silky football played but it was great to see the other side of the lads' game.

"They had to grind the result out and battle for 90 minutes. In the past we have gone a goal down and fallen apart and it was good to see we are past that now."

United fell behind after Jordan Graham opened the scoring for Villa but responded thanks to goals from Alex Gilliead and Alex Kitchen after the break.

And after losing 7-1 to Manchester United in their last league game, Watson was pleased with the second-half response from his side.

"It was a very important win from a confidence point of view," he said. "We say results don't matter but when we carry on losing three or four games I think it does do the confidence a little bit of harm.

"It showed the character of the side and I felt we should not have been a goal down at half-time. We created decent chances and hit the bar but it wasn't to be.

"We had the belief we could win, however, as we would always create chances and that proved to be the case and hopefully we can take that confidence into the next game."