By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Injuries to Haris Vuckic and Dan Gosling took the shine off Newcastle's Barclays Under-21 Premier League win at Aston Villa on Monday night, but Reserve Team Coach Willie Donachie was pleased with his players' efforts.
Adam Campbell and Mehdi Abeid scored either side of the Villans' Graham Burke to seal a 2-1 victory in the splendid surroundings of Villa Park, while the likes of James Tavernier, Romain Amalfitano and Xisco were also involved.
Having opened up the season with two victories, Donachie had seen his side go three games without a victory but United were good value for the three points against a home side themselves boasting five players with senior experience.
In last season's fixture at the same venue, the Magpies were fortunate to escape with a 4-0 defeat but this time Newcastle were compact, classy and clinical.
"They were great goals, and at a hard place," Donachie told nufc.co.uk as he started with the good news from a mixed evening.
"They're always strong here, always organised, and they put a lot of effort into the under-21s and Reserve league here. It's a great pitch, a great stadium - and they were two great goals.
"It was a tough game but the lads gave everything they had and in the end I think just deserved to win. We made some great chances on the break.
"Adam in particular was very good tonight - his pace and intelligence was very good. He started on the right because we had Xisco playing but he was given more of a central role in the second half and it paid off with him scoring the goal.
"As long as he keeps working and his feet on the ground, Adam has got a great future but he's still got a long way to go."
The former Scotland international, joined in the dugout by Football Development Manager Peter Beardsley, added: "The team worked hard for each other and defended well.
"They didn't have to many clear-cut chances and even then, Jak (Alnwick) did well, so it was a good game for us.
"It's great experience. That's what it's all about: development, experience and playing games.
"Dan Gosling said he wanted to come and play. It's the only way to get fit, playing on a big pitch like that, running around and extending yourself.
"It's the only way. You don't get it in training - you've got to play games, so coming to stadiums like this with a fantastic pitch is just so important for their development."
For Spanish striker Xisco, it was a first Newcastle appearance since the Reserves' trip to Holland in the summer of 2011 and he set up Campbell's opener with a clever pass.
"It was great for Xisco because he's not played all pre-season," Donachie said.
"And again it's the only way he'll learn, the only way he'll get ready for whenever he plays in a first-team.
Gosling was able to hobble to the dressing room after his ankle knock, but Vuckic was stretchered off.
"It didn't look good, but their doctor was quite positive," Donachie said.
"But we won't really know until tomorrow."