By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Mustachioed Magpie Conor Newton was razor sharp even in defeat as he scored his first goal of the season against Manchester United on Monday night.
The 21-year-old is taking part in Movember this month and it was a case of stubble trouble for the Red Devils as he rifled home from close range to cancel out Tom Thorpe's opener for the visitors.
Substitute Tom Lawrence netted six minutes later to win the game for the visitors but Newton - who has been with Newcastle since the age of nine - was still pleased to chip in with a rare goal against a strong side including Federico Macheda, Bebe, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Scott Wootton.
"It was my first one since Gateshead in pre-season and it was good to get on the scoresheet," the Whickham-based youngster told nufc.co.uk.
"But it was disappointing to lose because I think it's probably the best chance we're going to have against a Manchester United Reserve squad.
"They were alright but I thought this was probably the best chance we could have had to beat them."
Newton's displays in midfield helped United reach the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup in 2009/10 while he earned a call-up to the first-team squad in March 2011 as a reward for his performances for the Reserves - again in the centre of the pitch.
But in recent weeks he has found himself in a new role at right-back and it's one he has adjusted to well.
"I've really enjoyed it," he admitted. "It's always good that you can play in more than one position and I'll play anywhere on the pitch.
"I'm still learning a lot at right-back; I played there about six years ago but two games in six years is not loads. Obviously if you're a footballer you should be able to play there but there are little things you pick up.
"If they want me to play there then I'll play there. I enjoyed it, but I enjoy central midfield as well. But I don't really have a preference where I play - just somewhere on the pitch!"
The strawberry-blonde starlet explained that his facial hair is aimed at raising money and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer after he was persuaded to take part in growing a moustache throughout November by Development Squad Sport Scientist and Conditioner Richard Akenhead.
"It's for charity," Newton said. "Richie has sorted it all out so we're hoping a few of the first-team lads will put their money in.
"Richie's my inspiration on the tash front but I might want to get some dye on there to make it more prominent!"
Newton also hopes to continue to stand out on the football field and is keen to go out on loan in order to gain senior experience.
"I've got to get out there," he said. "I'm not going to play first-team football here for a long time I don't think, so to get out there and play first-team, and hopefully impress, is the aim.
"And I'll play wherever they want me to play."