JJ Hooper

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

JJ Hooper admitted there were no excuses after holders Newcastle crashed out of the Northumberland FA Senior Cup to Northern League Bedlington Terriers on Tuesday night.

The 19-year-old striker scored within 15 minutes of coming on as 62nd minute substitute with United already trailing their non-league neighbours 3-1 at the Dr. Pit Welfare Park in the last eight of the competition.

But despite piling on the pressure late on, the Magpies couldn't force an equaliser to take the match to extra-time as Bedlington recorded a famous victory against a visiting side featuring five players with first-team experience in the Barclays Premier League or Europa League.

Reserve Team boss Willie Donachie blasted his players for failing to do the "nitty gritty" basics and Hooper agreed that the hosts got their reward for a fittingly Terrier-like approach. 

"Bedlington tried really hard and the pitch didn't help," he told nufc.co.uk. "It was like an ice rink and we were slipping all over the place. But we've both got to play on it so there's no excuse really. Newcastle can't be getting beat by Bedlington. It's a bad result - very bad.

"In the first 20 minutes we dominated the game in posession but for a spell after that it looked like they just wanted it more than us at times and it just didn't help us at all."

Hooper finished clinically from Shane Ferguson's pass to make it a nervous final few minutes for the part-timers and the Greenwich-born starlet said: "I thought we were going to get another goal, the quality we have. I thought we were definitely going to get a goal but it just wasn't our day today.

"Adam (Campbell) had a good chance at the end but the keeper saved it. I don't know how to feel right now. It's a bad feeling."

A prolific scorer for Dave Watson's title-winning under-18 side last season, Hooper has now scored three goals this season in between loan spells with Darlington and most recently Workington.

The terms of his youth loan allow him to play for both the Reds and Newcastle and his three games for the Blue Square Bet North outfit included a goal against Harrogate Town on New Year's Day.

"It's going good," he said. "I'm learning that kind of football, learning a real game and hopefully I can get another loan through that at a higher club and try my best to get noticed at Newcastle.

"Compared to the Academy days, where it's more technical, this is more physical. Once you get to the first-team, it gets more physical so you need to learn that part of the game. So it's good to get there and see what it's about.

"I went to Darlington and then a few leagues higher with Workington so my progression is steady at the moment and I hope I can keep going now and get my name known. I've got to keep pushing, keep trying my best and hopefully I can get more goals in the rest of the season."