By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle United Academy coach Dave Watson heaped praise on hat-trick hitting duo Liam Smith and Callum Roberts following Tuesday's 6-0 demolition of Norwich City.
The young Magpies dominated their Canary counterparts and raced into a 4-0 half-time lead courtesy of a brace each from Smith and Roberts.
Midfielder Smith and striker Roberts were both on target again after the restart to complete a fantastic afternoon for United which leaves the club top of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League Tier Two table.
South Shields-born Smith opened the scoring in the 12th minute before Roberts made it two six minutes later. Smith then scored a superb 2nd, volleying home from the edge of the box after collecting the ball from a corner kick.
Roberts made it 4-0 from close range before Smith made it five with another fantastic 20 yard strike. The midfielder then supplied Roberts for his third and the pair were praised by former Norwich defender Watson.
"We did really well today and it was a really good performance with some good goals," Watson told nufc.co.uk.
"It was a good, all round, professional performance from the lads and the 6-0 scoreline did not flatter us.
"Liam scored a couple of great goals and put in a great performance and Roberts also did really well.
"He is dangerous anywhere around the box and makes good runs. He has scored a few goals this season and he is still young."
The final win put United back on top of the table but they could still miss out on the title if Aston Villa beat Norwich on Thursday.
It is a stark contrast to the first half of the campaign, with Newcastle finishing bottom of their first league table which was completed before Christmas.
"We are hoping Norwich can do us a favour and get a result against Aston Villa on Thursday," admitted Watson
"It has been a great second-half of the season for us, whether we win the league or not.
"During the first half of the year we had one or two heavy defeats but we learnt from them and improved as a team.
"We only had two second-year players in the side today (Lee Desmond and Brad Halliday) and a lot of these lads are first-years and under-16 and will be part of the side next year so hopefully we can kick-on further."