By Tom Easterby
Peter Beardsley was left to rue the mistakes that handed Stoke City a two-goal headstart in Newcastle United's 4-2 Barclays Under-21 Premier League defeat on Monday.
First-half strikes from James Alabi and Charlie Ward put the young Potters in command at United's Benton Training Centre before Alex Gillead and an Olivier Kemen penalty restored parity.
However, a Kemen own goal and a Derice Richards effort after the break secured all three points for the visitors.
"I would say it was our own doing," bemoaned Beardsley of his team's sloppy start.
"Obviously I want them to play football, but we gave away possession too easily, as you tend to do sometimes when you play the way we do.
"Because of that, we were 2-0 down in no time, it seems, but we battled back. I think we were a bit lucky with the penalty - I'm not sure it was a penalty - but we got back to 2-2 and at half-time, we were quite happy with that."
Football Development Manager Beardsley, whose side beat Manchester United 1-0 thanks to a Remie Streete winner last time out, had sympathy for French midfielder Kemen, who endured a mixed afternoon against a physically imposing City outfit.
"Football's like that sometimes," explained his manager, having seen Kemen miscue past a helpless Jonathan Mitchell to gift Stoke the lead.
"He worked hard enough, but it just wasn't his day today.
"To be fair to Stoke, they were physically stronger than us and they managed the game well. Glyn Hodges is a good lad and he's obviously got them coached well, and they were too strong for us today."
The behind-closed-doors home loss comes just ten days after United took on Liverpool at Anfield, but Beardsley is adamant that the dramatic difference of surrounding has had no negative effect on his players.
"I don't think it's a hindrance, to be fair. We had a great pitch, and that, for me, is the most important thing," he insisted.
"They (Stoke) played well, they played some good football at times and possibly, in their case, could've had a couple more goals."
However, the Magpies legend did manage to derive some plus points from the defeat, reserving special praise for England Under-18 forward Gillead and returning defender Kevin Mbabu, who got through 70 minutes in an unfamiliar left-back role.
"There's always positives," Beardsley told nufcTV. "I thought Alex Gillead was good today - he worked his socks off and obviously scored a good goal in the first half.
"(Kevin Mbabu) has been out for a while. Jamie Sterry's been outstanding since he's been out of the team and because of that, Kevin went to left-back. It's another game on his ladder if you like in terms of his recovery, and we've got another one coming up on Thursday.
"In that sense, the season's coming together at the right time, in terms of we're playing two games a week now which is good for us at our level, and hopefully he'll be fit to play on Thursday."