By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle United Under-18s 3 (McGorrigan, Maddison, Miele)
Liverpool Under-18s 2 (Ortiz, McLaughlin)
A late goal from Brandon Miele took Newcastle United to within touching distance of the Premier Academy League Group D title.
Dave Watson's side need one more win from their two remaining games to be crowned champions following this dramatic victory over Liverpool, despite second-placed Leeds' 1-0 win at Everton.
And United's latest success came without key players like Adam Campbell, Remie Streete, Dennis Knight, JJ Hooper and Michael Riley, proving that their form has truly been a squad effort.
In a thrilling match at Little Benton, Jose Ortiz gave the Reds a first half lead from the penalty spot but Newcastle equalised through Ryan McGorrigan before Marcus Maddison headed them in front.
With six minutes remaining, Ryan McLaughlin equalised for the visitors with a fine solo goal but in the dying seconds, midfielder Miele slid in to seal a vital three points.
The Magpies started off on top, with Steven Logan forcing Tyrell Belford into a good save after the midfielder did well to win possession inside the Liverpool penalty area, before Maddison forced the Reds keeper into an even better stop after Dan Taylor had hooked the ball on for him.
Logan, playing just behind main striker Taylor and revelling in the role, then strode forward to bring another save from Belford before the visitors began to threaten as an attacking force.
When they did, Jordan Ibe was the main instigator and after his strong run, skipper Jordan Lussey scuffed the ball wide. Defender Lloyd Jones then headed wide from a corner but at the other end, Taylor's flick-on was met on the volley by Miele, only for his effort to flash past the post.
However on 38 minutes, Liverpool went ahead when Michael Hoganson's rash challenge on McLaughlin in the box was penalised and Ortiz stepped up to convert - although Jonathan Mitchell almost kept it out.
The Magpies keeper did well six minutes later, though, to get his hands to a curling strike from the same player but the Reds went in ahead at half-time.
Liverpool continued where they had left off at the beginning of the second half, with England under-16 international Jerome Sinclair beating Mitchell only for Hoganson to block his shot on the line, then Kristofer Peterson shot just wide.
But signs of a Newcastle comeback were there when Maddison played in Hoganson and the left-back almost caught out Belford as he attempted to squeeze the ball in at the near post, only for the keeper's fingertip to push it onto the woodwork.
At the other end, MItchell denied Sinclair before the Magpies levelled on 57 minutes. Maddison sprinted upfield before slipping in Taylor who advanced and crossed low from the right for McGorrigan to force the ball home at full stretch.
Maddison was proving too hot for Liverpool to handle and another great run and shot was matched by a block from Belford, but Mitchell made an even better stop seconds later as he once again thwarted Sinclair.
But after McGorrigan had shot into the side-netting, Newcastle went ahead through Maddison who got a deserved goal. He had caused the visitors problems with his feet all day but it was his head which did the damage as, after winning a free-kick, he rose highest to steer Miele's floated left-wing delivery home.
The Merseysiders refused to accept defeat, however, and on 84 minutes the pacy McLaughlin scampered down the right before finishing from the tightest of angles and it looked as though honours would end even.
Miele had other ideas though, and after Alex Nicholson's clever pass to Logan allowed the Scottish youth international to drill the ball across goal, Miele was there to get the vital touch.
United still needed one last intervention from Mitchell, whose trailing leg kept out Sinclair to ensure a wonderful win.
Newcastle United Under-18s: Jonathan Mitchell, Alex Nicholson, Michael Hoganson, Louis Storey, Alex Kitchen, Ryan McGorrigan, Ben Sayer, Brandon Miele, Marcus Maddison, Steven Logan, Dan Taylor
Subs not used: Freddie Woodman, Lee Desmond, Liam Smith, Esteban Cardona Lopez, Alex Gilliead