By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Blackburn Rovers Under-18s 2
Newcastle United Under-18s 0
Blackburn Rovers broke the hearts of Newcastle United's youngsters for a second time this season after knocking them out of the Premier Academy League national play-offs.
The Lancashire side may be struggling in the Barclays Premier League this season, but have a talented pool of players in their under-18s set-up and had already beaten the Magpies after extra-time and penalties in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.
And on Saturday at their Brockhall Academy, the Group C winners saw off Dave Watson's Group D champions with two first half goals from John O'Sullivan.
The striker gave Rovers the lead after just two minutes, tapping home after Newcastle believed goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell had been fouled.
Then on 38 minutes, O'Sullivan burst into the box before finishing smartly and despite a strong second half from the Magpies - including an Adam Campbell effort which was ruled out - the hosts went through to the final.
"Getting beat is disappointing, especially when they've done as well as they have done all season and then we've fallen at the last hurdle," Watson told nufc.co.uk.
"But the overall picture is that the lads have had a great season.
"It was quite an even game but they got the early goal after Jonny Mitchell was barged into, and then we scored a goal which shouldn't have been given offside but was. Apart from that, it was quite even.
"But I'm proud of them all and we told them that after the game. You're judged over the season, not just in a one-off game, and over the season I've been delighted with them.
"It's been a really good effort by the whole squad and there have been some great performances throughout the season."
Newcastle United Under-18s: Jonathan Mitchell, Will Turton, Lee Desmond, Steven Logan, Louis Storey, Marcus Maddison (Dan Taylor 60), Ben Sayer, Brandon Miele (Adam Campbell 60), Michael Hoganson (Alex Gilliead 75), Dennis Knight, JJ Hooper
Subs not used: Alex Baird, Jamie Smith