Alex Gilliead

By Paul Reece

Newcastle United Under-18s 2 (Gilliead, Kitchen)
Aston Villa Under-18s 1

Newcastle United's under-18s returned to winning ways on Saturday after a producing a second-half fightback against Aston Villa.

The Magpies, looking to respond following their 7-1 defeat at home Manchester United in their last outing, trailed at the break thanks to Jordan Graham's strike.

Dave Watson's young side improved after the restart, however, and were worthy winners thanks to goals from Alex Gilliead and Alex Kitchen.

In a first-half of few chances, it was United who spurned the first real opportunity in the 25th minute as Jonathyn Quinn fired wide across goal.

The visitors were more clinical, however, and took the lead on the 35th minute with their first chance of game.

Graham raced down the left wing and into the United box before producing a neat finish across Freddie Woodman's goal and into the far bottom corner.

Villa then came close to a quick second as Daniel O'Brien's low, first time shot from 22 yards was parried wide by Woodman.

Three minutes later and Graham again came close, cutting inside from the left wing before seeing his effort from the edge of the box tipped over the bar.

Despite the pressure, Newcastle could have gone into the break level, as Quinn's left-sided free-kick was headed off the bar by full-back Kyle Cameron on 42 minutes.

Aston Villa took the lead into the break, but could only keep the advantage for seven minutes after the restart as Gilliead levelled.

The striker found space at the far post to head home unmarked, following good work from captain Steven Logan.

Villa were still dangerous at the other end with Jack Grealish's powerful strike forcing Woodman to punch clear just after the hour mark.

The Magpies were on top, however, and took the lead in the 70th minute as Liam Smith's corner found Kitchen at the far post and the defender rose highest to head home.

United's joy was almost short lived as Villa immediately went on the attack, O'Brien's strike falling to sub Henry Cowans who struck into an empty net - only to see the flag raised for offside.

At the other end Gilliead cut inside and fired a stinging low drive at Craig Hill as United pressed for a third to put the game to bed.

It was not needed, however, as the young Magpies held on to claim their second league win of the season.