Adam Armstrong

By Paul Reece

Newcastle United Under-18s 1
Southampton Under-18s 3

Academy coach Dave Watson praised the effort of his side despite falling to defeat at home to Southampton.

The Saints, who had already defeated United 2-1 on the South Coast earlier in the season, were inspired by in-form teenager Ryan Seager.

A first-half brace from the prolific forward, who also netted in the victory in August, put the visitors in control at the club's Little Benton Academy.

Young midfielder Adam Armstrong netted almost immediately after the restart but Saints sub Charlie Higgins ensured all three points.

Watson said: "It was an even first half really, they took the lead but we were still very much in the game.

"They then scored a second right before half-time but we showed a good reaction after the break.

"We got an early goal and we were chasing for a second and they were able to add a third as we pushed forward.

"I don't think the scoreline reflected the performance and overall the kids put in a good effort but we were disappointed with one or two of the goals."

The Saints have produced a host of stars from their famed Academy over the years including Arsenal duo Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and former Magpie Leon Best.

And based on the form of hot-shot striker Ryan Seager, the young forward may be the next star in the making.

The forward grabbed his tenth of the campaign so far to put his side ahead on 36 minutes before doubling the advantage on the brink of half-time.

United responded well after the break, however, with Armstrong reducing the deficit.

The midfielder fired home for United less than a minute after the restart to give United hope and earned praise from Watson.

"Adam has been away with England and is very high on confidence," said Watson "It was good to see him to get a goal and as an under-16 year old in the squad he is doing really well."

Any hope of earning a deserved point were dashed in the 67th minute, however, as sub Higgins expertly lobbed United shot-stopper Jonathan Mitchell.

The defeat on a cold, wet and wintery morning ended United's two game winning streak but Watson remained positive.

He said: "The effort and enthusiam from the kids was fantastic this morning and there are positives to take from the game but disappointment as well of course."

Meanwhile, Academy striker Alex Gilliead won his third cap for England under-17s on Friday. The Consett-based frontman was a 76th minute substitute in a 3-2 European Championships qualifier win over Northern Ireland while United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman was an unused substitute.

Newcastle United Under-18s: Jonathan Mitchell, Macauley Booth (James Morgan 83), Kyle Cameron (Lewis Aird 73), Steven Logan, Ryan McKinnon, Alex Kitchen, Jamie Sterry (Dan Barlaser 60), Jonathyn Quinn, Callum Roberts, Adam Armstrong, Greg Olley.

Sub not used: Sam Busby.