By Tom Easterby
Stoke City Under 18s 1 (Weston-Hayles)
Newcastle United Under 18s 1 (Charman)
Newcastle United earned their first point of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League season with a 1-1 draw at Stoke City on Saturday.
The Magpies had suffered narrow defeats in their opening two fixtures, against Sunderland and Manchester United, but got a point on the board at the third time of asking against the unbeaten Potters.
Striker Luke Charman put United ahead in the first half at Stoke's Clayton Wood Training Ground, before Jordan Storey squandered a great opportunity to give the visitors a two-goal advantage.
Jamie Holmes was brought down inside the area but Storey missed from the resulting penalty.
And Newcastle were made to pay as John Perkins' City youngsters snatched a draw with a penalty of their own - Charles Weston-Hayles notching past Brendan Pearson from the spot for his third goal of the season.
Under-18s coach Dave Watson praised the performances of some of his side, including Charman, Sean Longstaff, Ben Drennan and Kyle Cameron, and told nufc.co.uk that despite only gaining a point, his young side turned in a strong display.
"We did quite well, and I think we deserved to win really," explained the former Everton and England defender.
"We had a few chances to win it - Charman rounded the keeper and tried to slide it in, so we could have won it.
"They got back into the game with a penalty in the first half so it was one-all at half-time and we were looking for the win, but overall it was a good performance from the lads."
The recent international call-ups of Academy graduates Adam Armstrong, Freddie Woodman and Rolando Aarons have given Watson reason to be cheerful, with the progress of United's young guns being recognised on an international scale.
And that trio, he says, can serve as shining examples to his current batch of young stars.
"It's fantastic news," said the 52-year-old.
"It shows that there's a pathway here for them if they do well and, although there's still a bit of a way to go, it shows that we're doing things the right way and it's great for the lads."
Newcastle United Under-18s (4-3-1-2): Brendan Pearson; Jamie Cobain, Ben Pollock, Kyle Cameron, Adam Laidler; Jordan Storey, Ben Drennan, Joe Kerridge; Sean Longstaff; Luke Charman, Jamie Holmes
Substitutes: Carl Robinson, James Atkinson, Michael Newberry, Jack Hunter, Dan Ward