JJ Hooper

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Newcastle United Reserves 0
Southampton United Reserves 1 (McQueen 51)

Sixteen goals had been scored in Newcastle's last two Reserve games - but it took just one for Southampton to inflict their first Barclays Under-21 Premier League loss of the season.

Sam McQueen's second half strike was the difference on a night when Sammy Ameobi made his first appearance since early pre-season after recovering from a hamstring injury.

JJ Hooper hit the woodwork for Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley's side, who had beaten Tottenham 6-4 and Stoke 5-1 in their previous two games, but Jak Alnwick was the busier of the two goalkeepers under the Friday night lights at Whitley Park.

With John Carver looking on, Adam Campbell began on the right wing and summer signing Curtis Good was named as captain. The Saints meanwhile included Jack Cork, who was named in the Team GB squad for the Olympic games.

Campbell, who hit a hat-trick against Spurs, had the game's first opportunity as Ameobi flicked on Inman's corner only for the 17-year-old to see his shot blocked.

On ten minutes, Sam Hoskins forced Alnwick into a stop with his legs from close range before Conor Newton's great cross from the right looked certain to be slotted home by Campbell - only for the ball to be nicked off his toe.

Then JJ Hooper, working manfully as a lone forward, won possession inside the Saints box only for his effort to rebound back off the woodwork then Bradden Inman scuffed a shot wide.

Just past the half hour mark, Alnwick made a fine starfish style save to keep out Sam McQueen. And as half-time approached, Campbell's superb pace allowed him to scamper down the left and cut back to Inman, who in turn slotted the ball to Hooper but the Greenwich-born teenager's effort flashed across Cody Cropper's goal.

Hoskins should have done better moments later when he sent a weak shot straight at Alnwick from eight yards - then the United keeper made a fine double stop from the same player in stoppage time.

And in the dying seconds, Ben Reeves' free-kick clipped the top of the bar before another set piece from the left-back flew just wide as the first half ended in stalemate.

But six minutes after the restart, Southampton took the lead with Alnwick finally beaten. The Saints worked the ball patiently from right to left before McQueen's fine left-footed strike flew into the top corner.

Left-back Yven Moyo tried to respond as he cut in only to blaze over, then Alnwick spared Steven Logan's blushes after the youngster - filling in at centre-back - lost possession.

The keeper was himself a relieved man when he spilled Cork's long range shot on 78 minutes and Hoskins slotted home only to be flagged offside.

In the closing minutes, Newcastle burst into life as Inman had Cropper scrambling to his left to parry a low strike before the Aussie saw a close-range shot blocked and Ameobi's follow-up was headed off the line.

With the final opening of the game, McQueen blazed over but he'd already done enough to win the game for the visitors.

Newcastle United Reserves: Jak Alnwick, Alex Nicholson, Curtis Good (c), Steven Logan, Yven Moyo (Michael Riley 78), Adam Campbell, Conor Newton, Michael Richardson, Sammy Ameobi, Bradden Inman, JJ Hooper (Dennis Knight 78)

Subs not used: Jonathan Mitchell, Ryan McKinnon, Alex Gilliead

Southampton Reserves: Cody Cropper, Calum Chambers, Ben Reeves, Andy Robinson, Jack Stephens, Jordan Turnbull, Jake Sinclair (Alberto Seidi 86), Jack Cork, Sam Hoskins, Joe Curtis, Sam McQueen

Subs not used: Corby Moore, Chris Johns, Matt Young

Referee: Alan Miller

Attendance: 324