By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Aston Villa Under-21s 1 (Burke)
Newcastle United Under-21s 2 (Campbell, Abeid)
After three games without a victory, Newcastle's second-string earned a fantastic Barclays Under-21 Premier League win against Aston Villa thanks to Adam Campbell's fifth competitive goal of the campaign and Mehdi Abeid's first.
The Slovenian schemer's screams were audible all around the hosts' eerily empty stadium and although he was able to return to Tyneside with his team-mates, albeit on crutches, it looks certain to sideline him for some time. Vuckic's young career has already been plagued by injuries and this one came with just six minutes left to play in what had been an eye-catching individual performance.
Alan Pardew, together with Chief Scout Graham Carr, had travelled to watch a strong squad and he will have been impressed with several displays as forgotten man Xisco put in a decent 57-minute shift up front.
But it was a player still awaiting his first-team bow who was first to test Benji Siegrist, stinging the Villa keeper's palms with a shot from the right on eight minutes. Two minutes later, Samir Carruthers tried to catch out Jak Alnwick with an audacious free-kick but the 19-year-old - named on the bench for Sunday's Barclays Premier League fixture against Manchester United - was equal to it.
With both sides playing neat football, Carruthers drove an effort just over before Gosling's volley swerved wide after Vuckic's corner was half cleared.
The 19th minute brought a touching moment as the home fans burst into applause for first-team captain Stiliyan Petrov, who is currently recovering from leukemia and wears the number 19 and the crowd was on its feet again seven minutes later when Jordan Bowery slotted Carruthers' cross past Alnwick - but he was ruled offside.
Nathan Baker's looping header was claimed by the United keeper before Alnwick made a fine parry to deny Bowery, pushing away his shot across goal with Newton first to the loose ball.
At the other end, Newton volleyed narrowly wide after Gosling had retrieved Vuckic's corner and dribbled skilfully into the box before producing a cross then on 40 minutes, Campbell sent a free header wide from Vuckic's perfect delivery to the far post, while Abeid and Gosling saw shots go over the bar before half-time.
But the opener came 11 minutes after the restart when Vuckic found Xisco, who played the ball into Campbell's path and the 17-year-old squeezed a low shot inside the near post.
Campbell forced Siegrist into a smart save before Villa equalised on 70 minutes; Carruthers rolled the ball across to Graham Burke, who took his time before firing home, but parity lasted just three minutes.
Amalfitano slipped the ball to Abeid, who shrugged off a couple of challenges and let fly from the edge of the box with his low strike zipping past the keeper.
Siegrist kept out Campbell after Vuckic's ball had found him sprinting towards goal before Baker was deservedly booked for a heavy challenge on Gosling, who needed treatment from physio Carl Nelson and had to be replaced by Marcus Maddison.
And as the ex-England under-21 man was still hobbling around the pitch, Nelson was called into action again as Vuckic went down under Carruthers' challenge. After five minutes of treatment, he was carried off to a generous reception from the home crowd, while Pardew came down from the stand to console him.
Aston Villa Under-21s: Benji Siegrist, Courtney Cameron, Enda Stevens, Ashley Westwood, Daniel Devine, Nathan Baker, Daniel Johnson (c), Samir Carruthers, Jordan Bowery (Liam Bateman 42), Graham Burke, Andras Stieber (Jordan Graham 82)
Subs not used: Calum Barrett, Mason Watkins-Clark, Malcolm Melvin
Newcastle United Under-21s: Jak Alnwick, Conor Newton, James Tavernier (c), Lubo Satka, Michael Riley, Adam Campbell, Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling (Marcus Maddison 81), Romain Amalfitano, Haris Vuckic (Brandon Miele 88), Xisco (Bradden Inman 57)
Subs not used: Freddie Woodman, JJ Hooper
Referee: Neil Radford