By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Dan Gosling headed a late equaliser to earn Newcastle's second string a 1-1 draw away at their Reading counterparts in the Barclays Premier Under-21 League on Monday afternoon.
Aaron Tshibola's goal on the hour mark looked to have been enough to give the Royals all three points at Hogwood Park, but Gosling had other ideas and grabbed United a deserved share of the spoils.
Magpies' reserve team manager Willie Donachie named a strong side for the fixture, with midfielders Gosling and Gael Bigirimana, and striker Adam Campbell all handed starting spots less than 24 hours after being involved in the first team matchday squad at Wigan.
And the boss was rewarded with an encouraging performance which, on another day, could have resulted in a victory for the visitors.
United goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell was called into action early on, tipping away a header, while defender Matthew Partridge also threatened for the hosts, curling just off target.
At the other end, Campbell's pace was to be a threat all afternoon, and so it proved when he raced on to Bigirimana's through ball, eased past a Royals defender and rounded keeper Alex McCarthy, but scuffed his shot wide.
Mitchell produced another fine save before the break, this time to thwart Gozie Ugwu, who had wriggled free inside the box and got his shot away.
After a goalless first half, Reading broke the deadlock in the 60th minute when Tshibola netted. Aaron Kuhl's reverse pass found teammate Nick Arnold, and he squared for Tshibola to fire the hosts ahead.
United tried to respond and home stopper McCarthy had to get down smartly at Campbell's feet to smother, shortly before the lively forward sent another effort narrowly wide.
And Newcastle finally got their reward with 11 minutes remaining thanks to a superb Gosling header. James Tavernier delivered an inch-perfect cross from the right flank, which the former Everton and Plymouth man met around 12 yards out to glance home.
Reading: Alex McCarthy; Niall Keown, Josh Webb, Matthew Partridge (Liam Kelly), Pierce Sweeney, Jake Cooper, Nick Arnold, Aaron Kuhl, Gozie Ugwu, Aaron Tshibola, Ryan Edwards (Shepherd Murombedzi)
Subs not used: Dan Lincoln, Dominic Hyam, Bismark Amofah
Newcastle United: Jonathan Mitchell; Alex Nicholson (Lubo Satka 75), James Tavernier, Remie Streete, Curtis Good; Steven Logan (Jonathyn Quinn 60), Gael Bigirimana; Alex Gilliead, Dan Gosling, Yven Moyo (Rolando Aarons 46); Adam Campbell
Sub not used: Greg Olley