Rolando Aarons

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

At Newcastle United Training Centre



Newcastle United Under-21s 2 (Richardson 2)

Manchester City Under-21s 3 (Bytyqi, Hiwula, Lopes)


Newcastle United let slip a two-goal lead as they were knocked out of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Cup with a 3-2 home defeat against Manchester City.

Captain Michael Richardson put the Magpies in a commanding position with a strike either side of half-time, but City hit back and efforts from Sinan Bytyqi, Jordy Hiwula and Marcos Lopes secured their place in the semi-finals of the competition.

In wind-affected conditions at United's Benton-based Training Centre, the visitors had the better of the opening exchanges, but Hiwula could only find the sidenetting rather than the back of it when he was picked out by full-back Adam Drury on 11 minutes.

But soon after it was Newcastle who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play.

Goalkeeper Jack Alnwick's long wind-assisted punt forward wasn't properly dealt with by Greg Leigh and when his back-header fell short of its intended target, Richardson nipped in to send a fine lob over on-rushing City stopper Ian Lawlor and into the back of the empty net.

Patrick Vieira's men responded by piling on the pressure and Lopes was inches away from levelling things up on two ocassions, while Hiwula, Drury and centre-back Jason Denayer also threatened.

But Alnwick and Co stood firm to keep their lead in tact going into the break and were rewarded immediately at the start of the second half, as United doubled their advantage.

Richardson, who spent time on loan at Accrington Stanley during the first half of the campaign, was on target again, volleying home Rolando Aarons' left-wing cross.

It looked as though Newcastle were set for a place in the final four of the cup, but Manchester City were not going down without a fight and they reduced the deficit within two minutes.

It was a wonder strike from wide man Bytyqi, who wriggled clear of his marker before cutting inside and curling a superb shot into the top corner past the helpless Alnwick.

And that clearly buoyed the visitors, who conjured up an immediate equaliser. When Devante Cole - son of former Magpie Andy - drilled a low cross through the six-yard box, Hiwula slid in to apply a clinical finish.

The hosts were shell-shocked and City took advantage just past the hour mark, striking what proved to be the killer blow.

The impressive Lopes - who has represented Manchester City's first team in both the FA Cup and Capital One Cup this term - pulled the trigger from 25 yards.

It took a slight deflection of a United defender, helping the ball fly right into the top corner, leaving Alnwick once again helpless.

Newcastle only fashioned one chance in the closing stages, with Adam Armstrong denied by a smart stop from Lawlor, as City were left to celebrate a remarkable comeback.


Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Jak Alnwick; Jamie Sterry, Ryan McKinnon, Callum Williams, Lubo Satka; Olivier Kemen (Alex Gilliead 58), Greg Olley (Liam Smith 75); Michael Richardson (c), Adam Armstrong, Rolando Aarons; Jonathyn Quinn

Subs not used: Jonathan Mitchell, Callum Roberts


Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Ian Lawlor; Adam Drury, Shay Facey, Jason Denayer, Greg Leigh; George Glendon, Seko Fofana; Sinan Bytyqi, Marcos Lopes (c), Devante Cole; Jordy Hiwula (Thierry Ambrose 80)

Subs not used: Luke Simpson, Ellis Plummer, Jack Byrne, Olivier Ntcham 


Referee: G Hart