Liam Smith

By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Southampton Under-21s 3 (Reed, Rowe 2)
Newcastle United Under-21s 2 (Smith, Bigirimana)

Peter Beardsley's under-21s slipped to a narrow defeat to Southampton despite a battling display at St. Mary's on Thursday afternoon.

The Magpies took the lead then fought back from a goal down before eventually losing 3-2 on the South Coast.

Liam Smith netted his first Barclays Under-21 Premier League goal for the Club in the second minute to tuck home the rebound after Michael Richardson's shot - following a fine run between three defenders - had been parried by Ted Smith in the Saints goal.

Then Smith saw an effort tipped onto the bar by the goalkeeper who shares his surname.

Southampton equalised in the 13th minute through Harrison Reed, who drilled beyond Jonathan Mitchell from 25 yards.

And four minutes later Omar Rowe capitalised upon a weak backpass from Macaulay Gillesphey, making his return from injury, and curled home.

Captain Gael Bigirimana levelled for Newcastle, though, when Richardson's shot was palmed into his path - only for Southampton to roar ahead once more.

Rowe half-volleyed low into the net in the 42nd minute and that proved to be the final goal of the game with neither side able to add to the scoring in the second period.

Football Development Manager Beardsley said: "We played very well in parts. Their goals were more mistakes from us than anything else, which happens with young players, but the good thing was that we were on the front foot for the most part.

"Southampton are a good side with some top young players, as they've shown with some of the players they've produced, but we played some good football."

Defender Kyle Cameron started after helping Scotland to qualify for the European Under-17 Championships and Beardsley said: "He's had a great few days with Scotland and we thought he deserved the chance of playing. He gave us a good hour and did well.

"Our job is to promote kids who deserve it, and we were pleased with Kyle as well as some of the other young boys who played today."

Southampton Under-21s: Ted Smith, Jake Flannigan, Jason McCarthy, Jordan Turnbull, Matt Targett, Dominic Gape, Harrison Reed, Omar Rowe (Jake Hesketh 87), Sam McQueen (Josh Sims 53), Ryan Seager (Jake Sinclair 72), Sam Gallagher

Subs not used: Matt Young, Chris Johns

Newcastle United Under-21s: Jonathan Mitchell, Jamie Sterry, Lubo Satka, Macaulay Gillesphey (Ryan McKinnon 45), Kyle Cameron (Liam Gibson 59), Liam Smith, Gael Bigirimana, Olivier Kemen, Greg Olley (Jonathyn Quinn 74), Michael Richardson, Alex Gilliead

Subs not used: Paul Woolston, Kevin Mbabu