Middlesbrough Under-23s 0 Newcastle United Under-23s 1
- David Richardson
Newcastle United Under-23s ended their Premier League 2 campaign on a high with a 1-0 victory against their Middlesbrough counterparts on Sunday.
Tom Allan scored the important winning goal for the young Magpies with a fierce long range effort as Ben Dawson's side secured their fifth straight away victory in Premier League 2 ahead of the Division Two play-offs.
United headed into the Tyne-Tees derby on the back of an impressive 3-0 victory at Leeds United, progressing into the Premier League Cup final in the process.
However, It was the home side who created the first opportunity at goal at the Riverside Stadium, as Stephen Wearne sent a half-volley towards the United goal, forcing Nathan Harker into getting down quickly to hold the long range attempt.
Minutes later, Middlesbrough's Enes Mahmutovic glanced his header inches wide of the far post after Billal Brahimi sent a dangerous free kick into the penalty area.
United's Kelland Watts prevented the Magpies from falling behind as the defender produced a goal-line clearance to deny Wearne, who stole the ball from Harker after Rosaire Longelo's intended chested pass to the goalkeeper, before sending his low effort from an acute angle towards goal.
Newcastle were left frustrated after Elias Sørensen, who burst towards goal, was brought down by Middlesbrough captain Patrick Reading towards the edge of the penalty area, with referee David Richardson brandishing a yellow card to the dismay of the United squad.
With the first-half approaching its end, Harker produced two tremendous saves in quick succession to keep United on level terms. The United shot-stopper kept out Wearne's close range strike with a strong right hand before Hayden Hackney's immediate rebound was pushed away by the 20-year-old and cleared to safety.
United narrowly missed out on taking an early lead in the second half after Sørensen raced on to Oliver Walters' pass and managed to advance past defender Nathan Wood near the touchline but his low cross was unable to find a Newcastle body inside the box and was ultimately cleared.
The Magpies continued their search for an opening goal and were rewarded in the 70th minute as Allan sent Newcastle into the lead. After intense attacking pressure from a group of United forwards, the ball ended up in the path of the teenage winger before directing a low accurate strike into the bottom right-hand corner from 20 yards.
In the final stages, Brahimi's corner found Wood inside the six-yard area but Newcastle survived the goalmouth scramble, with Harker keeping the attempt out before holding onto the ball to the delight of his team-mates.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Nathan Harker, Lewis Cass, Oliver Walters, Matthew Longstaff, Owen Bailey (c), Kelland Watts, Tom Allan (Jack Young 82), Mo Sangare, Elias Sørensen (Tyrique Bartlett 88), Cal Roberts, Rosaire Longelo (Juanito 57).
Subs not used: Jamie Sterry, Otto Huuhtanen.