Southampton U23 2 Newcastle United U23 1
Newcastle's second-string were beaten 2-1 by Southampton in the Premier League 2 division two play-off final as the young Magpies' promotion hopes were ended on Monday night.
Southampton's Dan N'Lundulu broke the deadlock with a close range header before the half-time whistle and another header, this time from Tyreke Johnson, doubled the Saints' advantage in the second half.
United skipper Owen Bailey halved the deficit in the final stages of the clash but Newcastle were unable to register an all-important second goal to force the game into extra-time, resulting in United missing out on promotion to Premier League 2 division one.
The young Magpies headed into the play-off clash, their 41st game of a long campaign, on the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat against Everton in the Premier League Cup final.
Ben Dawson made three changes to his side which featured at Goodison Park, with Elias Sørensen, Rosaire Longelo and Oliver Walters included in the starting line-up.
The Saints created the first key opportunity of the clash at St. Mary's Stadium, with United goalkeeper Nathan Harker bravely blocking a fierce strike from N'Lundulu.
After the striker evaded a challenge from Newcastle skipper Owen Bailey and burst through on goal, the striker was caught by recovering defenders Lewis Cass and Kelland Watts, both of whom featured on Newcastle's first team bench against Fulham on Sunday.
However, N'Lundulu still managed to direct a powerful shot towards Harker, who managed to turn the ball away to safety with a strong stop.
Sørensen took his turn in front of goal with the United forward testing Jack Rose from a tight angle as the Dane had produced a heavy touch from Oliver Walters' low pass into the penalty area, with goalkeeper Jack Rose blocking the strike with his chest.
Newcastle continued their search for an opening goal, with winger Tom Allan seeing two driving efforts of his own both blocked after Longelo's dangerous corner was only punched into the path of Allan by Rose.
Before the arrival of the half-time whistle, Southampton took the lead as Tyreke Johnson's swinging corner into the six-yard area was punched by Harker into the path of N'Lundulu, who directed his header into the net despite Watts' best effort to head clear on the goal line.
In the second half, United were dealt another negative blow as Southampton doubled their advantage after a swift counter-attack from Southampton resulted in Johnson meeting Jake Vokins' cross at the back post and directed his header past Harker.
Coach Ben Dawson sent on forwards Cal Roberts, Yannick Touré and Luke Charman in the hope of producing a comeback on the South coast but were restricted to a lack of clear-cut opportunities until the final 15 minutes.
Newcastle were handed a lifeline as Bailey pulled one back for United, with the defender, teed up by Roberts, unleashing a ferocious strike beyond Rose to set up a grandstand finish.
With six minutes of added time, United pushed heavily forward for an much-needed goal and were almost rewarded as the ball landed into the path of Sørensen after the Saints defence were unable to clear from a cross but the teenage striker unfortunately placed his effort over the crossbar.
However, there was still time for more late drama as another powerful shot from Sørensen was blocked by a Southampton defender, although the Newcastle players were left furious as they believed the strike had struck an arm inside the penalty area.
The decision was waved away by referee Sam Purkiss as Newcastle finished on the losing side once again, ending their impressive season on a sour note.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Nathan Harker, Jamie Sterry, Oliver Walters, Owen Bailey (c), Lewis Cass, Kelland Watts, Tom Allan (Cal Roberts 56), Matthew Longstaff, Elias Sørensen, Mo Sangare (Luke Charman 64), Rosaire Longelo (Yannick Touré 56).
Subs not used: Liam Gibson, Otto Huuhtanen.