Stoke City Under-23s 2 Newcastle United Under-23s 3
- James Oldham
Newcastle United Under-23s secured play-off qualification in Premier League 2 after coming from two goals down to beat Stoke City 3-2 on Monday night.
Stoke took a two-goal lead in the first half through Gabriel Kyeremateng and - after Owen Bailey missed a penalty - Daniel Jarvis doubled the Potters' advantage before half-time.
However, the skipper began the comeback with a powerful header before substitute Yannick Touré levelled the tie Bailey sealed the young Magpies' play-off spot late on.
Ahead of the league meeting at the bet365 Stadium, United knew a positive result against their promotion rivals would guarantee their play-off place in Division Two with two games to spare and went into the tie in a confident mood after strong wins over Wolves and Derby County.
The first chance of the evening fell to the Magpies as Elias Sørensen used good strength before threading a low through ball into the path of Tom Allan. However, goalkeeper Nathan Broome was alert off his line and managed slide the ball away from the forward.
Stoke broke the deadlock minutes later as Ollie Shenton's dangerous cross found Kyeremateng inside the penalty area, who lifted the ball over Harker after beating the offside trap.
United looked to have found a way back into the contest after the Magpies were awarded a penalty as Mo Sangare was bundled over in the box after the Liberian was poised to fire an effort towards goal.
Bailey was unable to make his spot-kick count, as the 20-year-old's attempt to the left corner was saved by Broome, who guessed the correct way and palmed the strike away.
Newcastle were dealt another negative blow as Stoke doubled their advantage, with Jacob Twyford pouncing on a loose pass situated on the edge of United's penalty area before playing in Daniel Jarvis, who placed the ball into the corner.
In the second half, Ben Dawson's side began brightly with Matthew Longstaff - younger brother of Sean - testing Broome within the opening minute with a low 20-yard drive, with the goalkeeper forced to pushing the fierce effort away before the Stoke defence cleared the ball to safety.
Newcastle halved the deficit through Bailey, with the Newcastle-born defender getting onto the end of Mo Sangare's swinging cross and beating Broome to the ball to head home.
The away side had brought on forwards Touré and Tyrique Bartlett in their search for an equaliser and the pair combined brilliantly to level the scoring.
After Bartlett flicked a header onwards to Touré, the teenager picked the ball up on the left wing before advancing into the box and hitting an accurate low strike into the bottom corner.
Newcastle continued to search for another goal, despite requiring just one point to secure play-off qualification, and their comeback was completed late on as Bailey grabbed his second of the night, directing a header - this time from Matthew Longstaff's corner - into the far corner to the delight of his team-mates.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Nathan Harker, Jamie Sterry, Oliver Walters, Kelland Watts, Owen Bailey (c), Lewis Cass (Tyrique Bartlett 58), Tom Allan, Matthew Longstaff, Elias Sørensen (Juanito 88), Mo Sangare, Rosaire Longelo (Yannick Touré 58).
Subs not used: Oisin McEntee, Otto Huuhtanen.