Newcastle United Under-23s 1 Aston Villa Under-23s 2
- Matthew Diccio
Newcastle United Under-23s ended their Premier League 2 campaign in defeat following a 2-1 loss against ten-man Aston Villa on Friday evening.
Chris Hogg and Peter Ramage's side fell behind at Whitley Park through Brad Young's penalty before the visitors, despite being reduced to ten men through Bradley Burton's red card for violent conduct, managed to extend their lead before the half-time break through Louie Barry's curling effort.
Despite a dominant second-half display from United's youngsters, which saw Tom Allan halve the deficit with a late penalty, it proved to be a consolation as the hosts were unable to make their advantage pay in their final Division Two fixture of the 2020/21 season.
The two sides had only went to head-to-head on Sunday, with Allan grabbing a late equaliser for the visitors in a 1-1 draw at Bodymoor Heath.
The 21-year-old forward almost continued where had left off at the weekend after racing down the left wing following Brad Cross' forward pass but, despite darting into the penalty area, saw his low strike towards the front post pushed away by Villa goalkeeper Ákos Onódi.
In the 21st minute, the Villans were awarded a penalty as Young advanced into the box before being swiped down by United defender Brad Cross.
After winning the spot-kick, the teenage forward, who scored in Villa's FA Youth Cup quarter-final victory against Newcastle last month, confidently dispatched his low spot-kick, sending United goalkeeper Dan Langley the wrong way.
The hosts almost responded in immediate fashion as Stan Flaherty, United's top goalscorer at under-23 level this term, hit the post after the 19-year-old winger picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area, after Allan dispossessed Paul Appiah, before seeing his goal bound strike tipped onto the post by Onódi.
Langley then made an impressive save to deny Young after the Villa striker latched onto Walker's lofted pass before evading the challenge of Cross but saw his low effort blocked by the leg of the 20-year-old shot-stopper.
With the half-time whistle approaching, Villa were reduced to ten as substitute Bradley Burton retaliated after a tussle on the byline with United defender Matt Bondswell, resulting in referee Matthew Dicicco brandishing a straight red card.
Villa, however, doubled their lead in the 42nd minute as Barry, the division's top goalscorer with 12 strikes, cut inside from the left blank before bending the ball into the far right-hand corner.
In the second-half, Flaherty went close to notching his eighth league goal of the campaign as the teenager's teasing free-kick from distance forced a stretching Onódi into tipping the ball away from danger.
Owen Bailey, who made his first-team debut for his boyhood club during the Magpies' Premier League Asia Trophy campaign in July 2019, struck the crossbar as the midfielder's ferocious first-time effort from the edge of the box crashed off the woodwork.
Newcastle continued their pursuit for a goal as Flaherty advanced past a group of Villa defenders before his low cross found Rosaire Longelo at the back post but the substitute's strike was heroically blocked by Appiah.
In the 88th minute, Newcastle set up a tense finale after being awarded a penalty as Bailey was fouled inside the penalty area, with Allan converting the resulting spot-kick to take his goalscoring tally to five in eight league matches.
In the dying minutes, the hosts almost found an all-important equaliser as Flaherty's corner from the right flank found its way to Cross but the South African defender's strike at goal was turned around the post by Onódi.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Dan Langley, Ryan Barrett, Niall Brookwell, Brad Cross, Matt Bondswell (Dylan Stephenson 76), Owen Bailey, Jack Young (c), Stan Flaherty, Adam Wilson (Oliver Walters 60), Rodrigo Vilca (Rosaire Longelo 46), Tom Allan.
Subs not used: Jake Turner, Josh Scott.