Newcastle United Under-23s 3 Stoke City Under-23s 2
- Simon Mather
Newcastle United Under-23s claimed an important 3-2 victory against their Stoke City counterparts in Premier League 2 on Friday evening.
Yannick Touré's composed strike broke the deadlock in the opening stages of the Division Two clash before second-half goals from Rodrigo Vilca, his first for the club, and Stan Flaherty's impressive finish gave United a comfortable lead against a Stoke side containing two Austrian internationals, Moritz Bauer and Kevin Wimmer.
The young Magpies, however, were forced to play the latter stages with ten men following Niall Brookwell's red card and faced a frantic flourish from the Potters following late goals from William Forrester and Ethon Varian before eventually holding on for three points at Whitley Park.
After a lack of goalscoring opportunities in the opening stages of the league encounter, United took the lead in the 15th minute through Touré's third goal of the campaign.
The Senegalese-born striker, a representative of Switzerland at under-20 level, capitalised on a defensive error before racing through on goal and, after holding off the defender, cooly slotted the ball into the far right-hand corner.
Goalkeeper Olly Marshall, making his debut at under-23 level for United's second-string produced a key save to keep Newcastle ahead, standing tall to block Lewis Macari's fierce effort at goal after the Stoke midfielder had raced in behind the Magpies defence.
With the first-half whistle approaching, the teenage shot-stopper kept the Potters at bay once again after Daniel Malone's drilled strike from inside the penalty area was crucially pushed away from danger by the young 'keeper.
In the second half, Newcastle extended their advantage in the 48th minute as Vilca, who joined United from Deportivo Municipal in October, netted his first goal in United colours in fine fashion.
After Flaherty picked out the Peruvian on the edge of the penalty area, the 21-year-old controlled the ball before finding the bottom left-hand corner with a well-taken finish.
Flaherty then turned from provider to goalscorer in the 73rd minute as the winger netted Newcastle's third.
After a dangerous attacking move, Vilca lifted a neat through ball into Flaherty's path before the 19-year-old curled a delightful effort into the top left-hand corner, notching his fifth league goal of the season.
Newcastle's second-string were reduced to ten men in the 80th minute following Brookwell's dismissal, picking up a second yellow card.
The Potters grabbed a goal back in the 82nd minute as Forrester netted for the Potters. After Christian Norton's drilled effort smashed off the crossbar, the Stoke skipper was on hand to nod the rebound into the net, ending Marshall's hopes of a debut clean sheet.
A nervy finale was set as Varian halved the deficit in the 88th minute as the Stoke forward managed to beat Marshall in the air and bravely head the inviting cross into the corner of the net.
Newcastle's ten men, though, dug deep in the dying stages and moved off the foot of the table and currently lie one point adrift of the play-off spots.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Oliver Marshall, Ryan Barrett, Jude Swailes (Josh Scott 45), Ludwig Francillette, Lucas Gamblin, Brad Cross, Niall Brookwell, Jack Young (c), Stan Flaherty, Rodrigo Vilca (George Rounsfell 90), Yannick Toure.
Subs not used: Piotr Banda, Joe White, Florent Indalecio.