Newcastle United Under-23s 2 Stoke City Under-23s 3
- Gareth Rhodes
Newcastle United Under-23s were unable to move into the Premier League 2 Division Two play-off spots following a narrow 3-2 defeat against Stoke City on Monday evening.
Elliot Anderson's penalty on the stroke of half-time sent the young Magpies into the lead at Whitley Park before second-half strikes from D'Margio Wright-Phillips, Thomas Sparrow and Tyrese Campbell gave Stoke a commanding advantage.
Adam Wilson's close-range finish halved the deficit for United's youngsters but, despite the hosts' attacking dominance in the closing stages, were unable to net a late equaliser.
Newcastle made four changes from the side which suffered a 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion last week, with teenage trio Joe Oliver, Josh Scott and Lucas De Bolle all gaining their first league starts of the 2021/22 campaign while central midfielder Niall Brookwell came in for Jack Young.
Sitting in sixth place before kick-off, Newcastle's second-string went close to opening the scoring inside three minutes as Scott, who signed his first professional contract for his boyhood club in July, drilled a low effort wide of the right-hand post after impressive build-up play from Anderson.
United goalkeeper Dan Langley, who made his first-team debut for the Magpies against York City and Doncaster Rovers in pre-season, produced an important stop to deny Campbell, blocking the forward's fierce attempt with his body.
In the 43rd minute, Newcastle took the lead as Anderson, who made his professional and Premier League debut for United against Arsenal in January, netted from the penalty spot.
After Wright-Phillips was adjudged to handle the ball inside the penalty area, the England under-19 international dispatched the spot-kick in confident fashion, sending goalkeeper Nathan Broome the wrong way in the process.
In the 50th minute, Stoke brought themselves back on level terms as Wright-Phillips, son of former Chelsea and Manchester City winger Shaun, atoned for his earlier mistake.
As Stoke were awarded a controversial free-kick, following Brad Cross' handball, Campbell's free-kick was saved by Langley but only parried into Wright-Phillips' path, who fired home the rebound.
Anderson almost doubled his and Newcastle's goalscoring tally but the teenager was brilliantly denied by Broome, who tipped the forward's vicious free-kick onto the crossbar.
In the 71st minute, Stoke took the lead through Sparrow as the midfielder headed Wright-Phillips' cross from the right flank past Langley.
The young Magpies were dealt a further difficult blow as, in the 76th minute, Stoke doubled their advantage through Campbell's finish as the 21-year-old striker, son of former Arsenal striker Kevin, fired home from inside the penalty area.
In the 80th minute, Wilson pulled one back for Newcastle as the substitute, a representative of England at under-18 level, reacted quickest after Scott's shot was parried by Broome before the 21-year-old lifted the ball into the roof of the net.
With nine additional minutes of stoppage time, following Gabriel Adebambo's serious injury, Newcastle pushed forward for the hope of a late equaliser as Anderson tested Broome with another teasing free-kick but the inspired Stoke shot-stopper was alert to push the ball over the crossbar.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Dan Langley, Joe Oliver, Charlie Wiggett, Brad Cross (Cameron Ferguson 84), Remi Savage, Josh Scott, Niall Brookwell (Jack Young 78), Joe White, Elliot Anderson (c), Lucas De Bolle (Adam Wilson 45), Dylan Stephenson.
Subs not used: Ryan Barrett, Max Thompson.