Newcastle United Under-23s 3 Newcastle Benfield 1
- Paul Brown
Newcastle United Under-23s progressed into the quarter-finals of the Northumberland Senior Cup following a 3-1 victory against Newcastle Benfield on Wednesday night.
After a goalless 45 minutes, Stan Flaherty's low finish broke the deadlock shortly after the restart before the hosts were quickly pegged back by the Lions following Connor Walker's close-range tap-in.
In front of 521 spectators at Whitley Park, United's youngsters regained the lead through Flaherty's composed penalty before a trialist's strike in the closing stages of the tie confirmed the young Magpies' passage into the last eight.
It was a quick turnaround for the young Magpies after claiming a 4-0 Premier League Cup win over their Birmingham City counterparts on Monday night, with just central defender Brad Cross and a trialist, who broke the deadlock against the Blues' second-string, retaining their places in the starting eleven.
United's second-string, who have won the competition a record 38 times, created the opening chance of the contest as Lucas De Bolle, who signed his first professional contract with his boyhood club in June, tested Andrew Grainger with a fierce strike from the edge of the box but the Benfield goalkeeper beat the midfielder's shot away from goal.
Max Thompson, who kept a clean sheet on his England under-18s debut on Monday, was forced into action shortly after with two key saves, first holding Walker's low drive before crucially denying Sam Walton shortly after from inside the six-yard area.
United skipper Jack Young, who made his first-team debut for the Magpies in a 3-2 pre-season victory at Doncaster Rovers in July, saw a curling free-kick from distance pushed away by Grainger before the conclusion of the first-half.
In the 47th minute, United's youngsters broke the deadlock through Flaherty. After a trialist got onto the end of Ryan Barrett's pass, the striker cleverly picked out Flaherty inside the penalty area before the teenage winger rolled the ball into the right-hand corner.
The hosts' one-goal cushion lasted four minutes, though, as Benfield were back on level terms through Walker's close-range finish, getting onto the end of Paul Brayson's drilled pass across the face of goal.
Flaherty was unfortunate not to regain United's lead earlier in the tie as the 19-year-old raced towards goal before lifting the ball over the diving Grainger but Jake Thompson denied the youngster, clearing the ball before it reached the goal line.
In the 72nd minute, the young Magpies were awarded a penalty as Flaherty's goalbound effort was handled inside the penalty area, leaving the teenage winger to confidently dispatch the resulting spot-kick, placing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
In the 79th minute, Newcastle's second-string doubled their advantage through a trialist. After De Bolle dispossessed defender James Novak, the 18-year-old midfielder drove towards goal before squaring the ball into the trialist's path, who calmly slotted the ball beyond Grainger.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Max Thompson, Ryan Barrett, Charlie Wiggett, Brad Cross, Josh Scott, Stan Flaherty, Lucas De Bolle (Jamie Miley 79), Jack Young (c), Kyle Crossley, Trialist, Cameron Ferguson (Reagan Thomson 62).
Subs not used: Remi Savage, Steven Bessent, Dylan Stephenson.