Reading Under-23s 1 Newcastle United Under-23s 4
- Matthew Russell
Newcastle United Under-23s moved into the Premier League 2 Division Two play-off spots following an impressive 4-1 away win against Reading on Friday night.
The young Magpies got off to a bright start at the Select Car Leasing Stadium as Jay Turner-Cooke's close-range finish broke the deadlock for the visitors - the 18-year-old's fifth goal in his previous seven matches at under-23 level.
Charlie Wiggett's second-half strike doubled United's advantage before two goals in the space of six minutes, courtesy of Cameron Ferguson's finish and Joe White's penalty, extended Newcastle's lead further.
Rashawn Scott's spot-kick proved a mere consolation for the hosts as Elliott Dickman's side recorded a third successive league win in their opening game of the new year, extending their unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions.
Newcastle's second-string headed into the Division Two encounter aiming to move into fifth place and faced a Reading side lying in 12th place after back-to-back away defeats.
In the 12th minute, Newcastle opened the scoring as Turner-Cooke continued his rich form in front of goal, getting onto the end of Adam Wilson's deflected cross before firing the ball beyond Reading goalkeeper Tom Norcott.
The Sunderland-born winger looked to have doubled his and United's tally shortly after opening the scoring after controlling Josh Scott's swinging cross from the left flank before placing the ball into the net via the left-hand post but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Just like the opening 45 minutes, United's youngsters made an equally strong start to the second-half as, in the 52nd minute, Wiggett netted his fourth league goal of the campaign at under-23 level.
The 19-year-old defender, who was raised in Reading, latched onto Lucas De Bolle's inviting cross, following a surging run into the box by the central midfielder, before firing the ball home against his hometown club.
De Bolle went close to registering his second in three games at second-string level as the Edinburgh-born youngster, who joined Newcastle's youth set-up in 2015, saw a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area crucially tipped over by Norcott.
In the 66th minute, United added a third through Ferguson, son of former Magpies forward Duncan. The teenage striker chested down Wilson's bending cross from the left wing before calmly slotting the ball into the net, the centre-forward's second goal in as many games at under-23 level after scoring his first for the club in last month's Northumberland Senior Cup victory against Ashington.
White added further gloss to the scoreline as the attacking midfielder, an unused substitute in the Magpies' last three senior competitive fixtures, netted from the penalty spot, recording his maiden Premier League 2 goal in the process.
Newcastle's hopes of back-to-back clean sheets were distinguished in the 75th minute through Scott's penalty. After Wiggett committed a foul inside the box, the Royals forward dispatched the resulting spot-kick beyond Newcastle goalkeeper Will Brown.
United's second-string turn their attention to Premier League Cup action when they travel to Liberty Way to face their Birmingham City counterparts on Friday, 21st January (kick-off 7pm GMT).
Newcastle United Under-23s: Will Brown, Nathan Carlyon, Niall Brookwell, Charlie Wiggett, Josh Scott, Jack Young (c), Lucas De Bolle, Jay Turner-Cooke (Rodrigo Vilca 69), Adam Wilson, Joe White, Cameron Ferguson (Reagan Thomson 84).
Subs not used: Jamie Miley, Max Thompson.