West Bromwich Albion U23 2 Newcastle United U23 0
- Lewis Smith
Newcastle United Under-23s' unbeaten start to their 2021/22 Premier League 2 campaign came to an end following a 2-0 defeat against their West Bromwich Albion counterparts on Monday evening.
Despite a strong start to the Division Two clash by the visitors, the young Magpies fell behind through Quevin Castro's powerful finish before the Baggies extended their advantage before the half-time break courtesy of Mo Faal's penalty.
United's youngsters were unable to stage a second-half comeback and return to the summit of the table with a victory as they fell to their first league loss of the 2021/22 season.
There were three changes made to the United side which suffered a 2-0 Premier League Cup defeat against Watford as Elliot Anderson, who made his Premier League debut for his boyhood club against Arsenal in January, was handed his first start of the season at second-string level after suffering a hip injury in April.
Goalkeeper Dan Langley and midfielder Jack Young, who both made their first-team debuts for the Magpies during pre-season, were also named in the starting line-up.
The hosts almost made an early breakthrough as Tom Fellows raced through on goal after a kind deflection fell kindly into the forward's path but the 18-year-old sliced a low effort wide of the target.
Young, who made his first-team debut at Doncaster Rovers in July, went close to breaking the deadlock as the 20-year-old midfielder latched on a loose ball inside the box before his drilled attempt at goal was crucially blocked.
Joe White, who was named on the bench for United's 4-1 Premier League defeat at Manchester United on Saturday, then tested Baggies goalkeeper Ted Cann with a teasing free-kick but the teenager's attempt was held by the Albion shot-stopper.
The former England under-18 international saw another goalscoring opportunity go begging after right-back Ryan Barrett picked out the midfielder inside the penalty area but his low side-footed attempt was saved by Cann.
Despite a promising opening from Newcastle, West Brom took the lead in the 33rd minute through Castro's strike.
After the Portuguese forward was teed up on the edge of the penalty area, the 20-year-old's powerful strike slipped through the hands of Langley.
The young Magpies were dealt a significant blow seven minutes later as Faal netted from the penalty spot in the final minutes of the opening half.
As Rico Richards advanced into the penalty area from the left flank, the winger was brought down inside the penalty area by Young, leaving the Gambian striker to convert the spot-kick, sending Langley the wrong way to double the Baggies' advantage.
In the second-half, Langley prevented Albion from further extending their lead after holding Castro's curling long-range strike before beating away Richards' stinging drive shortly after, getting down low to turn the effort away from safety.
Newcastle went in search of halving the deficit as Young tested Cann with a long-range free-kick, forcing the West Brom 'keeper into pushing the goal bound set-piece away from the target.
Albion substitute Reyes Cleary almost completed a mazy run, advancing past a group of United defenders, before sending his effort inches past the right-hand post.
In the closing stages, United continued their late push to salvage a result as White raced forward before delivering an inviting cross but the ball fizzed across the face of goal.
Newcastle United Under-23s host their Stoke City counterparts in their next Premier League 2 fixture, taking on the Potters at Whitley Park on Monday, 20th September (kick-off 7pm BST).
Newcastle United Under-23s: Dan Langley, Ryan Barrett, Charlie Wiggett, Brad Cross, Remi Savage, Matt Bondswell (Adam Wilson 78), Jack Young, Joe White, Elliot Anderson (Rosaire Longelo 60), Dylan Stephenson, Cameron Ferguson (Jamie Miley 60).
Subs not used: Joe Oliver, Max Thompson.