Dawson pleased with young Magpies' second half recovery
Newcastle United Under-23s coach Ben Dawson hailed his side’s response after they came from behind to earn a point at West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
Nathan Ferguson’s strike put the Baggies in front in the opening game of United’s Premier League 2 Division Two season.
But four minutes after the restart, Callum Roberts levelled the scores, and the Magpies went on to create a host of chances to win the game.
That crucial clincher didn’t materialise, but Dawson was pleased with the way his youngsters recovered after half time to take the game to the hosts.
“We had a little bit more energy and a bit more intensity. In the first half, we were a yard off, and that can often be the case when you’ve just had pre-season and then you come into a competitive game,” he told nufc.co.uk. “Credit to them – they came out with lots of energy and we couldn’t match that.
“We sorted a few things out at half time – among ourselves more than anything else – just to say, ‘let’s get ten yards higher up the pitch, get them on the back foot and put them under the pressure they’ve put us under’. I thought in the second half we created loads of chances but we just couldn’t find the back of the net, which is frustrating, especially when we got the one early on at the start of the second half.
“It was a frustrating afternoon, but I’m pleased that we responded the way we did at the start of the second half.”
The Magpies’ second string have a new look to their team this term, with a few new faces supplementing the more experienced members of the squad.
And Dawson hopes the work done on the training pitch over the past month will bear fruit as his team begin to settle into the new season.
“We valued time on the pitch and time as a group (in pre-season), trying to get a new group of players settled in,” he said. “We’re aware we might lose one or two from that group once the loan window shuts at the end of the month, so we’ve had to get all those new lads and the younger lads who didn’t get an opportunity last year to step up this year and get up to speed – hence the more time spent on the training pitch this pre-season.
“The first game’s always a difficult one. I look back to Stoke away last year, when we started the game really well and then allowed them to come back into it, and it was a reversal of that this year.
“But that’s under-23s football – you don’t get a 90-minute performance, they’re still young lads, they’re still learning, and part of that is the inconsistency that comes with that. But there’s plenty there that we’re happy with, and there are bits we want to work on, and I think the lads are mature enough to recognise that.”
“It was a frustrating afternoon, but I’m pleased that we responded the way we did at the start of the second half."