Dawson pleased with youngsters' second-half turnaround
Written by Luke Vinton
Ben Dawson hailed Newcastle United's under-23s' second-half performance after Monday night's 3-2 victory over Stoke City.
A brace from Cal Roberts and a late winner from substitute Elias Sørensen saw United secure three valuable points at Whitley Park, with the Magpies managing to come from behind twice to extend their unbeaten run to four matches in all competitions.
United's second string remain in sixth place in the second division of Premier League 2, three points adrift of the top four.
After a tricky first 45 minutes, coach Ben Dawson felt his side's first equaliser - courtesy of Roberts - came at the right time before a much improved second-half display.
"They (Stoke) started really well, moving the ball around much quicker than we anticipated," he told nufc.co.uk.
"However, I thought we did well to stay in the game and to get the goal right before half-time was a killer blow for the opposition.
"We were pleased to be able to get them in at the break and fix some bits and pieces.
"Then, in the second half, I thought we were on the front foot a bit more and pressed higher as well as creating some great opportunities without giving Stoke too much encouragement in attack."
In particular, Dawson was pleased with both the attacking and defensive qualities in his young side. Dawson added: "Callum had to do a bit of a job for the team in terms of playing on the right wing earlier in the game and, after moving into the middle, he was much happier.
"Elias was disappointed not to start but we're still in the development phase and one of those things is learning you cannot start all matches.
"If he's going to get a chance at senior level, it could be from coming off the bench so he needs to experience that.
"The two centre-backs, Stefan O'Connor and Kell Watts, played well due to the attacking threat Stoke had through the middle and, barring their second goal, the pair were terrific."
Newcastle's under-23s are back in action on Friday night as they face Leeds United in the Premier League Cup at Whitley Park.
"It will be a tough match and their change in management and style of play will be interesting for us to play against," Dawson said.
Admission is priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. Season ticket holders and members can attend for free.
"In the second half, I thought we were on the front foot a bit more and pressed higher as well as creating some great opportunities."