Dawson praises under-23s after important league victory
Written by Luke Vinton
Ben Dawson was full of praise for Newcastle United Under-23s after a strong 2-0 win over Division Two leaders Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
The young Magpies got off a blistering start in their Premier League 2 clash, with both goals coming inside the first seven minutes with Tyrique Bartlett netting after 40 seconds before Cam John's own goal doubled Newcastle's advantage.
The victory sends United into third place, with a play-off spot firmly in sight whilst lying three points adrift of the league leaders.
With a number of Academy players currently away on international duty, Dawson was delighted with his crop of youngsters who seized the chance in impressing on the field.
He told nufc.co.uk: "We asked them to rise to the occasion which we generally do. We have a good group who thrive on those big games and it was an opportunity for some to stand out against a team who are top of the league.
"I thought the start we made was really good. Getting the first goal helped to put Wolves on the back foot. We could have managed the game better in the second half but sometimes you can't do what you want to do all the time because the opposition have different ideas.
"As much as they had a lot of the ball, I don't think Wolves really threatened or got behind our team. Once we sorted a few issues out at half-time, I thought it was quite comfortable in the end.
Prior to their clash with Wolves, United suffered a disappointing 3-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, controlling large parts without imposing serious danger to their opponents.
Dawson noted that his side's early opener was important in achieving three crucial points in their push for promotion.
He added: "The first goal always helps. We saw the difficulty of not scoring when we played Aston Villa in our last league game, maintaining a lot of possession and territory up the pitch but rarely threatening in front of goal.
"You can have as much of the ball as you want but if you don't have something to show for it, you can be put on the back foot so I was really pleased that we scored the first goal and we were then able to manage the game well.
"The work-rate and effort they put in today, they are like that everyday.
"They are like sponges on the training pitch, so as much as we are having to wrap people up in cotton wool because we haven't got a lot of bodies, we are still able to do some tactical work and you could see from today they are taking everything in."
Newcastle's youngsters now turn their attention to their Premier League Cup quarter-final meeting against Derby County as the young Magpies look to build further on their positive campaign.
"It puts us in a great position in the league and I know that we are up there," Dawson said. "As long as we continue to focus on producing good performances, I think the results and ultimately where we finish will take care of itself.
"There are still quite a few games to go and we now have a little break coming up until the game against Derby in the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup.
“That is something else to focus on as it takes our mind away from the league and it’ll just be about getting another good performance and seeing if we can progress in that competition.
“As long as we continue to focus on putting on good performances then the results and where we finish at the end of the season will take care of themselves.”