Magpies lift Hong Kong Soccer Sevens trophy after late Roberts winner
Written by Tom Easterby
Callum Roberts netted the winner as Newcastle United Under-23s won the Hong Kong Football Club Citi Soccer Sevens tournament with a 1-0 win over Rangers on Sunday.
In-form Roberts netted the golden goal in extra time to give Ben Dawson’s side victory in the final, which saw them pick up the trophy for the first time since 2012.
It was no less than winger Roberts and his Magpies teammates deserved, after grinding out knockout stage victories over Kashima Antlers, Leicester City and the Gers that led to them finishing the weekend as champions.
In an absorbing final, Victor Fernandez went close twice in the opening few minutes, firing over when well placed before forcing the Gers’ goalkeeper Aidas McAdams into a smart save.
United had another shot on target through Roberts, impressive throughout the tournament, which was also well held by McAdams.
At the other end, Nathan Harker had to be alert to deny the Scottish side, saving first from Andrew Dallas before getting down well to palm away Liam Burt’s curling shot.
A minute after the restart, Dallas clipped the bar with a dipping effort and Jack Thompson tested Harker with a well-struck shot from range.
But the best opportunity in normal time fell to Roberts, whose excellent run was stopped only by McAdams, who saved at his feet.
Burt tried his luck to no avail as the contest moved into extra time, with Owen Bailey taking the gloves from Harker for the period of four-a-side as the Magpies sought a golden goal.
And barely a minute after the restart, the winning goal arrived. Fernandez found space on the left and squared for Roberts, who fired home from close range to round off a fine weekend for Newcastle’s youngsters and ensure captain Owen Bailey would be collecting a second piece of silverware in the space of a month, after their earlier Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup triumph.
Photograph courtesy of HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens