Redfearn's review as young Magpies beaten by experienced Baggies
Written by Luke Vinton
Newcastle United Under-23s head coach Neil Redfearn commended his side's performance as the young Magpies were cruelly beaten against West Bromwich Albion on Monday afternoon.
West Brom's Hal Robson-Kanu broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half before birthday boy Tom Allan equalised from the penalty spot, netting his fourth goal in four games.
And despite going toe-to-toe with a Baggies team containing four full internationals, including Chris Brunt, Ali Al-Habsi and Ahmed Hegazi, United's youngsters were dealt a bitter blow as Robson-Kanu's injury time winner dampened an otherwise impressive display from Neil Redfearn's young squad.
Redfearn told nufc.co.uk: "I thought the lads were absolutely outstanding. We created the better chances and we were the better football side and controlled the game. If you look at the team they've put out, you're talking about five or six first-team players. It was a great performance from us and we're going in the right direction.
"I thought we controlled the ball really well and we controlled the game. In midfield, we dictated and looked safe at the back but the goals came at a time when they had a little bit of joy towards the end but I can't fault the players.
"There was a little bit of a doubt with their first goal. I thought it was a free kick before it got to the goal. You get them sometimes but it was against the run of play. When we equalised, it was a good bit of play with Jack Young getting bumped over in the box after getting himself forward.
"We played a bit differently with Matty (Longstaff) coming in and played three in midfield with Luke (Charman) down the middle. I thought the wide players caused them all sorts of problems in Rosaire (Longelo) and Tom Allan.
"I thought the three midfielders were outstanding today in Jack Young, Matty Longstaff and Mo Sangare. That's the way to compete in midfield - energetic, aggressive and passing the ball well which gave us a real platform to go and play on.
"Going back to the process, these boys are improving and getting better and better every week. There's a confidence about us now and a bit of a swagger when we play."
After West Brom took an early lead in the second half, Redfearn was pleased with the quick reaction as United won a penalty four minutes later, with Allan dispatching the spot kick on his 20th birthday to continue his rich run of form in front of goal.
"Tom's playing ever so well," Redfearn added. "It's his birthday today as well so I'm pleased that he managed to score. It is disappointing the group didn't get the result they deserved. Worst case scenario, it should have been a draw but I feel they should have won it with the chances we created.
"We can learn from those situations. It's about game management which we talked about after the game. I'll tell them when they've played badly and they'll know about it but after that they played well. Sometimes you play well and get beat and we'll play worse than that but win.
"You've got to put in perspective and for them but if they can learn anything from it, it's to see the game out. At 1-1, there were two or three occasions where we could have stayed in the ascendancy but we're trying to throw the ball into the box looking for a winner which is like youthful exuberance which can be applauded but if you want to develop and move on, you've got to manage those minutes."
"It is disappointing the group didn't get the result they deserved. Worst case scenario, it should have been a draw but I feel they should have won it with the chances we created."