Seventh heaven for Dawson after Senior Cup thrashing
Written by Luke Vinton
Newcastle United under-23s coach Ben Dawson took plenty of positives from the second string's 7-2 victory over Blyth Spartans in Tuesday's Northumberland Senior Cup quarter-final.
Kelland Watts' hat-trick, Yannick Touré's brace and first-half strikes from Juanito and Rosaire Longelo secured a convincing victory for the Magpies.
The tie was settled early on as United raced into a four goal lead inside 20 minutes, with seven of the nine goals coming inside the opening 45 minutes at Whitley Park, while Bradley Fewster netted twice for the away side.
After reaching the semi-finals, Dawson was impressed with the professionalism shown by his dominant young side, who refused to show any sympathy towards the National League North outfit, who rested ten first-team players from their FA Trophy defeat to Leyton Orient on Saturday.
"For the lads, it was a role reversal of the (Checkatrade Trophy) game against Sunderland, where all the pressure was put on us," Dawson told nufc.co.uk. "We had to make sure that we did the job correctly and professionally. We scored some great goals and, although it was disappointing to concede and give away chances, I was pleased that we tried to do the right things in terms of playing and showing discipline to do that.
"I said at half time that I think you'll struggle to see four better goals than those we scored in the first half and that was down to moving the ball quickly with one and two touches.
"We asked them to use the wide areas as much as possible to get up the pitch rather than trying to play through the middle to encourage our opponents to steal the ball and potentially break on us. When we did that, it looked as if we could score a hatful of goals.
"It was positive to score from a couple of set plays, having stressed importance on that in training. Our forward runs in behind and passing were better than they have been this season, where we now seem to look more threatening from deeper and don't always require the perfect build-up."
United's second string lifted the Northumberland Senior Cup last season, ending their four-year wait for the trophy with a 3-1 victory over Morpeth Town at St. James' Park.
Dawson's side are bidding to defend their title for the first time in seven years, with the coach admitting he is hopeful his young squad can achieve success this term - and for years to come.
"There is pride in trying to win the competition," he added. "We never send a team out to get beat and, as much as we are still a development group and we're looking for individual performances and improvements from day-to-day and week-to-week, we still want to win everything that we are playing in.
"Therefore, it was important for us to win the game as the holders. I have said to the lads that our target should be winning this competition every year so we had to make sure we got off the best possible start.
"I think you can sometimes look on paper and think we should win the game, which you'd like to think on this occasion we should. I tried to stress the importance of showing respect which the opposition deserved but also making sure that we didn't drop our high standards."
Newcastle's second string are back in cup action on Friday night, as they host Southampton in the Premier League Cup at Whitley Park (kick-off 7pm GMT).