Newcastle United 3
Olley 8mins, Campbell 13mins, Quinn 90mins
Barker 27mins, 69mins
- Match reports
- Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:57PM
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc and @87JMcG
The footballing Gods turned their backs on City u18s after a rousing comeback was ended by a last minute winner from the Magpies.
Goals from Brandon Barker on either side of half-time had cancelled out Newcastle’s early two goal lead but a 90th minute strike from Jonathan Quinn meant that the three points stayed in the North East after a five-goal thriller on Tyneside.
It was the Blues first league fixture in Qualification Tier Two after they finished in sixth place in National Group Three at the end of 2012.
City’s Academy continued with their policy of promoting youngsters up the age-groups, prompting Adam Sadler to name a sprinkling of first-year scholars and under-16 talents in the line-up.
Brandon Barker, City’s 16-year old forward, was one such beneficiary, earning reward for his impressive performances in 2012 with another start upfront.
Another man making his first league start of the season was Angus Gunn, whose successful operation on a hip injury allowed the Norwich-born keeper to return to action after a lengthy lay-off.
A soggy pitch was waiting for the boy Blues, hardly ideal for the flowing possession football favoured by Sadler.
Perhaps because of this, it’s unsurprising that City’s youngsters had a tough start to the match, finding themselves 2-0 down within 13 minutes.
After eight minutes, Greg Olley seized upon a punch from Gunn and fired in off the crossbar from 22 yards out and five minutes later it was two, after a great break down the left wing, culminating in Campbell’s cool finish from just inside the area.
A quick-fire double for the home side might have paved the way for a thrashing at the hands of the Magpies, but this City side belied its modest years, adapted, and proved they are built of stern stuff.
Barker halved the deficit after 27 minutes, timing his run to perfection to beat the offside trap to latch onto a through ball before drilling into the far corner.
Despite the sheets of rain and snow, City hit their stride, mounting pressure on the Newcastle goal with intricate, elegant possession football.
Yet, when the equaliser arrived, it was a moment of individual quality that brought it.
Again, it was Barker who came up with the goods - meeting Tosin Adarabioyo's incisive pass before embarking on a solo run and finishing with an audacious flick with the outside of his boot under the goalkeeper and into the near corner.
City continued to press to find a winner and Barker nearly had his hat-trick in the 85th minute when he got clear on goal but the forward was in two minds on whether to shoot or square for Kean Bryan and the keeper took him out leading to a few muted claims for a penalty.
The referee (probably correctly) didn't award the spot kick and there a cruel twist left in this topsy-turvy clash as the home side snatched all three points with a last minute winner.
Breaking from a City corner, the goalscorers Olley and Campbell combined on the wing, taking out Vlad Marin at full-back before they found Jonathan Quinn who gleefully fired past Gunn.
Despite the result, there were plenty of positives to take away for Sadler - not least the quality on the ball, the fighting spirit and the mature performances from the embryonic talents on show.
Next week’s meeting with Middlesbrough certainly can’t come soon enough.