For just the third time at all levels within the club, Newcastle United tasted defeat on Wednesday. It will be of no consolation that this particular taste of defeat came at the Stadium of LIght to the Mackems, nor that the final score would be a not-so-respectable 3-0 to the home team. Perhaps the only bit of solace to be taken from this particular match is that the lineup was not full of fringe First Team players; it was not one of those "stay on your toes and ready" philosophies that had been espoused earlier in the week in an article that found its way through the links. This was a quite young (if full of international quality) players, the oldest weighing in at a ripe old age of 20.
Willie Donachie is hopeful that the youngsters will take the lessons learned from a defeat and internalize them (because what else would you say?):
"I've been there myself at that age, being beaten by a strong team, and sometimes you actually learn more when you lose than when you win.
"It's a wake-up call to all our young lads and an example of what they have to aim for - to be stronger all round, physically, mentally and technically. The players can get there if they are prepared to work at it.
Newcastle United Starting XI: Jak Alnwick | Alex Nicholson, Patrick Nzuzi, Remie Streete, James Tavernier | Samuel Adjei, Michael Richardson (c), Bradden Inman, Joan Edmundsson | Adam Campbell | Dan Taylor
Subs: Jonathan Mitchell, Louis Storey, Lee Toland, Ryan McGorrigan, JJ Hooper
Sunderland AFC Starting XI: Trevor Carson | Louis Laing, Michael Liddle, John Egan (c), Matthew Kilgallon | Craig Lynch, David Meyler, Billy Knott, James McClean | Ryan Noble, Jordan Cook
Subs: Lewis King, Brett Elliott, Adam Reed, Roarie Deacon, Liam Marrs
Jak Alnwick (freshly returned from a loan spell at Gateshead) would be called into action early, coming out on the winning end of a one-on-one with james McClean in the 13th minute, receiving a bit of help from Michael Richardson to clear the leftovers. Alnwick would be at the center of attention in the 16th minute when Sunderland believed that they had opened the scoring, only for the goal to have been waved off for a foul on Alnwick in the build-up.
The Magpies would finally apply some pressure in a good four minute stretch from the 19th through 23rd minutes, forcing a goal-line clearance in the 19th before Faeroe Islands international Joan Edmundsson curled a shot around the post in the 23rd. Sunderland would retake the initiative in the 30th minute, creating a couple of good chances leading up to 10 Minutes the Mags Wish Didn't Happen™. In the 36th minute, Ryan Noble put Sunderland ahead, despite Alnswick getting decent hands to the shot, and then went to celebrate in front of the sizable away support- In trying to piece together accounts of the match, it is entirely likely that he only did this because the away supporters were, in fact, the only supporters in the stadium-- but I cannot confirm this.
Newcastle had perhaps their best chance of the match in the 39th minute with a very smart Campbell header being "saved brilliantly" by Sunderland 'keeper Trevor Carson... and it was downhill from there. In the 42nd minute, Alnwick would get a save on an initial attempt by Lynch, only for Ryan Noble to put in the rebound for his second, again celebrating in front of (ostensibly) the only supporters he could find. Halftime came and it was 2-0 to the scum.
Straight away from the second-half kickoff Sunderland again cut through the Mags defense for Noble to complete his hat-trick. This in the 46th minute, and there was very little of note until the 3rd minute of stoppage time when Patrick Nzuzi was sent off for a professional foul (denial of clear goal scoring opportunity). . . and that pretty much wrapped the whole thing up in a nice little bundle. 3-0 to a Sunderland side including 200 Premier/Championship appearance Matthew Kilgallon... Perhaps they've taken one for the club, cosmically speaking, for the good of the senior squad on the weekend. . . at least we can hope.
Not too much positive to take from this one, save for perhaps the performance of Jak Alnswick, who appears to have had a very nice match despite conceding thrice. It is just one match, after all, and if we'd been given a choice we'd surely have not lost this one, but it is was a reserve match, we still sit top of the Reserve League, and they got 12 youngsters some nice match experience.