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The Weekly Review: Battling performances in a busy week for the Toon

The First team took a giant leap towards Premier League safety, the Women and U18s each had two tough fixtures whilst the U-23s suffered a tough loss against Stoke.

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Newcastle’s senior sides kept up their good form with a string of wins this week, with the First team out-playing high-flying West Ham and the Women’s team beat off Wallsend Reserves to make the semi-final of the Bluefin Sports Insurance County Cup. The U-23s lost for the second time in a row and now find themselves a foot of the PL2 Division 2 table whilst the U-18s had an up and down week after beating Manchester United U-18s on Saturday but falling to Middlesbrough U-18s in the Tyne-Tees midweek derby.

Willock’s winner brings home a deserved win for NUFC against the Hammers.

Saturday saw the First team move nine points clear of the relegation zone with a gritty 3-2 win over West Ham thanks to super-sub Joe Willock’s winner. A dominant first half where the Toon took a 2-0 lead in at the break showed signs of a typical Newcastle implosion when the 10-men Hammers equalised. But the side showed a huge amount of passion and positive intent after being pegged back and grabbed a deserved winner after Matt Ritchie’s peach of a delivery was met full-force by Willock’s header. Read more about the win, Matt Ritchie’s performance and the best from the post-match press conference here.

Saturday’s afternoon kickoff against Merseyside Reds at Anfield is next up for United in the Premier League. A win against the ‘Pool would see the Toon up to 38 points, a total which has been enough for safety in all of the past 8 seasons.

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League
Cracking header from Joe to grab all three points for the Toon!
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Newcastle United Women march on in the County Cup but lose Friendly

Newcastle United Women’s (NUW) team were convincing 5-0 winners over Wallsend Reserves in the Bluefin Sport Insurance County Cup on Sunday. Once again, the Lady Magpies made a blisteringly start to the game, being 4-0 up in 35 minutes. United looked in cruise control for much of the game after Kacie Elson got the scoring going in the 15th minute. Katie Barker - who finished with four goals in the game - had a first half hat trick and closed the game out with the final goal in the 71st minute.

Thursday’s Friendly fixture against Durham Cestria - also of the Womens Northern League - ended in a 3-1 defeat that could have been so much more. The first half was a fairly even contest, but Newcastle took and held the lead going into the breakthrough Imogen Longcake’s 8th minute finish. But it was 8 minutes to forget in the second half for the women after Durham equalised in the 50th minute, took the lead in the 52nd and extended their lead in the 58th. The Ladies put in a spirited display to try and get back into the game and were handed a lifeline in the 88th minute after being awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to convert and that was the game!

The County Cup win sets up a semi-final against Alnwick Town Ladies next month, with the date to be finalised soon!

Newcastle U-18s battle past Manchester United but lose out in the Tyne-Tees Derby

It was a busy week for the U18s who followed up last week’s FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final win with a win against Manchester United U18s. The young Magpies started the much stronger side and were unlucky to only be 1-0 up at half time, after taking the lead through Joshua Scott’s first goal in this seasons’ U18PL. The lead was doubled around the hour mark after another assist for Reagan Thomson after he fed in Kyle Crossley. Much like the First team, the U18s were pegged back to 2-2 but scored their winner through James Huntley in the 89th minute.

Just 5 days later the lads took to the field again, this time away at Middlesbrough. In what was a tough first half for the youngsters, the Toon fell behind after giving away an early penalty and defended well against a siege of first half pressure. But they came out the better side in the second half and had their equaliser within six minutes through Jamie Milley. Unfortunately, the Teeside team picked themselves back up and took a somewhat deserved second and third goal as the game came to an end.

The U-18s however now have a weekend to rest up and put that game behind them before taking on Aston Villa u-18s in the FA Youth Cup Semi-Final, at St. James’ Park. The game kicks off at 7pm GMT and will be viewable on Newcastle’s official Youtube channel here.

Newcastle United v Manchester United: U18 Premier League
Well deserved win for the U18s against Manchester United
Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Newcastle U-23s move down to the base of the PL2 Div 2 table

Yet again Newcastle U-23s fell short, after a tight 2-1 loss away to Stoke U23s. It was a customary tale for the Young Magpies with a couple of unfortunate defensive blips causing them to concede. After falling behind just before half-time, Dylan Stephenson grabbed a poacher’s equaliser in the second half for his first U23 goal having impressed with the U18s of late, especially in the FA Youth Cup. Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Toon, this being the 9th time in their past 10 games they’ve found the back of the net, but keeping them out has been another matter.

Whilst keeper Dan Langley made a couple of terrific saves, especially when the game was still at 0-0, second-placed Stoke regained the lead after a failed clearance looped in the air and the Newcastle players were beaten to the ball for a Stoke headed finish. United continued to push for the equaliser deep into the game, with both Anderson and Bailey having opportunities to grab a point but unfortunately were unable to do so.

The loss leaves Newcastle rooted to the base of the table, but a much-improved performance will hopefully provide encouragement to the lads before taking Crystal Palace next Monday.

And how could we not talk about NUFCs response to the big event of the week…

In a week where The European Super League came into and out of existence due to the overwhelming disdain shown by the combined efforts of football fans the country over; football clubs, celebrities, players, pundits, Prime Ministers and even the Royal Family united to kick the greed shown by a few, straight out the door.

A few days away from the trials and tribulations of NUFC was a welcome change. It was almost cathartic to vent frustrations elsewhere, rather than purely at Bruce or Ashley.

That was, until it hit me just how little thought I had given Newcastle any thought whatsoever. Were we to believe that a businessman - because that is all Newcastle is to Ashley, a business - would not have jumped at the chance to bring revenue into the club, regardless the cost? Who is to say. Yet the very absence of words from the club, in an official matter at least, told us all we needed to know.

Whilst the likes of Everton and West Ham condemned the European Super League, Newcastle remained quiet. Maybe they were biding their time. Assessing exactly what the impact was to be. No-one can be too sure. But what we can be sure of is that Newcastle fans were vocal in their disgust at the plans and it wouldn’t have taken very much to at least acknowledge that and show it support.

But alas, these kinds of relationships are just dreams of a lad who would love his team to be run by someone who shares even just a shred of the same adoration he has for NUFC. Maybe one day….


Oxford United v Newcastle United - FA Cup Fourth Round: Replay
Everything back to normal.
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images