Knibbs header. 0-1
45+1 mins Brunt shot. 0-2
Half time: Magpies 0 Villans 2
89 mins Mooney shot. 0-3
Full time: Magpies 0 Villans 3
A first defeat in five
league games saw Newcastle's second string lose ground in the race to secure
promotion on Monday, as they were well beaten by fellow playoff hopefuls Villa
at Whitley Park.
One place and one point behind United, the Villans looked the more dangerous and
after creating three early chances, took the lead when Harvey Knibbs rose
unchallenged to meet Tyreik Wright's 17th minute corner.
United's best chance of levelling came seconds before half-time when a free-kick
into the box ended up with striker Yannick Toure beating the 'keeper only to see
his shot blocked on the line.
In the first minute of added time however, the visitors broke and Wright's fine
cross from the right was knocked in by Lewis Brunt from close range.
Two minutes after the resumption Matty Longstaff hit a 20-yarder that was tipped
over the bar and United maintained the pressure for the remainder of the half
without any tangible reward.
With so many home players upfield, Villa twice missed the chance to seal victory
when breaking away, but it was third time unlucky for United on 89 minutes when
Cameron Archer set up substitute Kelsey Mooney to tuck the ball under Nathan
Despite their league form, this wasn't a wholly unexpected outcome for the U23s,
now defeated in three of their last four league and cup fixtures as their
visibly begin to lose momentum.
U23s Coach Ben Dawson spoke of a lack of confidence among his squad, but the
absence of both top scorers due to loans and the unavailability of various other
players has seen him dip into the U18 side to make up the numbers.
That those loan players are kicking their heels up and down the country is
especially annoying; some missing out on gaining experience and others closer to
the exit door at United unable to impress potential new employers as they
languish on the bench. It surely has to be better to be playing than not doing
so, even at a lower level.
The absence of more experienced players of course opens up opportunities for
others, but we just seem to have tipped the scales the wrong way in recent
weeks. This season has been a radical improvement on 2017/18 but we're in danger
of falling away and ending up empty-handed. Gaining promotion to the highest U23
division would be timely, given the expected reboot of our
Elsewhere on Monday, Wolves went top of the table after defeating previous
leaders Southampton 3-1. It's a 22 game season, with the champions taking the
one automatic promotion spot and the next four sides going into a knockout
Newcastle's defeat by Villa realistically ends any hopes of winning the title,
but they remain in with a fighting chance of qualifying for the playoffs. Their
final four games see them host Wolves and Manchester United and travel to Stoke
Premier League 2 Division 2 table: