39 mins N'Lundulu
Half time: Saints 1 Magpies 0
53 mins Johnson header. 0-2
80 mins Bailey shot. 1-2
Full time: Saints 2 Magpies 1
U23s concluded the season by losing their promotion playoff final tie narrowly
to rivals Southampton at St. Mary's on Monday night.
The two sides were meeting for the fifth time this season in league and cup and
there was little to choose between them before the Saints opened the scoring six
minutes before half time.
Goalkeeper Nathan Harker half-punched Tyreke Johnson's in-swinging corner clear,
only for striker Daniel N'Lundulu to rise above Jamie Sterry and head the ball
Southampton extended their lead eight minutes into the second period, a flowing
counter attack from one end of the field to the other ending with Jake Vokins
crossing from the left side of the area.
That centre reached Johnson and his header from seven yards out deflected off
the unwitting Kelland Watts and ended up in the back of Harker's net.
Newcastle gave themselves a lifeline with ten minutes of normal time remaining,
substitute Callum Roberts laying the ball back for Owen Bailey to shoot home
from the edge of the area via the aid of a deflection.
From then on it was all Newcastle, but they just couldn't find a second goal to
take the tie into extra time; Elias Sorensen volleying over and Roberts seeing
his shot blocked deep into the six minutes of added time.
Coming less than a week after losing the Final of the Premier League Cup to
Everton, it's a cruel conclusion to the season for Ben Dawson's side - who were
also defeated by Morpeth Town in the Semi-Finals of the Northumberland Senior
However the squad and coaches can take heart from almost doubling their points
tally this time round from 2017/18 and recording the most league victories by
any Magpies reserve XI in a decade.
It has been claimed that the ill-fated loans of Roberts and Sorensen to
Colchester and Blackpool earlier this year derailed our promotion push, but in
reality the United squad absorbed that shortfall and continued to collect points
- with the aid of the occasional guest like Jonjo Shelvey.
Credit is also due for overcoming the loss of a trio of midfielders in the shape
of the loaned out Dan Barlaser and the injured duo of Victor Fernandez and Adam
Wilson - not to mention seeing Sean Longstaff successfully make the transition
to the first team, something of a novelty at this club.
Southampton join Wolves in gaining
promotion to the U23 top division, replacing West Ham and Swansea City who were