Toon starlets kept in Check by the Saints
NEWCASTLE United Under-23s looked like they were suffering from a Checkatrade Trophy hangover during a 1-0 home defeat against Southampton.
Having impressed in their last outing at Doncaster Rovers a little under two weeks ago in a 3-1 win over a team of League One regulars, United failed to maintain their high performance levels against the Saints on Tyneside.
True, this was a major improvement on last season’s corresponding fixture – which the South Coast side took 5-1 in February – but overall the young Magpies lacked quality and composure in key areas.
The game had started with chances few and far between but on 17 minutes a driving run from Sean Longstaff caused panic in the Saints’ defence.
His 25-yard dart down the left channel was followed up with a shot which went wide of the goalkeeper’s right-hand post.
Three minutes later a good run and cross from the same flank saw Cal Roberts cut the ball across to Tom Allan, who struck a powerful shot from close range which Jack Rose somehow palmed away to safety.
On the half-hour mark Sean Longstaff clipped in a fine cross from the right-hand side to pick out Elias Sorensen but the Dane took a horrendous touch in front of Rose, who easily gathered.
Both were chances Newcastle would go on to regret.
Southampton grabbed the lead on 34 minutes after Newcastle lost possession on the left-hand side due to a defensive error.
Michael Obafemi cashed in and used his blistering pace to break into the box, take a touch and calmly slot the ball past Freddie Woodman.
As the conditions worsened due to a heavy shower, referee Andrew Miller blew for half-time after an abject opening 45 minutes.
It was a half which lacked quality from a Newcastle point of view but, with just a single-goal deficit, the Black and Whites were still very much in the game.
Sadly, they were unable to find their clinical touch after the interval.
Newcastle created a chance 10 minutes into the second half when a Roberts cross picked out Matty Longstaff, but he headed over the bar.
Wilson almost netted a spectacular late equaliser when swirling in an effort from the lefthand side but it zipped just wide of the far post.
Newcastle probably deserved a point but were wasteful with the ball when and where it mattered.