Rafa Benitez has now been at Newcastle United for 365 days and before the main event against Fulham, Sunderland have got the birthday celebrations off to a perfect start.

An 11am kick-off at Little Benton, Newcastle’s young stars handed out a three goal hiding to their Mackem counterparts.

The convoluted league scheduling sees Newcastle now part of a mini-league after ending up ninth in the Premier League Under 18s Northern division.

A 3-0 win over Sunderland has got Newcastle off to a perfect start, in this latest stage of the season.

Mace Goodridge putting United ahead after 20 minutes and the teams going in 1-0 at the break, despite Sunderland winning a penalty midway through that opening half – Nathan Harker saving the spot-kick.

Owen Gallacher was forced off by injury at half-time but his replacement made it 2-0 only a few minutes into the second period, Jack Robson getting on the scoresheet.

Callum Smith added a third with twenty minutes remaining and NUFC cruised to a three goal victory – not a bad start to the day.

In the absence of first team derbies, the Newcastle United Under 18s have been doing us proud. Winning away at Sunderland in both the league and FA Youth Cup, plus a draw at home in the league – this now makes it three wins and a draw in four derby matches this season.

Newcastle United Under 18s 3 Sunderland Under 18s 0

Newcastle United: Harker, Spooner, Kitchen, Goodridge (Sangare 67), Aziakonou, Gamblin, Gallacher (Robson 46) Lowther (Sorensen 80), Watts, Smith, Heaney

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