A dismal Wednesday night for Newcastle United’s young players but partly mitigated by Peter Beardsley’s class reaction afterwards.
Newcastle exited the FA Youth Cup to lower league AFC Wimbledon after being outplayed in the first half, then struggling to make any kind of impression in the second.
By far the better team in the opening period, midfielder Alfie Egan put the visitors ahead after half an hour and they went in one up at the break, the reality being it could have been far worse for United.
Hopes were raised when immediately after the game restarted for the second half, exciting young striker Lewis McNall levelled things after Heaney’s pass.
However, Newcastle were at best no better than their lower league rivals as the game progressed and appeared to be heading for extra time.
With a couple of minutes left though, Egan scored his second and dumped the Newcastle United Under 18s out of the FA Youth Cup, with AFC Wimbledon’s young players now excitedly waiting to see if they will face Chelsea or Manchester United at home.
Newcastle had almost come a cropper in the previous round against non-league Ilkeston, going 3-0 up and eventually hanging on to a 3-2 win at the end.
Whilst the likes of McNall and one or two others clearly have talent, just like at first team level there seems to be little clear focus or plan at under 18s and under 21s level as to how to progress players and come up with a winning formula.
The club is a total mess and never mind the short-term relegation fight for this season, the mid and long-term outlook doesn’t give you much hope either.
Peter Bearsdley has now been involved for some time with United’s kids and must take his share of the blame for the failures at the club, but at least he did the decent thing after last night’s defeat.
The Newcastle coach going into the AFC Wimbledon dressing room (watch video below) and delivering a genuine message to the team who had outplayed his Premier League kids.
— Michael Hamilton (@mikehamilton_14) January 7, 2016