Under-18s claim terrific win on Tyneside
Neil Ryan’s young Reds claimed maximum points on Saturday afternoon, with an impressive 3-1 triumph at Newcastle United's windswept training ground in Benton.
Conditions in the North East were anything but ideal with heavy rain having soaked the pitch. Such was the pre-match concern that Newcastle officials organised an inspection to confirm that the playing surface was safe and suitable.
That must have come as a huge relief to the Reds' players and staff who had made an early start for the lengthy trek to Tyneside. The objective was to complete a hat-trick of victories over the Magpies for the season, having grabbed three points with a 3-0 win in the league and also a 1-0 success in the League Cup, both at the Aon Training Complex.
In blustery and damp conditions, the match took some time to catch fire with neither side finding it easy to negotiate a route through to their opponents’ goal. However, despite the adverse weather, the two sets of players persevered and the Reds slowly began to claim the lion’s share of possession before gaining a first reward in the 22nd minute.
Largie Ramazani had looked lively and adventurous so it came as no surprise when his excellent pass from the left found McCann, who steadied himself before slotting home past Newcastle ‘keeper Will Brown.
It was the beginning of a spell in the game that saw the Reds score twice more before half-time to get well on track for the victory.
It was looking good for the Reds but the prospects of success were ratcheted up a good few notches on the stroke of half-time when Elanga scored a wonderful solo goal after weaving his way past four Magpies’ defenders before tapping the ball into Brown’s net.
The three-goal cushion meant Ryan's side had the luxury of not having to force the proceedings; nevertheless, the visitors continued on the offensive and several players – including Ramazani on a couple of occasions – were out of luck in front of goal.
Fourteen minutes from the close, Newcastle were given a ray of hope when Elliot Anderson, a 16-year-old Scot, reduced the arrears after showing terrific footwork on his way to emulating Elanga’s earlier deeds.
United: Carney; Neville, Mengi, Bejger, Devine; Galbraith, Traore (Helm 61), Galbraith (Sotona 80); McGhee, Elanga, Ramazani (Stanley 70).
Substitutes not used: Mastny, Hughes.
Goals: Newcastle - Anderson 76 | United - McCann 22, 37, Elanga 45.