Sunderland fielded a strong side but it wasn't enough.

Sunderland fielded a strong side but it wasn’t enough.

A Lewis McNall brace helped Newcastle United Under-18s to a 4-3 win away at Sunderland U18s on Wednesday night.

McNall opened and concluded the scoring while Adam Wilson and Owen Bailey were also on target for Dave Watson’s Magpies.

Josh Maja hit a brace for Sunderland and Elliot Embleton was also on the scoresheet but it wasn’t enough as McNall’s second proved the decisive goal.

Sunderland came from behind twice and were the better side throughout but McNall’s second sealed the win for the Magpies at a bitterly cold Eppleton CW.

Manager Elliott Dickman named a strong side for the much-anticipated derby with Joel Asoro, Maja and Embleton all starting. The hosts started brightly and could have taken the lead after only 17 seconds as positive play played Maja in but he poked narrowly wide.

After settling down, Newcastle got a foothold in the game and in the 10th minute the visitors worked the ball round to McNall but his effort was pushed to safety by Michael Woud.

After Matty Longstaff had tested Woud, Newcastle were given a great chance to take the lead on the quarter of an hour mark as Oscar Krusnell fouled Wilson inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. McNall took responsibility and the 17-year-old fired straight down the middle to put the visitors ahead.

In a terrible spell for Sunderland, Newcastle extended their advantage only five minutes later through Bailey. Longstaff whipped a free-kick into the penalty area and the Newcastle man was able to send a looping effort over Woud and into the bottom corner.

Now two goals behind, Sunderland responded well and good link up play from Maja and Embleton gave Asoro a chance in the 21st minute but his effort narrowly missed the bottom corner.

As Sunderland continued to search for a route back into the game, Chris Allan fired narrowly wide from 22 yards. The hosts were controlling possession and looking the brighter side but they were struggling to break down an organised Newcastle outfit.

Asoro glanced a header wide six minutes before the break and sloppy defending gifted Embleton a great chance soon after but his effort was saved by a fine stop from Nathan Harker.

After the break, Sunderland continued to look the brighter and Embleton tried his luck from the edge of the penalty area but his effort was pushed away.

Maja and Asoro both had further chances before Sunderland pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute. After a sustained spell of pressure, quick passing football saw Lee Connelly play Maja in and he slotted home to make it game on.

A leveller was almost found seconds after the hour mark as Connelly picked up possession and curled an effort a matter of inches over the top corner.

But, against the run of play, Newcastle regained their two-goal cushion as Wilson cut in from the wing to fire a low 20-yard effort into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.

Newcastle’s third meant Sunderland had it all to do again but the young Black Cats kept going and in the 75th minute, Bailey fouled Maja in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Maja dusted himself down before slotting home the penalty and it was once again game on.

And, as the game became totally unpredictable, Sunderland pulled level in the 78th minute. The ball was worked to Embleton and the under-23 regular tucked home to pull the hosts level.

With extra-time looming, Newcastle could have sealed the win in the 82nd minute when a Kieran Aplin cross-cum-shot crashed back off the crossbar.

Seconds later, the ball was swung back into the penalty area to find the totally unmarked McNall but he headed wide from six yards, while Asoro had a great chance at the other end which was saved.

The woodwork came to the rescue of Sunderland for a second time five minutes from time when Wilson’s thunderbolt clipped the bar on its way over.

However, the Magpies wouldn’t be left to rue on missed chances a winner did come only two minutes from time. Good work from McNall saw him collect the ball 18 yards from goal and he quickly turned before tucking the ball into the corner to send Newcastle United into the quarter-finals.


Full-time: Sunderland U18s 3-4 Newcastle United U18s

Sunderland U18s: Woud, Gamble, Krusnell (Diamond, 71′), Allan, Taylor, Storey, Asoro, Embleton, Connelly, Maja, Hackett

Unused subs: Patterson, Young, Best, McAughtrie

Newcastle United U18s: Harker, Kitchen, Aplin, Longstaff, Bailey, Gibson, Wilson, Watts (Goodridge, 67′), McNall, Allan (Lowther, 57′), Smith

Unused subs: Huuhtanen, Spooner, Adu-Peprah

Attendance: 1,009

Referee: Matthew Dicicco