West Bromwich Albion Elite 3 Newcastle United Foundation 3 (AET)
A beaten but unbowed Newcastle United Foundation can build on the positives following a thrilling cup tie in the West Midlands.
That’s the verdict of coach Terry Mitchell after one missed spot kick proved to be the difference between victory and heartbreaking defeat to hosts West Bromwich Albion.
The previously unbeaten Baggies finally won an unpredictable NYFL Cup first round clash 5-4 on penalties after two attacking teams shared six goals in normal time.
And Mitchell admitted: “We’re disappointed and delighted at the same time.
“West Brom are the undefeated league leaders of the Midlands Premier Division and we knew it was going to be tough at their place.
“It turned out that they were much older and more experienced than us but for 90 minutes we more than held our own.
“The lads were devastated to come away empty handed and nobody likes to lose a game of football.
“But from a coach’s point of view I was proud of the performance and felt there was nothing to choose between the teams.
“In fact we had chances to kill the game off before they grabbed an equaliser in the last couple of minutes to take the match to penalties.”
Prior to kick off both teams agreed to go straight to spot kicks rather than take the first round tie into extra-time.
And after 90 minutes of breathless attacking football Mitchell felt a 3-3 scoreline was a fair result.
“It was 2-2 at half-time and then we went ahead for a third time,” he added. “We hit the post twice after that and they hit the bar.
“It was end-to-end and a cracking game for the neutral. Of course we were disappointed to concede again so late in the game but that can’t detract from what was a really encouraging display.
“We’re creating chances and playing some fantastic football so we have to focus on that and take away the positives.”
Newcastle United Foundation works in partnership with Newcastle College to provide 60 student footballers with a unique combination of sport and education.
Mitchell’s players train four times a week and study for BTEC diplomas in sport within a programme that continues to go from strength to strength.
A superb start to a scintillating cup tie saw United take the lead thanks to a moment of magic from Antonio Agostinho.
The stand-in skipper took the ball in his stride before a neat turn and flick bamboozled the Albion goalkeeper.
The hosts hit back minutes later only for Dan Flude to fire Newcastle back in front on the half hour mark.
West Brom levelled again before the break but Mitchell added: “I told the lads at half-time that we’d score again if we kept doing what we were doing… and we did!”
United led 3-2 midway through the second half after superb work from Agostinho teed up Dan Peart and the Newcastle College student made no mistake.
But the Baggies refused to surrender to their free-flowing Foundation rivals and, after forcing penalties, made sure of their place in the second round with a perfect five from five from the spot.
Newcastle Foundation B slipped to a 2-0 cup defeat at the hands of derby rivals Sunderland FOL NC.
A late goal for the Wearsiders added the gloss to a scoreline that failed to do the Magpies justice.
And Mitchell admitted: “The lads defended really well. Both of their main strikers were promoted to the A team as we were missing a couple of players and with a bit more firepower who knows?”
Newcastle United Foundation: Josh Wilson, Nathan Beesley, Lewis Bateman, Shay Appleby, Alan Thompson, Reece Dunbar-Phillips, Antonio Agostinho, Harrison Mann, Daniel Fluïde, Daniel Peart, Thomas Cackowski
Subs: Rhys McLeod, Will Tubman, Nelson Ogbewe