Who says that cups don’t matter on Tyneside?
Alan Pardew’s senior squad might have been dumped out of the FA Cup at the third round stage but for a new generation of black and white hopefuls there was cup joy last night – and the sort of celebrations which confirm the importance of a competition which has been won by some of English football’s very best.
The crowd of just over 3,500 – plus some hardy travelling supporters from Sunderland – bore testament to an enduring admiration for cup football in all its forms in the North East. Perhaps those in the St James’ Park boardroom who sometimes down play the importance of such matters might take note.
This was a night for new names and Jonathyn Quinn was the outstanding player on a night when Newcastle really impressed.
There is growing excitement around United’s crop of talented teenagers and a derby defeat of Sunderland in the FA Youth Cup will give further hope the future is in safe hands with Dave Watson’s under-18 group.
Spurred on by a fine Quinn hat-trick, they made short work of a Black Cats side which has now succumbed to Newcastle on three occasions this season.
However, it was a night when the club’s young guns did something which their senior counterparts couldn’t manage and beat their near- neighbours – while also managing to put together a useful Cup run.
They are into the last 16 of this prestigious competition and if they can reprise the kind of slick passing display which typified their second- half effort they have a chance of progressing even further.
Sunderland’s Under-18s have some very promising prospects but they were outclassed by Newcastle on a night when they barely registered a serious effort on goal.
Instead it was the home side, cheered on by a boisterous crowd, who made most of the running and had the game’s outstanding player in number nine Quinn.
There were also promising contributions from Roland Aarons and Olivier Kemen, while Adam Armstrong scored one and could have added a fifth in the closing stages. They dominated from the off but were made to wait until the 42nd minute for their breakthrough – a smart finish from inside the box past Black Cats’ goalkeeper Maksymilian Stryjek.
It handed Newcastle a lead their play thoroughly warranted, with Sunderland’s only real effort on goal a Lynden Gooch shot which did not trouble Freddie Woodman.
United extended their lead in the second half after Stryjek dropped a cross, Quinn responding first to sweep home from close range.
The Ashington-born striker had his hat-trick soon after when he pounced on a Jamie Sterry cross to give the scoreline an uneven look.
Sunderland were architects of their own downfall and conceded a fourth after a woefully-underhit backpass allowed Armstrong to stroll through the defence and round Stryjek before stroking into an empty net.