Newcastle United suffer first cup final defeat to Blyth Spartans in 87 years in front of Eddie Howe
Blyth Spartans survived a second half scare to be crowned Northumberland Senior Cup Champions with a 3-2 win over Newcastle United Under-23s at St James’s Park.
First half goal from Sado Djalo, Robbie Dale and Nathan Buddle put Blyth in control at half-time before a second half fightback from Newcastle Under-23s saw Jay Turner-Cooke and Santiago Munoz find the net.
Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe was in attendance as Blyth took the lead after 21 minutes with Djalo heading in JJ O’Donnell’s pinpoint cross from close range.
And with the very next attack, a curling Dale corner somehow found its way into the back of the Newcastle net to make it 2-0 to the National League North outfit.
Shortly after, another Blyth corner saw Buddle arrive unmarked at the back post to make it 3-0 with just over half an hour played.
It took the young Magpies 41 minutes to register their first shot on goal in the match as Turner-Cooke’s looping half-volley was comfortably claimed by Alex Mitchell in the Spartans goal.
For the fifth time in eight games, Newcastle trailed by at least two goals at half-time. But on each of the previous four occasions, the side have been able to muster up some sort of reaction and get on the scoresheet in the second half.
And it took them just five minutes after the restart to pull a goal back as Turner-Cooke’s wonderfully weighted edge-of-the-box effort floated into the far right corner of the goal to make it 3-1.
Tom Allan almost made it 3-2 straight away only to see his close range effort well stopped by Mitchell.
Lewis McNall had a great chance to restore Spartans’ three goal lead but scooped high and wide from close range.
And Blyth were left to rue that missed chance as substitute Munoz calmly side-footed the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 3-2 with one of his first touches of the ball.
And there was still over 20 minutes left to play at St James’s Park.
A venomous 20-yard strike from Blyth’s Corey McKeown seemed destined for the top right corner but Max Thompson was alert to brilliantly tip the strike over the bar and keep United in the game late on.
O’Donnell then squandered a point-blank header in the closing stages as the scoreline remained 3-2 in Blyth’s favour.
The non-league side continued to push for a fourth goal but Thompson remained composed in between the sticks as Newcastle struggled to threaten late on.
And the full-time whistle confirmed a first Northumberland Senior Cup final win for Blyth over Newcastle in 87 years.
For the young Magpies, it was a missed opportunity to end a mixed campaign on a high.
NUFC U23s XI: Thompson; Carlyon (Oliver 65), Bondswell, Brookwell (Stanton 86), Wiggett, Savage, Allan, De Bolle, Stephenson, Turner-Cooke, Scott (Munoz 65)
NUFC U23s subs: Oliver, Brown, Miley, Stanton, Munoz
Blyth Spartans XI: Mitchell; Evans (Hickey 73), Buddle, O’Donnell, Dale, McKeown, McNall (Maguire 79), Deverdics, Lees, Djalo (Thomson 60), Almond
Blyth Spartants subs: Reid, Watson, Hickey, Maguire, Thomson