Newcastle United U23s 2-0 Burnley U23s: Dylan Stephenson shines as Gary Caldwell enjoys second win as interim boss
Dylan Stephenson continued his promising early-season form as he scored a goal in each half to help Newcastle United Under-23s to a 2-0 home win against their Burnley counterpart.
The Blyth-born forward made it five goals in three games with a well-taken brace at Whitley Park - although both goals came courtesy of some haphazard defending from the Clarets youngsters.
Temporary Under-23s manager Gary Caldwell made one change from the 4-0 win at Birmingham City earlier this week as Tom Allan replaced Ryan Barrett in the starting line-up.
There were barely three minutes on the clock when the Magpies youngsters opened the scoring as Stephenson showed his ruthless streak.
The 18-year-old frontman pounced on a weak backpass before showing remarkable composure to fire home from a narrow angle, despite the presence of Clarets defender Jake Rooney on the touchline.
With midfield trio Niall Brookwell, Reagan Thomson and Joe White dominating the action with energy and drive in the middle of the pitch, Caldwell’s side quickly creating chances to double their advantage.
Full-back Matthew Bondswell came close when he broke into the left-hand side of the area but dragged his shot well wide of the far post.
Allan and Rodrigo Vilca both tried their luck from distance either side of the half-hour mark but the Magpies had to settle for a narrow advantage at the interval.
The early stages of the second-half matched the positive start United’s youngsters had made an hour earlier as Allan’s drive and shot forced Clarets keeper Lewis Thomas into a smart save to his right.
The visitors had showed little of note but they created their first chance of 53 minutes when striker Michael Mellon flicked a header against the outside of Dan Langley’s far post.
With that let-off still fresh in the mind, the Magpies doubled their lead just after the hour-mark when Stephenson seized on another defensive lapse to roll the ball beyond Thomas to double his tally.
A poor display from the visitors was compounded when substitute Joe McGlynn was shown two quickfire yellow cards following an altercation with Magpies keeper Langley inside the final five minutes.
Two wins and a draw from their opening three Premier League 2 fixtures represents the Magpies second string’s best start to a season for seven years and all focus now switches towards Tuesday’s EFL Trophy visit to League One club Sheffield Wednesday.
Newcastle United U23s: Langley, McEntee, Bondswell (Wilson), Thomson, Wiggett, Savage, Allan, Brookwell (Cross), Stephenson, White (Longelo), Vilca Subs: Thompson, Barrett