Peter Beardsley says the decision to enter the Checkatrade Trophy was a “no-brainer”.
Newcastle United chose not to enter the competition last season.
But the club entered it this term, and Peter Beardsley’s Under-21 side opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over Crewe Alexandra tonight.
South Shields-born Liam Smith and Luke Charman were on target for Newcastle, who were backed by 135 fans at Gresty Road.
“I thought it was really good,” said coach Beardsley. “We played some really good stuff.
“It’s always quite easy in the sense that we don’t always have to win. Crewe are expected to win.
“There’s less pressure on us. I thought they played really well, but in the last 10-15 minutes we probably gave the ball away unnecessarily, though you could probably say that in most games.
“When you’re on top, you would like the third goal, but, fair play, they held out and got a deserved win.”
Crewe named an experienced starting XI for the game.
“They had seven of their first team who had played on Saturday playing,” added Beardsley. “That’s credit to them and the competition.
“We’re trying to get them experience.”
Asked if it was an easy decision to enter the competition, Beardsley said: “This year, yes. Last year, the focus was totally on promotion for the first team.
“This year, it was a no-brainer. We like to get players out on loan, but that’s not always possible.
“When you look at Smithy, who was here last year. Unfortunately, he got a bad injury and then was out for a long time and didn’t come back.
“He scored the first goal, which would have been very pleasing for him.”