ADAM Armstrong told of his pride in defeat after captaining Newcastle United in front of a huge FA Youth Cup crowd at St James’s Park.
A gate of 11,664 saw Chelsea knock Newcastle’s Under-18s out at the quarter-final stage for the second year running.
The visitors ran out 3-0 winners thanks to extra-time goals from Isaiah Brown, Dominic Solanke, Tammy Abraham, with the two sides having played out a goalless 90 minutes.
The crowd was more than four times the figure that watched last season’s fixture.
And they saw a gutsy and tenacious performance against a talented and expensively-assembled Chelsea side.
Asked about the crowd, 18-year-old Armstrong said: “It’s amazing – it shows what Newcastle’s all about. I’ll never forget that.
“To wear the armband at any age group is massive, and I try my best to help the younger lads through it.
“I was very proud to see the lads work so hard for 120 minutes – it was a brilliant experience.
“We always knew how good Chelsea are – we worked hard to get our tactics right.
“We did well to take it to extra-time, but their quality took over at the end.”
Coach Kevin Richardson said: “I think all of the players deserve a hell of a lot of credit for their effort individually and collectively.
“I thought it was a fantastic effort. We had a chance right at the end of 90 minutes and could have won it 1-0.
“You know what this game is like though.
“It went to 3-0 and it was a shame, because I didn’t think it was a 3-0 game.”
Armstrong and his team-mates were put on the back foot early in the game.
Freddie Woodman, the club’s penalty hero against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the last round, faced an early spot kick from Brown after Jay Dasilva was brought down in the box.
But the goalkeeper made a low stop to deny Brown.
Chelsea had the upper hand for much of the half, though Armstrong was a danger when he got the ball.
Solanke – who scored in last season’s meeting between the two sides – put a header wide in the 20th minute, and a last-ditch challenge from Dan Drennan denied the striker another opportunity.
Woodman did well to stop a deflected strike from Abraham in the 27th minute.
At the other end of the pitch, Armstrong cut an isolated figure, and Chelsea kept on coming at United, who were indebted to timely tackles from Kyle Cameron and Adam Laidler.
And Woodman made a fine save to turn away a fierce free-kick from Charly Musonda before the break.
The 17-year-old had to dive low to stop a shot from the quick-footed Musonda early in the second half, and Abraham fluffed a 54th-minute shot after Dasilva delivered a cross from the left.
Dan Ward was stretchered off after coming off worse in a 50-50 challenge with Jake Clarke-Salter, for which the Chelsea man was booked.
A lovely through ball from Sean Longstaff led to a chance for Jamie Cobain in the 59th minute, but the defender’s shot was tipped over by Bradley Collins.
Collins made a double save to deny Armstrong and Cobain in the 66th minute.
Neither team to force a breakthrough, and the game went into extra time, and Chelsea finally got themselves ahead through Brown, who raced on to a through ball, outpaced the home defence and rounded Woodman.
And Solanke and Abraham made netted late in the second period to give the score a lop-sided look.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Woodman, Cobain (Holmes 112), Laidler, Drennan (Johnson, 98), Newberry, Cameron, Ward (Hunter, 58), Williamson, Armstrong, Longstaff, Barlaser. Subs not used: Broccoli, Harker.
CHELSEA: Collins, Aina, Tomori, Clarke-Salter (Suljic, 63), Dasilva, Colkett, Abraham, Musonda (Palmer, 68), Solanke, Scott (Sammut, 96) Brown. Subs not used: Thompson, Ali.
Goals: Brown 94, Solanke 110, Abraham 119.
Bookings: Clarke-Salter 56, Armstrong 67, Abraham 90, Solanke 96, Dasilva 96, Hunter 96
Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)