The Toon Tribune: Why u21 derby defeat is no shame for Newcastle’s youngsters

Newcastle United’s under 21 side faced off against local rivals Sunderland’s first team in the Checkatrade Trophy quarter final on Tuesday night.

Although the Magpies were on the wrong end of a 4-0 defeat and bowed out of the competition, there is no disgrace in such, considering the stature of the fixture which was figuratively men against boys.

Newcastle were backed by 2,800 travelling supporters for the fixture, while they would have taken more had their request for additional seats been granted; The Magpies requested 10,000 tickets, however this was declined for safety concerns with a derby fixture at hand.

Going into the match, United were in a win-win scenario: victory over Sunderland’s first team would have increased the bragging rights even more, while bragging rights were a given anyway with the fixture implying that Sunderland were not up to the standards of Newcastle’s first team and instead were at the levels of United’s academy.

The travelling Toon Army were in fine voice throughout, taunting their rivals throughout the 90 minutes. Chants including ‘Mind the gap’ and ‘You’re playing our kids’ were sung to reassure the Black Cats of the hierarchy of football in the North-East.

Meanwhile the highlight of the night was the chants of ‘We saw you cry on Netflix’, referring to the documentary on Sunderland’s Championship season in 2017/18 whereby they were subsequently relegated to League One.

For the under 21 side, playing in such a fixture, in front of a raucous away end was some experience, while it will also be a learning curve by coming up against a rough League One side.