Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Craig Gets Tough to Seal Cup Win

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Craig Gets Tough to Seal Cup Win

Article excerpt

Byline: By Lee Ryder

Tommy Craig has revealed that "strong words" were needed at half-time during Newcastle United Reserves' triumph against UniBond League champions Blyth Spartans last night.

United fielded Peter Ramage in their final game of the season with Toon caretaker boss Glenn Roeder also in attendance as part of the 850-strong crowd at Newcastle Blue Star's Wheatsheaf Ground.

The Toon's second-string coach Craig, though, guided his young side to a 2-1 win over the men from Croft Park, who had opened the scoring with an absolute howitzer in the first half from Jamie McClen.

That was before a double from Irish starlet Alan O'Brien, whose goals bagged the Northumberland Senior Cup for United.

United struggled to get to grips with Blyth early on and could easily have been two down before O'Brien levelled things up ahead the interval. Then the flying winger struck the winner with a left-foot laser beam late in the game.

Craig said today: "They were slightly the better team but, after a few strong words at half-time, we managed to pin them in their own half for the majority of the second period.

"I thought we shaded the game in terms of chances, but Blyth looked the more likely to score in the first half, and they did.

"But we got one back just before half-time, which was a boost to us because we had not played very well.

"And, thankfully, Alan O'Brien come up with a real cracker of a goal to win it 2-1, but it was a hard-earned win."

McClen's goal came on 18 minutes when the midfielder lashed a shot past Fraser Forster from 25 yards to send Blyth's travelling army wild.

Craig, though, knows all about the former Carlisle and Toon player's attributes after working with him in United's second string.

He added: "He's a good player, he has great feet and he conjured up the angle for himself to shoot with his left foot, and he managed to open the scores with a great strike. …

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