Beardsley praises Newcastle United U23s after securing play-off place

Peter Beardsley has called Newcastle United U23s Premier League 2 play-off place a "bonus" in what is already a "positive season".

Beardsley's men secured a playoff spot after they came from 1-0 down to score three goals in eight first-half minutes against Fulham U23.

Tom Heardman fired a brace which was added to by a single strike from hot prospect Victor Fernandez as the Magpies cancelled out Joshua Smile's early opener for the Cottagers.

The Magpies currently sit in the table with only North East rivals Middlesbrough U23s left to play.

Match action - quick-fire three

Fulham took the lead on 11 minutes when Smile netted. Beardsley called the Cottagers "miles better" than Newcastle in the first half hour and showed they are a "good team".

Newcastle quickly turned it around just after the half hour mark as Heardman grabbed a goal either side of Fernandez strike with goals coming in the 33rd, 39th and 41st minute.

Beardsley said: "Tom Heardman’s goal was a good header, the second one we had a bit of luck and the third one they thought Dan Ward was offside, but it was a good pass and a good finish.

“We had that little bit of luck with Victor’s goal, but to be fair once he got in the position (one on one with the goalkeeper) I never thought he was going to miss. I always thought he was going to score," said Beardsley.

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Beardsley - "positive season"

“For this group it has been a really positive season," said Beardsley. “People judge it on how you do in terms of cups and results, but it has been really positive with where we are at."

The 56-year-old coaching has helped Yasin Ben El-Mhanni , Dan Barlaser and Stuart Findlay to all being handed first-team debuts back in January's FA Cup games. And that's something Beardsley would have taken some pride in.

Beardsley's youth face a further two additional games, where they will need to finish second or third in division two to ensure they have home advantage on the semi-finals

But whatever happens in the play-offs, Beardsley called it "a big bonus" as gives the youngsters "a chance to get in the top league."

Beardsley then compared his side's mentality to the first-team, who themselves are looking to gain promotion into the top league.

He said: “The top league - like the first team - is where you want to be. It will be good for them.”