After an opening 45 minutes that saw neither team look particularly enthusiastic in front of goal, a moment of brilliance from Luca Fletcher on the brink of half-time saw City take the lead.
But the City youngsters showed grit and determination to secure all three points as a perfectly weighted through ball from the restart put Alfa-Ruprecht through on goal and able to restore City’s lead seconds later.
City’s last visit to Newcastle United’s Academy saw us draw 2-2 and Wilkinson’s side expected another close encounter on Saturday morning.
The first half consisted of both sides trying to dominate possession and slowly build momentum before trying to find the opening goal.
And it looked like the half-time whistle would ring around the Academy ground with the score level.
But, Fletcher – in the absence of City’s regular number nine Matty Warhurst – showcased his eye for goal in the 44th minute.
Fletcher received the ball from Divine Mukasa and his quick thinking saw him turn and unleash a shot from the edge of the box, catching the goalkeeper Aidan Harris off guard as the ball flew into the bottom left corner to put City ahead.
Wilkinson’s side then looked to put the game to bed, peppering Newcastle’s third with passes down both flanks as City edged towards the host’s goal.
But it was Newcastle who would have the best chance after 20 minutes of the second half. Spike Brits, on his return to the starting 11, was called into action and pulled off a fantastic low save to deny the hosts from levelling the score.
As time dwindled down, the Magpies grew confident they could gain something from the match. And it seemed they would through an 85th minute equaliser from Palmer who buried a cross from the right.
However, City’s resilience remained prominent. And it took Wilkinson’s side seconds to regain the lead. A marvellous lobbed long ball by Kaden Braithwaite into the path of Alfa-Ruprecht quickly put an end to Newcastle’s celebrations as they focused on defending.
A mesmerising cut inside from the winger gave him space to fire a strike towards the far post, out of reach for Harris, and rippled the Newcastle net as the City players celebrated together in the corner to extend our winning form to three games in all competitions.
HOW WE LINED UP
NEWCASTLE XI | Harris, R. Powell ©, Charlton, H. Powell (Milmore 84’), Watts, Munda, Brayson (Ferreira 67’), Shahar (O’Donovan 78’), Neave, Palmer, Sanusi
UNUSED SUBS | Harrison, Bloomer
CITY XI | Brits, Henderson-Hall, Noble, Mfuni (Braithwaite 67’), Naylor, Gray, Alfa-Ruprecht, Muir © (Fapetu 82’), Fletcher, Mukasa (Batty 82’), Dunbar-McDonald (Alcala 86’)
UNUSED SUBS | Hudson
WHAT IT MEANS
City stay second in the league standings with Liverpool one point behind following their league win over Blackburn Rovers.
Wilkinson’s side have a quick turnaround before our next fixture.
City Under-18s return with FA Youth Cup action as we welcome Reading to the Joie Stadium on Wednesday 14 February, with the fifth round clash scheduled for 19:00 (UK) kick-off.