Newcastle United under-23s saw their bid to enter the end-of-season play-off lottery ended by two players only just old enough to buy a lottery ticket.
Sixteen-year-old Southampton prospect Tyler Dibling produced a stunning first-half display as he plundered a hat-trick to lay the foundation for his side’s resounding win at St James Park.
The youngster only made his Saints second string debut as a 15-year-old in January but he looked a class above anything as he ripped about the Magpies youngsters.
Dibling’s first strike came on seven minutes as he found space on the edge of the area and crashed a low drive beyond Mark Gillespie and into the Gallowgate End net.
The England Under-16s cap doubled his tally just after the half-hour with a similar finish and completed his hat-trick three minutes before half-time with his best finish of the night.
After collecting the ball just inside the Magpies half, the youngster showed pace and power to drive through three challenges before whipping a fine effort beyond Gillespie.
The Saints took their momentum into the second-half and extended their lead with another goal from a 16-year-old starlet.
Jimmy Jay Morgan raced into the right-hand side of the Magpies area after beating Josh Scott and dinked the ball over the advancing Gillespie.
The introduction of Dylan Stephenson sparked some life into Elliot Dickman’s side and the Blyth-born forward reduced the arrears with 11 minutes remaining.
Isaac Westendorf sparked further hopes of an unlikely comeback when he headed home three minutes later after good work from Jay Turner-Cooke.
The young Magpies enjoyed the majority of possession in the final minutes of the game but were unable to force a third goal despite opportunities falling the way of Westendorf and Lucas De Bolle.
Dickman’s side will now focus on Monday’s final league fixture at Aston Villa before they head into a Northumberland Senior Cup Final meeting with National League North side Blyth Spartans on Thursday week.
Newcastle United: Gillespie, Oliver, Scott, Stanton, Brookwell, Savage, Allan (Carlyon), De Bolle, Westendorf, Turner-Cooke, Wilson (Stephenson) Subs: Wiggett, Thompson, Munoz
Southampton: Lewis, Payne, Small, Tizzard, Lancashire, Bragg, Morgan (Pearce), Turner, Mitchell, Dibling (Otseh-Taiwo), Olaigbe (Finnigan) Subs: Lawrence, Hall