The chance to achieve new heights under the ownership of Mike Ashley, a place in the 5th round of the FA Cup, was the prize at stake for Newcastle United at St James Park this afternoon.
Disappointing then that Newcastle couldn’t find a way to wrap this one up at the first attempt. Joelinton did find the net twice in a 0-0 draw with both goals correctly ruled out for offside. The one chance he did have late on to get one that would count was horribly blazed over from just 12 yards out when well placed.
Bruce once again put out as strong a side as he could, with his comments before the game reinforcing his refreshing approach to the FA Cup saying ‘We are not going to win the Premier League…but we’ve got a chance in the FA Cup, so let’s go and embrace it, let’s bring it on and have a go!’
STARTING XI: Darlow, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, S Longstaff (Hayden, 87), Bentaleb (Atsu, 80), Almiron, Saint-Maximin (M Longstaff, 70), Joelinton
An early chance for Oxford, with Josh Ruffels firing wide, was enough to wake up Newcastle United who dominated the early stages, and but for taking a little more care in the last third should have created a least a couple of clear cut chances in the opening exchanges.
Wth 20 minutes on the clock United had their first good chance, with neat work from Yedlin seeing Longstaff being fouled on the edge of the box, but the ref waved play on before Joelinton saw his shot deflected wide.
The resultant corner saw claims for a penalty, for a foul on Jeolinton. But both the referee and VAR saying no penalty.
One good header behind from Dickie to deny a well placed Jeolinton aside, and there was nothing much else for Newcastle fans to shout about in a pretty dire first half.
0-0 then at half time.
Bruce must have had a word at half time with an upping in pace from the home side. A shot blocked from Ritchie and a couple of half chances for United centre halves from consecutive set pieces just starting to show signs of more intent from those in black and white.
A good save by the legs of Eastwood from Saint-Maximin was followed by the keeper having to pick the ball out of his goal moments later, after Joelinton hit the target. Unfortunately that effort had already been ruled out for offside.
On 70 minutes the games best chance, and it went to Oxford. Brown sent clean through, but one-on-one with Darlow the striker only managed to fire straight at Darlow. A little more composure and a shot either side of the Newcastle keeper and the League One side would have been ahead. A huge let off for Newcastle.
Joelinton once more had the ball in the net on 72 minutes, again ruled off side. At least the home side were starting to create chances.
Next Almiron would put one over the bar with an acrobatic scissor kick after some good buildup play from the Magpies.
With just a couple of minutes left a huge chance for Jeolinton to get one that would count. But whereas the forward managed to hit the target twice when offside, his effort this time, from 12 yards out, was blazed over the bar. Another chance gone.
Despite a final push there was no breakthrough for Newcastle.
So for the second tie in a row, United couldn’t find their way past a League One side at the first time of asking. A replay then at the Kassam Stadium it is, with the Magpies at least in the draw for the next round on Monday.