Newcastle United win on penalties - yes, your eyes don't deceive you!
Newport County 1-1 Newcastle United (4-5 after Penalties)
Newcastle United FINALLY win a penalty shootout, for the first time in a generation, with Sean Longstaff hitting the winning penalty leaving the excellent Cooper to smash over his sudden death spot kick.
A Jonjo Shelvey stunner with just moments left of normal time rescued Newcastle United from what would have been a humiliating regulation time loss to League 2 Newport. A goal that would grace any game, curling an effort beyond the left hand of the keeper and into the top corner of the goal, was the only real moment of quality from the visitors in front of goal for the preceding 88 minutes.
Newcastle had trailed at the break after a Gillespie mistake allowed a tame Abrahams shot to find its way into his goal after just 6 minutes. An awful mistake from the local lad and one that almost proved incredibly costly.
With a place in the quarter finals up for grabs a trop to Rodney Parade and Newport Co proved a difficult opponent for the Magpies and for long spells looked a lot more than just comfortable. And with this cup tie being an ideal opportunity for Bruce and his men to progress in Carabao Cup they made it, just, somehow!
An awful first half of football from Newcastle United once more underlined the lack of style and shape which has been so prevalent and apparent in recent Premier League performances.
Against a side 61 places below them in the football pyramid the away side looked bereft of ideas and, despite an obvious wealth of comparative individual skill, looked not at the races for long periods.
And the early goal would pile the pressure on the Magpies. Abrahams firing past Gillespie who had a horror moment in the Newcastle goal having just seen a Twine effort come crashing back off the bar.
Newport 1-0 up as early last the 6th minute.
Bruce would put a strong side out again in this competition with Fraser, Carrol and Lewis all starting. See FactFile at the foot of this page for starts, subs and key in game stats.
It would be Newcastle that would make a horror of a start. Wonderful technique from Twine with a lovely long range drive would fly past Gillespie and thunder off the bar. But with the bar still shaking the ball would drop to an in form Abrahams who half hit effort would bounce over the keepers arms and into the net. An awful start and and awful moment for the Newcastle goalkeeper who made a complete hash of it.
If there was any doubt, this was never going to be a repeat of the 7-0 of last week. Not with the pressing style of Newport. 1-0 down in under 6 minutes.
Newcastle would almost respond in the luckiest of fashion, a cross from Murphy taking a deflection and having to be tipped over the bar by County keeper Townsend.
The closest United would come to getting back on terms, other than through that piece of luck, would come from the same player. Taking his form straight from last week, Murphy would twice sting the palms of the Co ‘keeper in quick succession with a quarter fo the game gone.
Murphy would be again at the heart of anything good for Bruce's men with a drive into the box on 33 minutes before being well tackled. Moments later Fraser would almost get on the end of a teasing cross that would have meant a tap in for the Scotsman.
In the 40th minute a good cross from Manquillo would find Fraser unmarked but at an impossible angle to head at goal at the back post. Instead Fraser would pop a cushioned header onto the left foot of Shelvey with time and space to strike but his effort was tame.
Moments later Newport should have been 2-0 up. Some great link up play from the home side allowed Bennett to strike and goal with his effort almost shaving the angle of post and crossbar with the Newcastle keeper beaten again.
In first half injury time Newport had another wonderful chance to go further ahead. This time Amond driving over from another great chance.
A better start to the second half from Newcastle would see an early cross from Fraser and then Murphy's shot blocked inside the 6 yard box.
United should have been level in the 53rd minute after Fraser went clean through only to hit Townsend who had rushed out from his goalmouth. The rebound falling to Almiron but again the Newport keeper made himself big enough to stop the strike from the edge of his 18 yard box.
The introduction of Wilson and Joelinton (in place of Carroll and Almiron) showed just how much Newcastle needed an injection of quality. Carroll as always doing his bit physically but offering little in the way of a cutting edge, Almiron almost non existent throughout.
With the clock ticking down there was another masterstroke from Bruce (yes, that's supposed to be ironic). Schar getting the nod to replace Krafth at centre half. Yep. 1-0 down. Centre Half. Unbelievable.
Newcastle United looked totally out of ideas. Passes not crisp enough and runs not being made. Newport first to everything.
When there was the odd glimpse of an opportunity a lack of quality too in key areas would let the black and whites down.
What was needed was a stoke of luck or a moment of brilliance.
And with 10 minutes United almost go what they needed, and but for a last ditch tackily from Cooper you'd have felt sure of an equaliser. Fraser being set racing through on the left for Newcastle, but just as he was about to pull the trigger the Newport defenders perfectly timed tackle would knock the ball behind for a corner.
The moment of magic that United needed would come however. Shelvey, having one of his off days (to say the least) chopping from one foot to the other in the box before unleashing a stunner into the top right hand corner. Stunner!
1-1 with just 3 minutes left on the clock.
Newcastle would push for a winner in the dying moments. A hit from Joelinton cleared off the line with almost the last kick of normal time would mean that the game would go to spot kicks.
Wilson - SCORES (0-1)
Demetriou - SCORES (1-1)
Joelinton - SAVED (1-1)
Abrahams - SCORES (2-1)
Schar - SCORES (2-2)
Sheehan - SCORES (3-2)
Shelvey - SCORES (3-3)
Taylor - SAVED (3-3)
MURPHY - SCORES (3-4)
Doylen - SCORES (4-4)
Longstaff - SCORES (4-5)
Cooper - MISSED (4-5)