A thunderous 20 yard strike late in extra time from substitue Sammy Ameobi pushed Premier League club Newcastle United over the line against their tricky League Two opposition Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park tonight but for a long, long time… it looked like they were going to crash out of the League cup in the 2nd round like many of their peers this week.
Thankfully there was no repeat of the embarrassing visitors supporters reaction to Shola’s 19 year old brother’s winning strike against Darlington in a pre-season friendly last night month when they lived up to their threats “if Sammy scores, we’re on the pitch” for the enthusiastic and willing youngster who the Toon Army have quickly found a fondness for.
Scunthorpe had started the game brightly. Highly organised, energetic and with an urgency to close down the visitors and not let them play football. It really shook Newcastle to the core whose 50% full strength squad seemed shellshocked. It wasn’t long before Scunny’s Chris Dagnell deservedly put the League two side ahead on 14 minutes when he found himself criminally unmarked from a corner after two Newcastle defenders failed to clear the cross.
After a really poor first half from Newcastle where they could hardly get any play going, a clear dressing down from manager Alan Pardew had a noticeable effect on the players and the Geordies started much the brighter in the second period. More confident and willing to work hard to get the ball back after losing it, finally some good chances were created. The only problem being that all of them were squandered. For whatever reason Newcastle just didn’t have their shooting boots on.
Leon Best was the biggest guilty party but also Peter Lovenkrands, new signing Sylvain Marveaux and Yohan Cabaye couldn’t register with their efforts. Nobody on the Newcastle side seemed to be able to test the Scunthorpe keeper Josh Lillis and the one time they did get in the net, Leon Best was adjudged to be offside (telelvision replays would suggest he may just have been level). Pardew started making changes on the hour mark, bringing on Sammy Ameobi for the clueless Demba Ba and then later Dan Gosling (who missed the biggest guilt edged opportunity) who was replaced by impressive youngster Haris Vuckic, who was more lively and more threatening.
The visitors started playing far better and their eventual Newcastle’s breakthrough game the same way as did it last weekend. A Ryan Taylor deadball free kick, more central than his one against Sunderland, beat the Scunthorpe keeper and it looked like they would go on to win it comfortably. Truth was far different though… their Dutch international keeper had a magnificent display in goal, making several word class saves to keep his side in it, including an Edwin Van Der Sar or David Seaman esque one handed save when diving in the other direction before a Colcoccini deflection.
A contentious moment came just before the end when Steven Taylor (who had replaced the injured Mike Williamson) was clearly pushed in the back by a Scunthorpe player in the box but the referee, perhaps because he was enjoying the competetive game so much he wanted it to go extra time, decided to not give the foul.
Extra-time proved to be cagey and tension filled affair as the match looked destined for penalities until Sammy Ameobi’s strike secured the Magpies place in the next round draw.
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