Once again, Newcastle United have suffered an embarrassing giant-killing in the world’s greatest cup competition. Where Stevenage, Luton Town and Hull City have triumphed in years gone by, this time it was Gus Poyet’s Brighton and Hove Albion who ended the Magpies’ cup run at the second hurdle, prevailing through a Mike Williamson own goal 15 minutes from time.

Passionate Geordie fans will have to go at least one more year before they can rekindle their cup hopes, as a seemingly good chance to claim a place at Wembley this year passed them by.

With Alan Pardew’s side performing admirably in the league since the start of the new season, a cup run seemed like a genuine possibility. They’ve already beaten Manchester United at home, as well as a number of excellent performances propelling them up to 6th in the Premier League table. So the lack of cup success is baffling to many, although as the years go by, the Geordie nation will surely be less shocked when their club flatters to deceive.

Having said that, going out to a newly-promoted Championship side still hurts and the performance won’t please Pardew or the travelling Toon Army. The 690-mile round trip may be one factor affecting the display shown by the Magpies, but they should still have had enough to see off even the most spirited of challenges from the Seagulls.

Fabricio Coloccini was a big loss for Newcastle, with his deputy James Perch hardly putting in the kind of performance which merited his move from Nottingham Forest two years ago. The selection of Perch did little other than prove the need for Alan Pardew to dip into the transfer market with just 48 hours remaining to buy another defender. However, with Watford defender Adrian Mariappa the most likely new face coming into St James’ Park, surely the Perch mistake may have a genuine chance of repeating itself.

Leon Best led the line for the Magpies, in the absence of Senegal duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, and should have scored on a number of occasions. However, the former Coventry striker couldn’t reproduce the kind of magic that earned his side a 1-0 win over QPR just a fortnight ago. With basement battlers Blackburn waiting to welcome Newcastle to Ewood Park on Wednesday, Newcastle will be hoping to have the African twosome available to give them some much needed firepower.

As the minutes passed and Newcastle failed to find a breakthrough, the banana skin grew ever bigger, waiting for the pantomime villain to slip and fall. They duly did, when Will Buckley strode forward and hit a shot that Tim Krul looked likely to save, until Mike Williamson stuck out a leg, sending it looping high over the Dutch keeper and into the net.

When the ball dropped under Krul’s crossbar, it was further confirmation that it wasn’t to be Newcastle’s day and they will have to watch on as arguably lesser sides go marching on in the competition which could lead to European participation for the winners, something that Alan Pardew’s side have made no secret about wanting.

Little does it matter that Yohan Cabaye’s late shot was blatantly blocked by the arm of Ashley Barnes, as it remains that Newcastle United weren’t good enough in the cup today, as they haven’t been for many years, regardless of their league form.

We can dig out the old clichés about “focussing purely on a European place” when the end of the season approaches but if Alan Pardew’s side fail to finish high enough to ensure their Thursday nights are occupied by European trips, then the significance of this defeat will become even more scrutinised. But for now we have to take the criticism’s on the chin and move on, but we should be used to that by now right?

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  1. Mark birmingham

    Disgraceful, the manager should take full responsibility and sack himself.

    Reply

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