By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson

Once again, Newcastle United have crashed out of the FA Cup in embarrassing circumstances to Brighton and Hove Albion. The Seagulls caused the upset last year and goals from Andrea Orlandi and Will Hoskins ensured they knocked out the pitiful Magpies again.

It was a worrying performance from Newcastle – who entered the game as underdogs such as their recent awful form – and the Magpies never looked like scoring or getting anything from the game.

Alan Pardew – despite being down to a minimum in terms of players available to him – rotated his starting line up as much as he could, with younger players coming in to partner the more experienced first teamers. Rob Elliot started in goal and had a busier opening ten minutes than he would have liked.

The back four in front of the former Charlton keeper were acting like strangers and Brighton looked threatening. After just seven minutes Gary Dicker connected with David Lopez’s deep cross and headed over the Newcastle keeper, only for Davide Santon to clear off the line comfortably.

It took 20 minutes for the visitors to grow into the game and start imposing themselves on proceedings, but there was no cutting edge when it came. Sammy Ameobi was going down too easily for referee Lee Probert’s liking and not winning free kicks and older brother Shola was isolated up front.

Gael Bigirimana looked the Geordies’ best player in the opening half and had their only meaningful effort, when he robbed possession high up the pitch and hit a long range shot towards goal, only for Kasper Ankergren to palm away easily.

However, Newcastle’s lacklustre performance would eventually see them fall behind. Predictably, it came down their right where James Tavernier was caught out of position and allowed Wayne Bridge to reach a hopeful pass. The former England man centred and Orlandi was able to control before executing a deft flick into the corner, giving Elliot no chance.

Newcastle’s response was feeble, with all free kicks being punted aimlessly into the area and not much coming from open play. Gabriel Obertan forced his way into the box late into the half, but no end product was forthcoming and the teams headed into half-time with an upset on the cards.

Pardew’s response in the half time break was to make two changes, with the poor Mehdi Abeid being replaced by Nile Ranger and Paul Dummett making his first team bow, replacing James Perch.

If anything, Newcastle were even worse in the second period. The lack of belief or heart was shameful and Brighton dominated as they had in the first half.

On another day, the visitors might have had a penalty, as Ameobi and Ranger regularly had their shirts almost pulled off their backs at set pieces, only for Probert to see the tangles and ignore them.

Still with no creativity in the team, the equaliser never looked likely for Newcastle and to make it worse, Ameobi was then sent off. David Lopez nicked it around him before tumbling over a non-existent challenge, then hit the turf and rolled four times in a shameful act while Probert reached for his second yellow card.

The extra space allowed Brighton sub Kazenga Lua Lua to roam free, beating Santon numerous times but failing to provide a final ball to kill the game off.

Finally Newcastle created a couple of opportunities for themselves. There was still no creativity, just a series of long-range free kicks hoofed into the home area by Rob Elliot. Williamson nodded one down before it broke for substitute Sylvain Marveuax who lashed goalwards, only for the excellent Liam Bridcutt to block. Nile Ranger also went close seconds later, but couldn’t keep his header down and trouble Ankergren.

Instead of keeping up the pressure and perhaps forcing the home side into a mistake, the Magpies surrendered their attacking intent and allowed Brighton to control things for the last ten minutes. Lua Lua was trying for a goal against his former club but was denied by the side netting, while Bridge went close with a deflected effort.

The second goal came with three minutes to go and not many would deny that the home side deserved it. Hoskins was played through from the right wing and thanks to Williamson’s poor concentration, the striker was able to beat the offside trap and slip through Elliot’s legs.

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  1. Mark

    If that does not deserve the sack what will. He was lucky with the squad last season. A squad that Chris built for him. He does the same every club he manages. Sack him now before we go down again. He was brought in to be FAT MANS bitch. YES SIR NO SIR. I will do what ever you say sell who ever you want Fat man. SACK HIM NOW. And then sell the club you FAT C_ _T

  2. John Harris

    Nothing short of scandalous. It was a gutless performance virtually throughout the whole team And Pardews post match comment are equally as disgraceful. The players and managers should donate their wages to the travelling fans who were magnificent Pardew never mind saying players weren't good enough …they were spineless and it should be his job to motivate them.

    We are in deep, deep trouble …Ashley and Pardew should share equal blame.


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