Main Page

Quick Links

The Rest
   Club info
   Last Season
   Unlikely Lads
   A-Z Index

Season 2017-18
Luton Town (h) FA Cup Third Round
since 2012

Saturday 6th January 2018, 3.00pm

 St. James' Park

Conditions: proficient, mostly.

Admission: 10 adults, 5 concessions
(20 and 10 on match day)


Luton Town

3 - 1




30 mins Jacob Murphy was impeded outside the box by Danny Hylton, who was booked. Dwight Gayle's curling right-footed free kick rebounded off Stech for Ayoze Perez to bundle in from close range, despite the presence of a quartet of visiting outfield players and the grounded 'keeper. 1-0

36 mins In possession on the edge of the Town box, Perez played a short pass out to the right for Matt Ritchie to cross via the boot of the defender for the Spaniard to instinctively flick on with his head. Gayle's header was on target but reached by Stech, only for the lurking Ayoze Perez to sidefoot into the Leazes End net from barely two yards out. 2-0

39 mins Perez brought the ball down with a wonderful touch, running at the Luton defence before finding Gayle, whose return ball infield set up Jonjo Shelvey to slam a low effort into the net from near the penalty spot. 3-0

Half time: Magpies 3 Hatters 0

49 mins A bizarre goal gave the League Two side some hope: Freddie Woodman's kick upfield clearing the halfway line before being blasted back towards the Newcastle goal by Glen Rea. 

Somehow the ball missed a couple of home players before falling nicely for Danny Hylton, who was unmarked towards the Luton right and able to evade Freddie Woodman's flailing legs as he raced beyond his box. The striker kept his cool to flick the ball past covering defender Ciaran Clark just inside the United area
for his seventeenth league and cup goal of the season
. 3-1

Full time: Magpies 3 Hatters 1

We Said


Rafa Benitez:

"When you play against teams who are doing well in another division they are doing really well, they have a lot of confidence - sometimes you go with over-confidence and that gives you a problem. 

"In the end, it was important to send a message that we wanted to do well, I said this game was important for us, to go through, to play a strong team. 

"I don't want to lie to anyone. I said this game was important for us, to go through, to play a strong team and hopefully the next one, I can say the same.

"But you have to approach every game depending on your team, your injuries, your problems and, at the moment, we could manage with a very strong side on the pitch.
We did it and the fans enjoyed a good game, an emotional game. It was good.

"We will see for the next one, but my feeling, my idea, is to do the same if we can do it.

"If I say I am pleased with everything, it's not true. I was really pleased with the first half, the goals that we scored, the way that we were managing the game.

"Then maybe because of that and because we were three goals up, we were a little bit more relaxed in the second half and we gave them the belief that they could score. 

hey could put us under pressure and then it was more difficult in the second half, but in the end, what we wanted is to go through.

On Ayoze Perez:

"I think he will be delighted, because scoring in the league and scoring here in a good game in the first half we did some good things he will be really pleased. 

"Its always positive for strikers to score and gain some confidence. Perez is important for the team and its important for a striker to score goals. The team created chances, and Ayoze will be happier than others.


They Said

Hatters boss Nathan Jones packed his bags and then recalled:

"I am very proud of the second half performance, but the overall feeling I've got is disappointment really. For 25 minutes we didn't have a problem, it was a really even game. 

"They're a good side and they move the ball well, they defended the ball well. We had a few moments as well, a little bit more quality and we might have punished them.

"But when you make three errors and you go three down against a Premier League side and you're a League Two side, it's some mountain to climb. That's what it was. The first goal came out of nothing, no problem, big error. And then we're in possession and we give the ball away twice, they're in and they score.

"That's the margins when you come up against these big sides. If you give balls away in dangerous areas we worked on that all week, because we know that's their strength, their counter-attacking strength. Then they punished us and fair play to them.

"They punished us first half, but then it's important to get the next goal and not to concede and let the flood gates open.

"We were excellent second half, but when we have given ourselves such a mountain to climb first half with three poor goals, really poor goals from our point of view, then that's the difficult thing and that's the tinge of disappointment we have.

"But second half, I thought we gave as good as we got. We were an attacking force second half, we scored one, scored two, hit the bar and then maybe could have nicked a late one.

"We came here not wanting a holiday or a day at the fair. We wanted to give a good account of ourselves and we probably did that.



United won only the second of their last eleven FA Cup Third Round ties at the first attempt:

2017/18 Luton Town (h) won 3-1
2016/17 Birmingham City (a) drew 1-1 (won replay)
2015/16 Watford (a) lost 0-1
2014/15 Leicester City (a) lost 0-1
2013/14 Cardiff City (h) lost 1-2
2012/13 Brighton and Hove Albion (a) lost 0-2
2011/12 Blackburn Rovers (h) won 2-1
2010/11 Stevenage (a) lost 1-3
2009/10 Plymouth Argyle (a) drew 0-0 (won replay)
2008/09 Hull City (a) drew 0-0 (lost replay)
2007/08 Stoke City (a) drew 0-0 (won replay)

Newcastle began a new calendar year with back to back victories for the first time since 2012 (a 3-0 home PL win over Manchester followed by that 2-1 FA Cup victory over Blackburn Rovers).

And one has to go back to January 2000 to find the last FA Cup tie when Newcastle scored three goals in one half (Nicos Dabizas, Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Gallacher all on target in the second half of a 4-1 Fourth Round home success against Sheffield United).

Following previous loan spells at Crawley Town and Kilmarnock (the latter including a Scottish FA Cup appearance), Freddie Woodman made his senior bow for Newcastle - becoming the first Magpies goalkeeper to do so in an FA Cup tie since Eddie Edgar in 1976 against Derby County.

It's three goals in two games for Ayoze Perez, who has scored four this season in all competitions - and 29 in league and cup for the club. These were his first strikes in the FA Cup and he's now netted twice in games for Newcastle on four occasions without completing a hat-trick.

Jonjo Shelvey scored his sixth Magpies goal and first this season, the other five coming during Championship games in the 2016/17 campaign. This was his third career goal in the FA Cup, after one for Charlton in January 2009 (v Norwich) and one for Liverpool in January 2012 (Oldham).

Hatters in Toon - all-time:

2017/18 won 3-1 (FAC)
1993/94 drew 1-1 (FAC)
won 2-0 
1988/89 drew 0-0
1987/88 won 4-0
1986/87 drew 2-2
1985/86 drew 2-2
1984/85 won 1-0
1981/82 won 3-2
1980/81 won 2-1 (FAC)
1980/81 won 2-1
1979/80 drew 2-2
1978/79 won 1-0
1974/75 won 1-0
1972/73 lost 0-2 (FAC)
1962/63 won 3-1
1961/62 won 4-1
1959/60 won 3-2
1958/59 won 1-0
1957/58 won 3-2
1956/57 drew 2-2
1955/56 won 4-0
1947/48 won 4-1
1946/47 won 7-2
1938/39 won 2-0
1937/38 lost 1-3
1897/98 won 4-1



A three goal salvo in ten first half minutes on Saturday propelled Newcastle into Round Four of the FA Cup at the first time of asking - something they hadn't achieved since back in 2012.

And although the League Two leaders delighted their substantial following by quickly reducing the deficit after the interval, a cup shock or unwanted replay was never a realistic prospect for a strong Magpies side. 

Ayoze Perez bundled the ball home for the first and second goals after Dwight Gayle efforts were blocked, before Jonjo Shelvey finished off a flowing move by firing home to open up a 3-0 lead with six first half minutes remaining.

An injury to Jamaal Lascelles that saw him withdrawn at 1-0 threatened to overshadow what was an otherwise positive afternoon for Rafa Benitez, who had selected an unexpectedly experienced XI.

However it was confirmed that the substitution was precautionary and that the United captain should be available for the visit of Swansea City next week - a massive boost, given the awful sequence of results recorded when he missed five games recently.    

A desire to protect Karl Darlow due to the absence of Rob Elliot saw a first senior selection for Freddie Woodman, but the ten players in front of him had all featured in the Premier League in the last week - a radically different approach to previous Cup ties. 

The debutant goalkeeper had seen little of the ball during the opening stages, although twice momentarily struggling to deal with ill-advised back passes to him. Opposite number Marek Stech denied Jacob Murphy on 15 minutes meanwhile, before the United winger won the foul that led to the opening goal - Stech at fault for failing to claim and leaving Ayoze Perez with a tap in.

Dwight Gayle then saw his header blocked six minutes later and Ayoze was lurking to walk the ball into the net, before the killer goal saw Perez and Gayle set up Shelvey for a fine team goal that looked to have finished the tie off before half time.

Free-scoring Luton however threatened to make a game of it with Danny Hylton's 49th minute effort offering encouragement to visiting players and fans alike. That added impetus then saw Hylton burst through and blast his shot home, only for his exuberant celebrations to be curtailed when he realised that the lineman had flagged him offside (both the SJP PA man and the club twitter correspondent initially announcing that the goal had stood).   

Without really laying siege to the Town goal though, Newcastle always looked likely to add to their own tally and Perez was denied a hat-trick by Stech's stop immediately after that offside goal.

Matt Ritchie, Murphy and Gayle then all failed to hit the target before there was almost a fairytale return to Gallowgate for Durham-born Elliott Lee, only for his free kick to glance off the crossbar with Woodman rooted to the spot. 

Had that gone in then the tie could have had a different complexion, while Woodman was fortunate that Hylton evaded his attempted tackle outside his area before Luton's opener - had he connected then he could easily have seen red.

That second Luton goal never arrived though and further chances for a fourth home goal and a Perez treble went begging before the full time whistle.

Aside from the Lascelles scare, there were yellow cards for Paul Dummett and Shelvey and an eighth booking of the season for stand-in centre half Isaac Hayden.

Without understating the value of taking this competition seriously, the positive impact of a first home victory in seven attempts ahead of next Saturday's PL visit of Swansea City is justification for playing a strong side (similarly, we'd hoped for Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie goals here today).

Whether the fourth round sees a similarly robust selection depends on various factors: the level of opponent, venue, state of play with the squad in terms of fitness and transfers, plus our PL form and the proximity to significant games against Burnley and Crystal Palace. With the visit of Manchester United to come after that though, a replay wouldn't really be something to relish. 

For those who made their Newcastle supporting debut here today, the importance of seeing a home win cannot be underestimated - while the size and noise of the crowd and even the flags on display added gloss to what will have been a memorable day for many young fans. 

Our own ambitions were more mundane: seeking only to avoid a replay and a midweek trip to a place that hasn't improved in almost quarter of century since our last competitive visit. For once, those terrace songs about such and such being a "sh*t hole" would have been more than accurate.... 


Page last updated 08 January, 2018