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Advent Calendar 
2018 Day 9 - various

Today we turn things around and rather than our most familiar foes, we instead focus on those teams we've seldom played competitively.

We'll run through the current and former Football League clubs later on in this Advent calendar, but today we're concerned with those warranting just a single entry in the NUFC v all opposition list.

(NB: for the purposes of this advent we're ignoring wartime football and also paying no heed to the reformation of clubs in different guises).

Hartlepool United: Although the Poolies were a Football League side from 1921 until 2017, their sole competitive meeting with Newcastle was in an FA Cup First Round tie at Gallowgate way back in January 1925, when they were known as Hartlepools United. 

It ended 4-1 to the reigning FA Cup holders, the Third Division North outfit benefiting from a share of the gate receipts to the tune of 850 and giving a good account of themselves on the field and trailed by only a single goal at the interval.

Aberdare Athletic: Six seasons in the Third Division South from 1921 for the side from the Rhondda Valley area of south Wales included a run to the Third Round of the FA Cup in 1926, home victories over Bristol Rovers and Luton Town earning a trip to Gallowgate in early January.

Ahead after just five minutes when the visiting 'keeper met a 40 yard free kick but carried the ball over his own goal line, Aberdare levelled shortly after half time but Newcastle ran out 4-1 winners as Aberdare tired. The Athletic News reported that just 20 visiting fans made the trek north.

Halifax Town: Football League members from 1921 until 1993 and again from 1998 until 2002, the Shaymen's sole pairing with United came in the Second Round of the League Cup in September 1971 season - taking time off from a gruelling Third Division campaign to lose 2-1 at SJP.

0-2 down in the early stages, an 85th minute goal gave Town some hope but they never seriously threatened to level and United registered a first League Cup victory in four outings.

PS: Although facing Newcastle for the first time, Halifax weren't making their competitive bow at Gallowgate - having lost an FA Cup Second Round Second Replay to Hartlepools United when SJP was used as a neutral ground back in December 1935. 

January 1979: Magpies v Gulls

Torquay United: Joining the Football League in 1927 and remaining there until 2007, The Gulls were handed an away draw in the FA Cup Third Round in January 1979 - their reward for earlier successes at Walsall and non-league side AP Leamington.

The weather closed in though and the tie had to be postponed three times - Torquay making one friuitless trip to Tyneside and then returning a week later for an extended stay before the tie was played on a Tuesday evening.

Trailing after just five minutes, the Fourth Division side levelled before the break but then conceded twice more in front of just over 21,000 shivering supporters. The two sides would meet again eight months later, Newcastle visiting Plainmoor in a four game pre-season tour of the South West with Plymouth Argyle, Exeter City and Bath City. It was a wee bit warmer.

August 2010: I got a job with Stanley 

Accrington Stanley: "The club that wouldn't die" in their original guise failed to face Newcastle between 1921 and 1962, but were more fortunate following their reformation and return to the Football League during 2006.

The 2010/11 League Cup handed us a maiden visit to the Crown Ground, with the Sky Sports cameras present hoping to see Chris Hughton's side come a cropper. 

It didn't happen though, despite United taking to the field with an entirely different XI to the one that beat Villa 6-0 days earlier. 1-1 at half time, a 3-2 away victory was duly collected within 90 minutes and rewarded by a draw in the next round away to Chelsea. That we actually won. 

August 2013: Bring me sunshine

Morecambe: Fast forward three years and the Magpies were back in Lancashire to commence another League Cup campaign against lower league opposition, closely pursued again by those bloodsuckers from Sky TV.

The Shrimps hadn't had long to wait for a meeting with us, coming in the early weeks of their seventh season of Football League membership - time enough though to have claimed the scalps of Wolves (twice), Preston North End, Blavckpool Barnsley and Coventry City in this competition

Having visited their previous Christie Park home on several occasions when it was a base for the Blackburn Rovers reserve side, United didn't have the easiest evening at the smart new Globe Arena but saved their blushes when each of the Ameobis scored in the last ten minutes.

While we're here we'll cover teams we've faced just twice in competitive competition:

Middlesbrough Ironopolis: Originally established as a breakaway club to Middlesbrough FC, the "Nops" entered the Football League in 1893, a year after an attempted merger between the two clubs failed to materialise. 

While Boro remained their amateur status, Ironopolis secured a place in the Second Division and a first meeting with Newcastle ended in a 1-1 draw at The Paradise Ground (adjacent to the future site of Ayresome Park) on Christmas Day 1893.

That was followed by a 7-2 victory for United at Gallowgate just over a week later. Within weeks though, the Nops were revealed to be in serious financial trouble and although they finished fourth bottom withdrew from the league that summer. 

Northwich Victoria: And also in Division Two that same season were the Vics and United lost 3-5 at Drill Field in November 1893. That was one of just three wins for the hosts during the entire 28 game season and revenge was duly gained with a 3-0 home success the following January. 

However that probably wasn't a shock, given that Northwich had a 100% failure rate on the road that season and were beaten in all 14 games. They were inevitably relegated and finished bottom.

September 1976: a little green around the Gills

Gillingham: Known as New Brompton in their Southern League days, the Kent-based side were accepted into the Football League in 1920 but dropped out again in the late 1930s.

Returning in 1950 they've been there ever since and received a League Cup Second Round home tie against Newcastle in September 1976 - 11,000 see the Magpies triumph 2-1. United's second visit to Priestfield then came in the same competition some 38 years later, a slightly smaller turnout on hand to see the black and whites record an unconvincing 1-0 success courtesy of an OG.

1981: Grecian tragedy

Exeter City: Admitted into the league way back in 1920, it took until February 1981 for the side from St James Park to meet the one from St. James' Park in a competitive fixture.

That came in the FA Cup Fifth Round, when cardboard and tinfoil trophies were waved with gay abandon by Toon fans as the second tier black and whites went 1-0 up, following home victories in previous rounds over both Sheffield Wednesday and Luton Town. Cup fever had broken out.

Sadly though, a late leveller for the Third Division visitors left the visiting fans in a near 37,000 crowd left singing at full time (and promptly broadcast to the nation on BBC radio Sports Report).

And the boot was firmly on the other foot in Devon the following Wednesday, Sportsnight cameras recording a 4-0 howking for United. Cue the sight of Kenny Wharton lying prostrate in our penalty area as the referee waved play-on and six home players suddenly found themselves onside....

The Grecians had beaten Leatherhead, Millwall, Maidstone and Leicester City before accounting for Newcastle, going on to lose 2-0 at Spurs in the Quarter Finals. The following season saw them beaten 0-1 by Brentford in the First Round. The Magic of the Cup.

January 2006: finishing line in sight

Cheltenham Town: The 1999 Conference winners took their place in League Two the following season and began a sequence of FA Cup giant-killings, accounting for the likes of Oldham Athletic, Burnley and Hull City. 

Their reward for knocking out Carlisle United, Oxford United and Chester City was the plum draw of Newcastle at Whaddon Road. The Magpies were in poor shape under Graeme Souness and winless in five PL games, increasing speculation that a defeat in Gloucestershire would see him ousted.

In the event it didn't happen and a sell-out 7,000 Saturday lunchtime crowd and BBC TV audience saw United win 2-0. It was only a temporary stay of execution for the glowery Glaswegian though, with a 0-3 loss at Manchester the following Wednesday seeing him walk the plank. 

Fast forward a decade and the Robins landed a trip to Tyneside for a League Cup tie, losing 2-0 again to a brace from Ayoze Perez either side of the half time interval.

April 2017: Gone for a Burton

Burton Albion: The 2009 Conference winners made up for lost time after eventually realising their Football League dream and after two successive playoff exits, made it to League One in 2015.

Within a year they had been promoted to the Championship, while Newcastle were coming from the opposite direction from the Premier League. As a result, the Magpies faced the Brewers for the very first time at the Pirelli Stadium in December 2016, winning 2-1.

The return game at SJP the following April then saw Newcastle complete the double thanks to a second half strike from Matt Ritchie - although it was the goal he scored earlier in the game that hogged the headlines, after referee Keith Stroud inconceivably disallowed Ritchie's spot kick. 

And (unfortunately) not forgetting:

1972: the H word (first tie - we won't be showing a pic of the replay....)

H*r*f*rd United: A Southern League side who had accounted for Cheltenham Town (1 game), Kings Lynn (2 games), Northampton Town (3 games) in the FA Cup before they pulled out a Third Round trip to Tyneside in early 1972. 

A waterlogged pitch caused the original game to be called off and it eventually took place on a Monday night in late January, all four goals in a 2-2 draw coming within the opening 25 minutes. 

Further delays due to the conditions then saw the replay postponed on three occasions, leaving Newcastle holed up in a Worcester hotel for three nights until the referee passed the pitch fit for play. The rest is unfortunately history and Hereford then took West Ham to a replay in the Fourth Round before succumbing. 

Within months of the Edgar Street debacle, the Bulls had been elected into Division Four and won promotion at the first attempt. By 1997 they'd dropped out of the 92 however and although they returned for another six years in 2006, were wound up in 2015 - reforming in the lower leagues.

And Ricky George - scorer of the winning goal in the Nightmare on Edgar Street - was jailed for money laundering in 2018. What goes around, comes around... eventually.

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Page last updated 10 December, 2018