Stoke City (h) FA Cup Third Round Replay
mins A first goal in nine for Michael Owen, who poached one with
a close-range effort at the Leazes End, after Duff's left wing centre was
knocked back into the six yard box by Milner. 1-0
Half time: Newcastle 2 Stoke City 0
68 mins Some effective route one work, as James Milner profited from Viduka's flick on to rattle in a fine low shot that brought an applauding Keegan to his feet. 3-0
76 mins Milner and N'Zogbia raced over halfway on the counter-attack. The Frenchman released a perfect pass for Damien Duff to run onto and drive home a low shot. Nice to see him back in the groove after his injury and appearing as the hapless toy boy in BT Total Broadband ads..... 4-0
89 mins The
Stoke Sentinel memorably reported that:
"Stoke fans were encamped so far up in
the Gods – reportedly a quarter of a mile from the centre spot – that
many were probably receiving notification of the goal via an official club
SMS text message before registering it with their own eyes.
Full time: Newcastle 4 Stoke City 1
Caretaker boss Nigel Pearson said:
“What’s important for me is that the players have put in a very good performance. These sort of eras are difficult for players and staff alike, and a new era started today.
“All that’s important is that we’re in the next round. Whatever the factors are outside of that, I’m not really bothered. I don’t think you can question the players’ commitment.
“After Saturday, I suppose, more than anything there was a question mark over the players, so for them to go out and turn in a performance like that was good. I’m pleased for them.
“It would have been nice to keep a clean sheet, but the most important thing for us was to get through the tie, and we’ve done that with a bit of style, and I’m particularly pleased for the players. Whatever happens now, we can move on.
“I thought the challenge on Emre was awful, let’s be honest. It was a ridiculous challenge, and you only have to look at Emre’s shin to see how bad a challenge it was. I’ve seen it a few times on the slow-mo as well, and it’s not pretty.
“One thing led to another. The first challenge should have been dealt with, and after that it’s another player that we lose at a time when we’ve got a number of players unavailable.
“That makes it even more difficult for
us, but we’ll have to deal with it.”
"We were in the dressing room when Nigel Pearson was giving his team talk and you could hear the fans singing 'There's only one Kevin Keegan' outside.
"The whole place was rocking and we put on a great show for the new gaffer.
"I think I can speak on behalf of
the players and say that everyone is delighted. It has given the club a lift
and the fans showed that - they were absolutely buzzing."
"I am just as excited this time as I was when I came to play here at 31 and when I came as a manager at 43 or 44. I think this is right, I have certainly inherited a strong, talented group of players - which is something I didn't have when I came last time.
"When I came last time we were
wondering whether we could fill the stadium. That is not a problem. They
will be trying to get a stadium big enough if we can put some football on
and get some success here.
Tony Pulis commented:
"We've just got to take it on the
chin. For me, though, the biggest game of the week is against Preston on
"It hurt - the fact they were down to 10 men and we still couldn't live with them.
"We are battered and bruised, but we have to pick ourselves up for Saturday."
The Stoke fans may have aired their own favourite Tom Jones ditty "Delilah"
tonight, but a few choruses of "The Green Grass of Home" would
have been a more fitting soundtrack for a wholly unexpected comeback by a
duly arrived with Owen's opener, even though KK hadn't taken his place in
the Directors Box with messrs Mort & Ashley. He was in the building
A City consolationcouldn't dampen the euphoric atmosphere as Keegan & Co danced their way back into the bowels of the Milburn stand to start planning a brand new era.
For the fans, smiles on faces were the order of the day as "Keegan Wonderland" and a few other old favourites were dusted down and given an airing. Funny, familiar, forgotten feelings.
Despite our squad limitations, everyone on the field contributed to a positive and enjoyable performance that at least partially banished thoughts of Saturday's horror show.
And although it's important to remember that this was against the most mediocre of opposition, the difference in attitude and enthusiasm we showed was markedly different from the first tie.
Carr, Duff and N'Zogbia looked like different players, Owen's body language seemed more positive and we played without the fear that never seems to have been far away. Percentages my arse.
Regardless of the ongoing press-led debate on whys and wherefores of Keegan's arrival (and his departure a decade ago), the players and public responded instantly, positively and honestly.
Quite simply, for lifting the gloom around the place (not to mention selling a few thousand extra seats for tonight and Saturday) the appointment has already been worthwhile.
Football may have moved on since Keegan last managed - let alone since he last took charge of a Newcastle side - but the outpouring of emotion that accompanied this appointment was an expression of relief that the Graham, Glenn and Sam misadventures had moved us in a direction that was anything but crowd-pleasing.
For too long, people have endured rather than enjoyed their football here, even if they were still attending and supporting their team. We may still never get to where we want to be, but at least now the journey promises to be more enjoyable and adventurous than it looked ten days ago.