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Season 2013-14
Morecambe (a) League Cup Second Round

In association 


Wednesday 28th August 2013, 7.45pm
Live on Sky Sports 4

 Globe Arena

Conditions: mostly mild

Admission: 19 seats, 15 terrace



Newcastle United

0 - 2




Half time: Shrimpers 0 Magpies 0 

mins Sammy Ameobi began the move that ultimately led to his elder brother breaking the deadlock, bringing the ball out of defence at speed before pulling it back to Dan Gosling. 

He in turn played a short ball to fellow midfielder Gael Bigirimana in the centre circle and the ball then soon ended up on Newcastle's right flank at the feet of Hatem Ben Arfa. He threaded a pass through to Shola Ameobi on the edge of the Morecambe box and the United substitute turned defender Andy Parrish before shooting home via the aid of a deflection off an opponent

Hatem Ben Arfa's ball infield from the United right set Sammy Ameobi away on halfway and and his weaving run took him past two defenders before neatly tucking the ball home and celebrating with colleagues and fans at that end of the ground, just one of the latter making it on to the field 2-0

Full time: Shrimpers 0 Magpies 2

We Said

Alan Pardew said:

"It was a good cup-tie, wasn't it? When you get a Premier League side coming down, that's the sort of response you want from a home team. 

"A League Two team is going to show you what it's about. They are proper professionals, proper people who play the game for their livelihoods to pay their mortgages. We had to stand up to that and I am very pleased with the young players I put in.

"This was a tough, tough game, make no mistake. We were really under the cosh with the power of that team. They're a very physical side, a big, big side, and they had a couple of good chances. They really accredited themselves well, the stadium, the fans, and especially the team.

"The second half I could sense we were going to get a goal. It was important for us to get a goal because obviously we haven't scored this year, so to get two goals was a nice bonus.

(Ameobi) put in a really good display offensively and defensively. We have had problems with him defensively in the past. We have never doubted his talent, but he put it all together this pre-season and that was shown tonight.

"I thought he was the difference between the two teams until Hatem
(Ben Arfa) came on, who then really did open the game up for us. We probably wouldn't have won it without that little bit of quality from Hatem in particular and Shola came on and gave us a bit more power.

"We're set for the weekend, we have got no injuries, and that's what you want from this competition - get through and have no injuries.

"I have just said to the players in there, the club owes a big thank you to Gael Bigirimana and Dan Gosling and Curtis Good for getting us a win because it's going to raise everyone's spirits in the first team.

"It's taken a little bit of pressure off them, the first goals, the first win. Let's hope on Saturday we get a win and then you would have to say that is a start we can accept because four points out of those three games is okay.

"But we have got to win on Saturday and that's what we are going to try to do."

On the home draw against Leeds:

"My old mate Brian McDermott is there and I will be looking forward to welcoming him, and I'm sure Leeds will be looking forward to coming to us.

"The thing I am most relieved about is the home tie*, thank God for that. I think it's the first one I've had since I've been here!"

* He's talking about the League Cup, the Leeds pairing ending a run of five successive away draws for Newcastle during his time in charge. We have faced Blackburn Rovers at home in the FA Cup during that time.

They Said

Shrimpers boss Jim Bentley:

"We played some good stuff and had the better chances and unfortunately didn't come in with a lead. It was a proper cup tie. You could say both sets of players wanted to win the game. Their subs have come on and affected the game but that's what you'd expect from Premier League footballers.

" I think we were the better side in the first half, we just needed to score when we were on top. It could have been a whole different ball game. Their crowd might have got on top of them a little bit, it would have given us that little bit more confidence. 

But we gave a good account of ourselves, we had a right good go and I am proud of all the players for their efforts."


There was a first team debut for defender Curtis Good, who became the third Australian-born* player to represent the club at competitive senior level. Good follows in the footsteps of Craig Moore and Mark Viduka and goes one better than James Troisi who was an unused substitute.

* the wording is deliberate to reflect the brief toon career of David Mitchell, who although born in Glasgow was an Australian international.

Sammy's second NUFC goal followed the winner at Scunthorpe in this competition almost two years to the day earlier and meant that he and Shola became the first brothers to both score in a senior competitive fixture for United. 

The 77th strike of Shola's toon career was his eighth in this competition and drew him level with Andy Cole as our second top scorer in the League Cup, four behind Malcolm Macdonald. 

Newcastle now have eight current Football League clubs in competitive football to face: Burton Albion, Crawley Town, Dagenham & Redbridge, Fleetwood Town, Rochdale, Wycombe Wanderers and Yeovil Town (the eighth club is either MK Dons or AFC Wimbledon, depending on your view).

We've emerged unscathed from our last 13 Second Round ties (seven played on a two-legged basis) and were last beaten at this stage by the smoggies in 1990:

1990/91 Middlesbrough lost 1-2 (on agg)
1991/92 Crewe Alexandra won 5-3 (on agg)
1992/93 Middlesbrough won 3-1 (on agg)
1993/94 Notts County won 11-2 (on agg)
1994/95 Barnsley won 3-1 (on agg)
1995/96 Bristol City won 8-1 (on agg)
2000/01 Leyton Orient won 3-1 (on agg)
2001/02 Brentford won 4-1
2007/08 Barnsley won 2-0
2008/09 Coventry City won 3-2
2009/10 Huddersfield Town won 4-3
2010/11 Accrington Stanley won 3-2
2011/12 Scunthorpe United won 2-1
2013/14 Morecambe won 2-0



Morecambe may have serenaded fans with their theme tune "Bring Me Sunshine" at full time, but the over-riding feeling among the away contingent was one of pure relief - thanks to late face-saving strikes from the Ameobi brothers.

With extra time and penalties looming, Shola and Sammy found their range to fire the Magpies into to Round Three of the League Cup and a home tie against Leeds United. 

However it could have been a very different story as the League Two Shrimps belied their minnow status by creating the majority of chances in the opening period, Dan Gosling twice forced into goal line clearances and 'keeper Rob Elliot making some vital saves.

Those two players were among eight changes to the United side, with only messrs Debuchy, Marveaux and tonight's captain Yanga-Mbiwa retained from the eleven who started against West Ham on Saturday.

In addition to Elliot and Gosling, Alan Pardew opted to field Paul Dummett at, left back, Gael Bigirimana and Sammy Ameobi in midfield and a front pairing of Yoan Gouffran and Haris Vuckic.

A desire to rest Fabricio Coloccini and the unavailability of both Mike Williamson and Massadio Haidara meant that a new defensive face was required and Curtis Good got the nod over fellow reserve Remi Streete, who was benched.

20 year-old Aussie Good made his United bow in his preferred centre back position, but was no stranger either to the Globe Arena or the League Cup - thanks to his loan spell at Bradford City last season.

Debuting away at Morecambe last season, Curtis facing Aston Villa in both legs of the League Cup semi-final, before ending his Bantams stay by playing in the final at Wembley Stadium against Swansea City. 

Back to tonight's game, Gosling's first goal line clearance came in the tenth minute when clearing a Mark Hughes' header and then 11 minutes later a corner bounced up off Sammy Ameobi and only Dan's chest and the post kept it out - TV replays confirming the ball hadn't crossed the line.

The much-changed Magpies side struggled to find any passing rhythm and relied on Sammy Ameobi as the main supply, although a series of runs down the left flank and crosses into the area weren't exploited by his team mates.

A Bigirimana free kick was tipped over by Barry Roche and Gouffran finished well after being put through down the left only to be flagged for offside. Haris Vuckic failed to reappear after the break and his replacement Shola quickly squandered a good chance, firing wide when sent clear on goal. 

With the Shrimps looking to have worn themselves out in the first half, Marveaux should also have broken the deadlock in the 61st minute also volleyed over the bar and into the standing terrace holding the away fans.

Those supporters had been calling for the appearance of Hatem Ben Arfa long before his 71st minute entrance, but he played his part in Newcastle finally asserting their authority in the latter stages of the game, doing enough to see off opponents who languish 87th in the League. 

And those fans were soon vindicated, with Ben Arfa setting up Shola for the opener, after which Moussa Sissoko was brought on to help see the remaining moments of the tie out.

United survived a late Morecambe corner that saw their 'keeper challenging Elliot in the six yard box, before Sammy Ameobi led a successful counter attack in added time to seal victory and add some respectability to the scoreline.

News of a rare home draw in this competition then broke soon after full time, but anyone tuning in for that information may also have suffered some ludicrous quotes from the manager about playing very well - an insult to the intelligence of anyone who saw the game first-hand or on TV.

The only thing that really matters in cup football is the result, but for large parts of this tie the positives were well hidden and the inadequacies of the current squad firmly to the fore as United rode their luck on numerous occasions and on another night could easily have been two behind.

Searching the memory banks, we did encounter a Crewe side in this competition back in 1991, on a night when the Gresty Road faithful were rubbing their eyes as almost everything the Railwaymen hit went in. 0-3 down in half an hour and having seen their woodwork struck, United pulled two goals back before the interval and proceeded to run out 4-3 winners on the night.

Had Morecambe enjoyed slightly more fortune in front of goal though and gone ahead, it's hard to see where the response would have come from - aside from the bench. A complete absence of threat from Yoan Gouffran was echoed by a fitful display from Haris Vuckic - although the latter could at least be excused on the grounds he's just returned from yet another serious injury. 

Their collective inability to worry a fourth tier defence lent rise to the theory that we were actually playing a 4-6-0 formation in the first half. A target man of any age or ability would have aided our cause by providing the attack with a focal point.

Aside from the sporadic raids of Sammy, the midfield was an empty void - Gosling too often employed as a fifth defender, Marveaux seemingly hiding and Bigirimana showing whatever the opposite of promise is. The struggles of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa were sometimes painful to watch (another defender who doesn't like heading?), while both Paul Dummett and Curtis Good overcome tricky starts to post reasonable displays.

As the most decorated player on the pitch though in terms of Mathieu Debuchy's display left an awful lot to be desired - rolling around unconvincingly early on and after a slipshod evening, approaching the away end arms aloft as if his side had just won the bloody cup, not avoided a giant-killing. My immediate reaction was that he was taking the proverbial.

Shola's reputation as a flat track bully meanwhile was enhanced by the face-saving goal. Whatever value he still has to the club is as a substitute, coming on to hold the ball up in a manner nobody else at the club can. Still. His place in the starting XI against West Ham was surely an attempt by Pardew to draw attention to the bare shelves in his striking department though.  

Goals win games and also hide a multitude of sins. If the manager was aiming for a result to cheer people up then he got one, but if he desired a performance to put pressure on the first XI and get hacks dusting off their young guns cliches, then as the newsreader says, look away now. 

PS: While the Ameobis hit the headlines, spare a thought for another United Academy product, Adam Armstrong. The 16 year-old striker was rewarded for scoring in our opening three U21 league games this season with a first call up to the senior team, but wasn't included in the final matchday 18 despite being allocated senior squad number 43 and warming up on the pitch before kickoff.

Armstrong's late dash to link up with the first team did mean that he was forced to withdraw from the England U17 squad who faced Portugal at Burton on Wednesday. Hopefully he'll get his chance to make amends against Turkey on Friday and Italy on Sunday.

Page last updated 28 August, 2014