25mins Siem De Jong's crossfield pass was controlled instantly by Gabriel
Obertan towards the right hand side of the Gillingham area. The Frenchman jinked
to the byline as two defenders approached, teeing up a cross towards the near
post that Emmanuel Riviere darted forward to meet.
Before the United forward got there though, the ball dropped into the path
of ex-mackem defender John Egan, who was facing towards goal and could only
chest the ball between his goalkeeper and the post and into the net from about
four yards. an own goal - that's a fourth OG for Peter Taylor's side already
this season. 1-0
Half time: The Gills 0 The Toon 1*
Full time: The Gills 0 The Toon 1*
* That's exactly how the stadium scoreboard billed the teams
"I just think we've shown real solid team performances in the three
matches so far, without really getting a break in front of goal.
"So many times we could have got a break tonight and we could have got a
second or third goal and it didn't happen for us. I'm hoping to get a break on
Saturday, we just need one break - it would be nice to score two or more goals
The way Palace play, how quick they are on the break, you sense that they could
score, so it might mean we do need to get two or three goals so that's what our
focus must be.
"The scoreline didn't really reflect our dominance.
"I've been here many times as a manager. I've played here, and done a lot
of scouting here too.
"It's a very, very difficult place to come. And yet we controlled the game
more or less all the way through. I'm pleased but a bit frustrated we didn't
score more than the one.
"They gave up a lot of space in midfield to play that extra centre-half. It
was difficult to penetrate their three centre-halves but I can't be too
disappointed, I thought our application to the game was great. Our two centre-halves
typified that, particularly the skipper.
"Absolute respect we showed Gillingham tonight, and that's how you get wins
at places like this."
"The players couldn’t
have worked any harder and they had to work hard because Newcastle had some very
skilful players. The game is all about belief. At times we had belief and
sometimes we didn’t.
“I was a bit disappointed with them first
half, with the way we started. We played long balls and we didn’t try and link
the midfield but just before half time, Pritchard started playing to Hess, he
started playing to Bradley Dack and then we started playing more. That’s when
the belief came in.
“That’s the only thing I am disappointed
in. We didn’t have 90 minutes of belief. We had it at certain times.
“That’s the main thing the players will
learn out of it. When you go onto the pitch, whatever the opposition is, you
have to go out there believing you are a good player and believe you can do the
job you are in the team for. 90% of the time we did that but there were a few
times we could have believed a bit more.
“They will come off the pitch and be quite
pleased with the way they played, not all of them and sometimes you have to
learn from it, but the majority of the boys put in a good shift off the ball and
also showed some character on the ball.”
“It was fantastic - it was nice to have
got through the first round and been given the opportunity to play against such
a big club like Newcastle United.
“A lot of the fans don’t get a chance to
watch Premier players and so it was brilliant that they did and brilliant that
they turned up in numbers as well because that helps the club a lot.
“The discipline from the players was good,
the effort was terrific and we worked hard as a team. I said to the players I
have no complaints whatsoever on that front.”
United have now emerged unscathed from their last fourteen Second Round ties (seven
on a two-legged basis) and last lost in this round to the smoggies back in 1990:
League Cup game since it was founded in 1960 brought win number 61 and
goal number 213 - with John Egan becoming the fourth OG victim, after
Malcolm Lucas (Leyton Orient in 1962), Eric McManus (Notts County in 1976) and
old boy Alessandro Pistone (Everton in 2002).
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 (h) won 4-1
2007/08 Barnsley (h) won 2-0
2008/09 Coventry City (a) won 3-2
2009/10 Huddersfield Town (h) won 4-3
2010/11 Accrington Stanley (a) won 3-2
2011/12 Scunthorpe United (a) won 2-1
2013/14 Morecambe (a) won 2-0
2014/15 Gillingham (a) won 1-0
(the "missing years" are those campaigns when the club entered the
competition after the Second Round due to their European club competition
Our only previous meeting with the Kent side came here in the same
round of the competition back in September 1976. Goals from Tommy Cassidy and
Paul Cannell gave United a 2-1 win in what was their first League Cup tie since
losing to Manchester City at Wembley some six months earlier.
This result meant that United kept consecutive clean sheets for the first
time since the Premier League victories over Chelsea (h) and Spurs (a) back in November
A completely different starting XI was fielded to that which Alan Pardew
selected for the 2-0 win at Morecambe at the same stage of the competition 12
months ago - and only two players played any part in both games - Moussa
Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran:
2013: Elliot, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Good, Dummett, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux
(Sissoko), Vuckic (Sh.Ameobi), Sa.Ameobi, Gouffran (Ben Arfa). Subs n/u: Santon,
Anita, Alnwick, Streete
After getting his first taste of competitive senior football against Manchester
City in the Premier League nine days earlier, Rolando Aarons made his
first start in this tie, while Siem De Jong was also in a Magpies XI for
the first time after having debuted off the bench against Aston Villa.
There was a first start for Gabriel Obertan since a 0-4 Premier League
reverse at Manchester City in March 2013 - a game that saw the Frenchman fail to
reappear for the second half after a poor showing. Similarly, Mehdi Abeid
started a Newcastle game for the first time since the 0-2 FA Cup loss at
Brighton in January 2013 - when he was also hauled off following a pathetic 45
Tonight's three high points: we won, got through in 90 minutes and it didn't
rain. Well, hardly.
Actually make that four: the Dartford Tunnel was open afterwards and toll-free,
meaning we could make our escape from this god-forsaken place at minimum cost
and maximum permissible velocity.
Since the demise of Maine Road, it's hard to recall a more miserable route to an
away end than Priestfield Road - a residental terraced street that doubles as
the local dump and is strewn with countless loose bags of rubbish, two discarded
fridge/freezers and other pieces of furniture.
To cap it all off, one of the houses had a window decorated with SAFC stickers,
but in a new-found spirit of Tyne-wear togetherness these remained intact.
Either that or the non-existent street lights meant that toon fans hurrying past
didn't see them. There was plenty of ammunition lying around...
Approaching the away turnstiles is reminiscent of Wormwood Scrubs, but once
inside the ground itself is neat enough on the other three sides. The away
section though is a joke and having been erected in 2003
is hardly a short-term solution (locals suggest plans to relocate the club away
from the town to a new site have been drawn up but there's no time frame).
In statistical terms, Newcastle gained a first competitive win of the season at
the third attempt, but in reality much of our pre-season was played out at a
higher intensity than this only intermittently competitive encounter.
Certainly Siem De Jong could have been forgiven for thinking that his second
Toon start in England was a continuation of the first - a bland kickabout
against League One side Oldham Athletic.
The Dutchman may have gleaned from his tour of the "Toon Times"
exhibition that cup football in this country has a unique intensity and
atmosphere, but none of the anticipation or fervour associated with a
giant-killing feat was present here tonight. This was a million miles away from
Of course it may well be that those of us schooled in the perpetual
underachievement of watching this club aren't used to witnessing a professional
display that stifles the smaller side and has the tinfoil cup-wielding, painted
face brigade sloping off for a burger.
Alan Pardew selected a starting XI that could for once claim to be genuinely
rotated rather than weakened never looked in trouble but only seldom posed any
genuine goalscoring threat before or after going ahead midway through the
opening half. That remains a genuine concern.
United's approach play was positive and with little in our way, momentum was
built up as Aarons and Obertan presse down the flanks, pinging over crosses with
varying degrees of accuracy - some crying out to be attacked, others more
suitable to be tracked by the Chatham coastguard.
A roll call of Premier League casualties elsewhere (Manchester United, Burnley,
Leicester City and West Ham) was a reminder that pitfalls do exist in this
competition, but equally seeing the likes of Palace, Stoke and the mackems
rattle a few goals in during their ties was cause for a little envy.
Our failure to extend that advantage proved to be irritating but not costly,
with thoughts of other previous punishments of our profligacy leading to extra
time only occasionally coming to mind - and mostly when we needlessly mucked
about in defence and almost invited Gillingham to press on.
Massadio Haidara did slam an effort from distance off the crossbar in the second
half, but other than that there wasn't a great deal to get the travelling
contingent behind that goal animated. Riviere's search for a competitive toon
goal was again fruitless, while the slender advantage meant that loan forward
Facundo Ferreyra stayed on the bench and Ayoze Perez and Yoan Gouffran were
entrusted with some late pitch time to see the game out.
So, the desired outcome from a slightly strange and passionless affair, but in
terms of highlighting inadequacies or drawing conclusions regarding squad
selections, then forget it. In years to come it will require explanation why
Hatem Ben Arfa played and scored for the reserves a day earlier, but wasn't
involved here in Kent while Obertan and Abeid got the nod.
The rift between that player, his manager and certain members of the squad seems
unbridgeable at present but unless Ben Arfa exits in the next week, his talent
cannot be ignored if last season's goalscoring issues prove not to have been
resolved by this summer's transfer activity.