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Season 2016-17
Cheltenham Town (h) EFL Cup Round 2

In association 

Date: Tuesday 23rd August 2016, 7.45pm

 St. James' Park

Conditions: Injurious

Admission: Ł15 adults


Newcastle United

Cheltenham Town

2 - 0




45+2 mins Returning to the field with a bandaged head, Ayoze Perez was in the right place when a Jesus Gamez shot rebounded to him, curling home an excellent effort at the Leazes End 1-0

Half time: Magpies 1 Robins 0

47 mins Substitute Dwight Gayle was alert enough to profit from a wayward Easah Suliman back pass, advancing into the box before setting up Ayoze Perez to shoot into the empty goal. 2-0

Full time: Magpies 2 Robins 0

We Said


Rafa said:


"We are really pleased with the result because we won and go through, but we are disappointed because we have injuries - three concussions - but I don’t think they will be a problem.

"Rolando (Aarons) has a problem with his foot so we have to wait to see what the doctor says. That is the most serious of the injuries.

"I spoke to them (Mitro and Gayle) at the end of the game and they were feeling better and (I am) hoping they are OK for Saturday.

"I was worried during the game because we had three substitutions and at 2-0 if they pull one back in a cup competition anything can happen. I didn’t want extra time or anything like this.

"We were trying to protect Dwight Gayle because he’d played the last few games and Mitrovic needed match fitness . We had to change it around quickly.

"We won though and hopefully they’ll be fine. We are really upset for Rolando though.

"I think it’s important for him (Perez) personally, but also for the team to have different players who can score goals.

"It is easier for opposing defenders when they know who gets the goals because they can control him, and it reduces the chances to score.

"In this case when there are more players scoring goals it’s always good for the team and the manager. It’s actually a problem for me but I like this type of problem.

"When you change the team and win, the squad is stronger - if you lose you have concerns about the level of the players.

"In this case I am pleased because Jesus did well and Sterry and Grant Hanley had not played so a lot of players who had not played many games done well.

"They have more minutes in the bank.”

They Said

Robins boss Gary Johnson:


"It was a magnificent performance by the club and our supporters out-sang 20,000 people.

"We showed a passion and commitment on the pitch and we have got our club back.

"I need to see that desire and commitment, beyond the call of duty. I've been a bit down and I've had to work hard to drag them up to that kind of performance so I am proud of them.

"The first goal was disappointing because they allowed an injured player to come on just as they were crossing it to the far post for him to score. Until then I thought our tactics worked well. We let them come on to us and we had some good opportunities and play.

"The goals either side of half-time killed us, but we had that team energy we needed.

"Danny (Wright) might not have played because he was ill on the bus and we had to keep him in a room on his own at the hotel, but he has done a great stint. He will score for us this season and if you put that sort of work in and the others do he'll pick up goals.

"Give me Ł55 million and I'll find you a striker to score goals, although we have one who is injured (Dan Holman).

"We have had heart to hearts this week and they have all come up trumps. I am not a deluded manager, I am truthful one. It was good to see Morgs (Amari Morgan-Smith) come on and nice to have him back fit.

"When the players see the review of the game they'll understand why I am happy with the performance. I hope it's a confidence boost as we have matched a team who are Premier League standard basically."


Cheltenham Town made their first-ever visit to Gallowgate in any competition.

There was a competitive bow at left back for 31 year-old Jesus Gamez, who became the oldest Newcastle debutant since 36 year-old Sol Campbell lumbered on to the field at Chelsea in another League Cup tie back in September 2010.

Fellow full back Jamie Sterry made the first senior start of his career following a substitute appearance against Spurs in the final PL game of last season.

Ayoze Perez's first League Cup goals were his 14th and 15th for United in all competitions, as he scored more than once in a game for the first time as a Magpie. 

The Spaniard became our 123rd different League Cup scorer (excluding OGs) and his goals the 223rd and 224th scored for Newcastle in their 140th League Cup fixture.

United have now emerged unscathed from their last 16 Second Round ties (six on a two-legged basis) and last lost in this round to the smoggies back 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 (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
2015/16 Northampton Town (h) won 4-1
Cheltenham Town (h) won 2-0




Bandages - not headbands 


It was more Vietnam than Cheltenham at St. James' Park on Tuesday night, as a brace from Ayoze Perez handed Rafa Benitez victory in his first cup tie since becoming Newcastle Manager.  

Progression came at some cost though for United, injury sidelining Rolando Aarons and Aleksandar Mitrovic before half time and both Perez and substitute Dwight Gayle sporting bandaged heads. 

Had Siem De Jong still been here, the air ambulance may have been required....  

Recalled to the side, Aarons went to ground with a foot injury midway through the first half and was stretchered off and replaced by Yoan Gouffran. He later left the ground wearing a protective boot. 

Mitrovic's first outing of the season meanwhile was curtailed after taking a blow to the face in his own box - continuing for a few minutes before leaving the field with a suspected concussion.

(A similar situation last season in the derby saw Mitro play in United's next game - but that was 13 days later following an international fixture break).

Perez also joined the walking wounded after suffering a head wound but played on complete with a bandage - and substitute Dwight Gayle was then involved in a clash of heads and similarly patched up before the decision was made to withdraw him from combat. 

United's League Two opponents were by no means rough and the misfortunes that befell home players seemed more unlucky rather than malevolent. 

However the visitors weren't overawed by their first visit to Gallowgate and had created the better goal chances before Perez expertly curled in the opener during first half added time.

Within two minutes of the second period the tie was then secured, as Gayle latched on to a loose  back pass before unselfishly squaring the ball to provide Perez with a tap-in for his second.

Gayle then played on after a clash of heads before Vurnon Anita took his place and United looked to increase their goals tally. However it remained at two, Momo Diame jinking into the box and shooting - only for Daniel O'Shaughnessy to hack clear off the line after Griffiths failed to block the effort.

Anita's header then flashed across goal with Gouffran following in at the far post and Perez missed two chances to complete his first Toon treble - one shot cleared out of the six yard box following a corner and another blazed harmlessly into the Gallowgate End.  

Some late pressure from Town saw them threaten a consolation but Karl Darlow recorded a clean sheet and United progressed to Wednesday's Third Round draw.

Quite how tonight's events will impact on Saturday's team selection remains to be seen, with possible ramifications for our mooted loan departures. Will Adam Armstrong and Yoan Gouffran now be allowed to complete loan moves as had been forecast, or does that rely on yet more arrivals?


Page last updated 24 August, 2017