Sunday, January 9, 2011

FA Cup - Superb Stevenage humble Newcastle!!!

Stevenage produced one of the biggest FA Cup third round upsets of all-time, beating 10-man Newcastle United 3-1 at Broadhall Way!!!

The League Two side made a mockery of the 75 league places separating the teams, dominating a second half in which they took a commanding lead before Cheik Tiote was shown a straight red card.

Stevenage went in front on 50 minutes, when a Stacy Long shot deflected in off Mike Williamson, then added a classy second five minutes later courtesy of Michael Bostwick's thumping 25-yarder.

Joey Barton pulled one back with a long-range effort in stoppage time, before Peter Winn finished coolly to seal a remarkable victory.

Newcastle, who fielded much the same team that beat West Ham 5-0 on Wednesday, had no answer and deserved their humiliation after barely mustering a goalscoring chance before Barton's blast.

Stevenage held Newcastle to a famous 1-1 draw in the third round in 1998, but this comprehensively replaced that occasion as the club's finest hour.

In truth, it was the result that made this so magical, not the quality of the action on the picth.

Stevenage stopped Newcastle from playing, and came out of their defensive shell after the break to press home their advantage.

The first half produced only two chances worthy of mention. The first came to Stevenage skipper Mark Roberts from a corner, but he failed to make decent contact and the ball bounced harmlessly to Tim Krul.

Then, just after the half-hour mark, Bostwick hit a low, stinging shot that Krul had to stretch to tip behind.

Newcastle produced nothing. Having decided to hit long balls for Wayne Routledge to chase down the right, they repeated the trick early and often, thereby becoming staggeringly predictable.

Elsewhere there was plenty of rough and tumble in midfield. A Bostwick clearance hit Kevin Nolan full in the face, actually drawing blood, while Alan Smith, Leon Best and John Mousinho all received yellow cards.

Stevenage's greater ambition in the second period was quickly rewarded. Long did superbly to jink inside from the left but needed a big slice of luck to find the net.

His shot was heading wide but took a big touch off Williamson, wrong-footed Krul and found the left corner.

Nolan hit back with a shot that was helped over by Chris Day, but shortly afterwards the minnows were two goals to the good.

Bostwick met a loose ball outside the 'D' with a powerful strike that clattered in off the left-hand post, giving Krul no chance.

If Newcastle fans expected a backlash, they were mightily disappointed. Alan Pardew's side exhibited no creativity, no fight and no ambition - in fact Stevenage's Chris Beardsley came closest to adding a third with a free header that lacked power.

The result was all but sealed by Tiote's red card after he leapt into a challenge on Jon Ashton. Although the midfielder took the ball, he lunged in with his studs up, and referee Andre Marriner was left with little choice but to dismiss him for dangerous play.

The match appeared to be petering out - albeit very satisfyingly for Stevenage - when Barton cracked in a stunning 30-yard shot in the second minute of stoppage time.

But the Newcastle revival was short-lived: Winn latched on to a through-ball, beat the onrushing Krul and started the Stevenage party.

News & Picture From:
Alex Chick / Eurosport

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