Newcastle United required extra-time to secure their progression to round four of the FA Cup as they beat Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers 4-2 at Ewood Park on Tuesday evening.
The Magpies took the lead within the first minute following Sean Longstaff’s deflected effort from range. Callum Roberts then extended the lead with a sweet, first-time volley from inside the penalty area in the 21st minute.
All was not straight-forward though as former Newcastle man Adam Armstrong cut the deficit just before the break with a clinical finish. It got much worse as Darragh Lenihan thundered in a header from a corner right on the stroke of half-time.
The tie was eventually secured by the visitors in extra-time as strikes from Joselu and Ayoze Perez scored to set up a clash with Watford.
Perfect start for Newcastle
With less than 60 seconds on the clock, it was Rafa Benitez’s who hit the front. Longstaff, making only his fourth appearance of the season, set his sights from distance. The youngster’s shot looked to be relatively easy for David Raya in the Blackburn goal but the ball took a slight nick off of Amari’i Bell and flew into the corner of the net.
Murphy was a constant thorn in the Blackburn side and he played a key role in the second goal. He raced down the right and forced the Blackburn stopper into a solid stop. The ball was recycled and crossed towards Roberts who volleyed in first time with a cool finish.
Blackburn bounce back
Despite dominating the majority of the first-half, Newcastle’s advantage was halved before the break. Veteran forward Danny Graham did excellently to pluck the ball out of the sky and play through Armstrong. The ex-Newcastle United forward then tucked the ball underneath Freddie Woodman to get Blackburn on the scoresheet.
The hosts were soon level too. Leaping from a corner, Lenihan thundered an emphatic header into the net to ensure the teams were level at the break.
Tony Mowbray’s men were much improved after the break and Ben Brereton could have given them the lead early on but blazed his effort wide.
Game on for progression
The second-half was frustrating affair for both sides with chances at a premium. Newcastle came the closest to edging ahead as Isaac Hayden’s header smacked the post but neither side could break through as the game went to extra-time.
Joe Nuttall had the first chance of the extended period but could only steer his header wide. Blackburn’s star man Bradley Dack then really should have won the game as he ghosted into the area but he rolled the ball wide when it looked easier to score.
Joselu the man for the occasion
The hosts were made to pay for that costly error right at the end of the first-period of extra-time in controversial fashion. Fabian Schar powered an effort towards goal that Raya failed to deal with. Joselu, seemingly offside, picked up the ricochet and slammed home to once again put Newcastle ahead.
The Magpies finally polished the tie off via Ayoze Perez. The Spanish forward picked up space on the right flank, tore into the penalty area and slammed the ball high into the roof of the net to finally wrap up the victory.
It certainly was not easy for Newcastle United against Blackburn. Following their second goal at Ewood Park, Mowbray’s troops really did awaken. They were stubborn and well-drilled throughout and had Dack not missed his glorious opportunity, the result could have been completely different. However, Benitez will be pleased that his team did manage to scrape through despite losing Ciaran Clark and Jamal Lascelles to injury.
Blackburn Rovers: Raya (6); Nyambe (6), Lenihan (7), Bell (6); Reed (7) (Dack (6), 78′), Travis (6), Smallwood (7) (Rothwell (6), 103′), Bennett (7); Brereton (6) (Conway (6), 65′), Graham (6), Armstrong (7) (Nuttall (7), 73′).
Newcastle United: Woodman (7); Manquillo (6), Clark (5) (Lascelles (5), 45′ (Hayden (6), 57′)), Fernandez (7), Sterry (7); Schar (7), Ritchie (6), Roberts (7) (Perez (7), 94′), Longstaff (7), Murphy (6); Joselu (7).
Goals: Longstaff (1′), Roberts (22′), Armstrong (33′), Lenihan (45+1′), Joselu (105+3′), Perez (106′)
Referee: Lee Probert
Yellow Cards: Hernandez (90+3′)
Red Cards: N/A
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