Newcastle reach FA Cup fourth round after seeing off rivals Sunderland

Alexander Isak’s double cemented a first derby victory over Sunderland since 2011 as Eddie Howe finally won an FA Cup tie as Newcastle boss at the third attempt.

Perhaps fittingly at the end of a week during which the Black Cats scored a PR own goal by allowing a bar at the Stadium of Light to be decorated in Magpies colours, much of the damage in a 3-0 defeat was self-inflicted.

Dan Ballard put the ball into his own net and conceded a late penalty after Pierre Ekwah’s error had served up the second for Isak.

Newcastle arrived on Wearside without a victory in nine attempts – a run which included six successive wins for their arch-rivals – in a fixture which had not been played since March 2016, and with Howe under a measure of pressure after a sequence of seven defeats in eight outings in all competitions.

In the event, they won at a canter with the Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls, and in particular dangerman Jack Clarke, who was well handled by Kieran Trippier, only really making their presence felt after the game was effectively over.

The visitors, who had gone out of the cup at the same stage to League One sides Cambridge and Sheffield Wednesday in the last two seasons, started on the front foot and Black Cats keeper Anthony Patterson had to make a second-minute save from Sean Longstaff’s header after he had met Miguel Almiron’s cross.

But for all their early possession, they were unable to make the pressure count and Trippier’s deflected 14th-minute free-kick, which was claimed comfortably by Patterson, was as close as either side came in the opening stages.

Longstaff lifted a 22nd-minute shot over after Almiron and Trippier had combined once again down the right, but with Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton and Longstaff struggling to create openings as the hosts got men behind the ball in numbers, Isak was largely isolated.

Isak saw appeals for a 30th-minute penalty waved away by referee Craig Pawson after he had gone to ground under Ballard’s challenge, and Longstaff fired wastefully over following Anthony Gordon’s surge down the left.

However, Newcastle took the lead with 10 minutes of the first half remaining when Joelinton exchanged passes with Guimaraes to get in behind full-back Trai Hume and cross towards Isak at the far post, where Ballard turned the ball into his own net as he tried to deny the striker a tap-in.

The home side’s efforts to get themselves back into the game were repeatedly hampered by their failure to retain possession inside their own half, and they would have gone in at the break two down had Almiron’s acrobatic volley crept inside, rather than just past, the post.

It was 2-0, however, within seconds of the restart when Almiron robbed Ekwah on the edge of his own penalty area and squared for Isak to finish emphatically.

Ekwah very nearly atoned for his error almost immediately when his dipping shot from distance took a deflection and forced keeper Martin Dubravka into a save – his first of the match – with a trailing leg.

Alex Pritchard clipped the bar with a well-struck 59th-minute attempt and then forced Dubravka into a fine one-handed save with 16 minutes remaining with the Black Cats throwing caution to the wind.

However, Isak’s 90th-minute spot-kick, awarded after Ballard had barged Gordon to the ground, completed a comprehensive victory for the Magpies.


No votes yet.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *