Early January, Saturday afternoon, just the latest FA Cup episode of misery, with Alan Shearer sharing the depression of all other Newcastle fans.

The fourth season in a row that United have exited at the first opportunity, Watford added to Leicester, Cardiff and Brighton.

In nine years under Mike Ashley’s ownership, Newcastle United have never got past the fourth round of the FA Cup.

This season of course was going to be different, with Mike Ashley claiming that Newcastle would be making their own luck from now on and would be attacking the cups as well as Premier League survival.

Losing to Sheffield Wednesday reserves in the third round of the League Cup was dismal and though this was against Premier League opposition this afternoon, it was still another defeat and failure to score a goal.

On Friday Steve McClaren appeared to indicate he would make the usual number of changes we have become used to in the cups, talking about a number of players with ‘niggles’ who might need to be protected.

However, the big surprise today was that only one change was made, Kevin Mbabu in for the injured Jack Colback.

Travel Posters - Tyneside Prints

Alan Shearer though has jokingly said that he preferred it when Newcastle made wholesale changes as at least we then had an excuse…

The Newcastle legend also making reference to the pre-season targets of finishing top eight in the Premier League and having a right go in the cups!

Alan Shearer on Twitter:

“I preferred it when Newcastle didn’t try in the Cups. At least then we had an excuse! #NUFC #CupsandTop8 #EmiratesFACup.”

Here are the stats from BBC Sport:

Watford 1 Newcastle 0

Goals: Deeney 44mins

Possession was 55% Newcastle and 45% Watford

Total shots was 8 for Newcastle and Watford 5

Shots on target was Newcastle 2 and Watford 3

While corners was Newcastle 9 and Watford 3

Team: Elliot, Coloccini (Lascelles 46), Mbemba, Dummett, Janmaat, Tiote (de Jong 82),  Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Mbabu (Thauvin 52), Perez, Mitrovic

Unused Subs: Darlow, Sterry, Gouffran, Toney

Ref: Roger East

Crowd: 18,258 (2,809 Newcastle)

To read instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction to the match go HERE.