Birmingham 1 Newcastle 1
FA Cup 3rd Round – Saturday 7 January 2017 3pm
Newcastle didn’t get beat but a nightmare in pretty much every other way for Rafa Benitez.
After five minutes Daryl Murphy scored his first ever goal for Newcastle but in that strike from a corner, it coincided with a nasty looking injury for Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Rafa’s back-up strike option given oxygen on the pitch and then stretchered off.
His knee/leg injury looking almost certain to have ended his certain and to turn up the transfer window pressure.
In addition, the last thing Rafa would have wanted from today is to draw and have another match.
The replay falling in between the trip to Brentford and home game with Rotherham in the Championship.
Rafa Benitez named a much changed Newcastle team v Birmingham with eight changes from the team at Blackburn, the big surprise was to see both Aleksandar Mitrovic and Daryl Murphy paired together up front.
Only Anita, Lascelles and Colback remained from the starting eleven v Blackburn.
Yoan Gouffran was the one who came off the bench to replace Mitrovic.
Achraf Lazaar was arguably the only real positive for Rafa, suggesting he is ready to challenge on the left hand side, either at full-back or further up the pitch. Although Daryl Murphy led the line pretty well when left up front on his own.
Newcastle had the better of the first half but were terrible in the second half and Birmingham wasted a number of chances.
The fact that the two sides only managed five shots on target between them tells you everything.
More possession and corners than the opposition yet again but a struggle to create clear chances.
The fans chanting for Dwight Gayle in the second period but the top scorer in England remained on the bench.
The numbers willing to travel for such a game are nothing short of incredible, 4,671 from Newcastle and 8,500 Brummies making up an attendance of 13,171.
Rafa Benitez had complained that his side weren’t grinding out enough draws when playing below par – don’t think he had today in mind!
Full match report to follow.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Birmingham 1 Newcastle 1
Newcastle: Murphy 5
Birmingham: Jutkiewicz 42
Possession was Birmingham 47% Newcastle 53%
Total shots were Birmingham 9 Newcastle 5
Shots on target were Birmingham 3 Newcastle 2
Corners were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 6
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Crowd: 13,171 (Newcastle 4,671)
Sels, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Haidara (Ritchie 69), Yedlin, Tiote (Hayden 65), Colback, Lazaar, Murphy, Mitrovic (Gouffran 10)
Darlow, Dummett, Clark, Gayle
— Ciaran Phelan (@ciaran410) January 7, 2017