Newcastle 3 Birmingham 1  –  Wednesday 18 January 2017 7.45pm

We asked a number of our regular writers to give us a brief instant reaction after the final whistle:

Jamie Smith:

“Enjoyed the game despite a scary 15 minutes or so when Brum bafflingly started to try after pulling one back.

“Shelvey was outstanding and showed that the unfortunate suspension business will not be knocking him off his stride for the important business ahead.

“I thought the game might be a bit of a chore but it was decent entertainment for a tenner.

“We might even get another FA Cup tie at home at this rate.”

Paul Lyon:

“Made harder work than necessary after a pretty dominant 1st half.

“Scored a couple of decent goals, happy to be in the next round, obviously not as happy as the topless pitch invader, but pleased nonetheless.”

Nat Seaton:

“Not the best game of football from two understrength teams.

 “We should have had the game sewn up before they scored, which made the final 20 minutes a bit nervy, but thankfully Ritchie’s second goal made the last few minutes enjoyable!

 “First time in 5 years we’re in the 4th round!!!

 “Looking forward to going to Oxford for the first time…”

Ben Cooper:

“Credit to everyone who turned up for this non-event, including Shelvey, who again showed that he is too good for this league and the likes of Ritchie and Gouf who showed the kids that you work hard no matter what and you get your rewards.

“Credit to Zola as well. He obviously knows what he is doing, both managers picked teams to get knocked out but he completely out-thought Rafa tonight, picking a team so appalling that our under 23s could hammer them.

“Job done for him.

“For us, top of the league, round 4 of the cup, injuries clearing up.

“Crisis? Dont think so. Not even Fat Mike’s power trip can ruin this week.”

Leazes Park Ender:

“Newcastle have had an abysmal record in the FA Cup over the last ten years, so to reach round four is very welcome indeed.

“It was a win achieved despite Rafa making eight changes and playing three prospects from the reserves – Barlaser, El Mhanni and Findlay. All three of them didn’t really let him down tonight.

“Managers walk a fine line with cup selections, because understrength picks can backfire and it will inevitably irk some supporters.

“Thankfully we had enough of the first team pool on duty to get past Birmingham pretty comfortably.

“The return of Shelvey will grab the headlines tonight, what with three assists telling us all we need to know about his importance to this team. He’s a class apart.

“Let’s hope he can now keep his trap shut and let his intelligent brand football do the talking.

“It’s on to Oxford then.

“No matter what the outcome tonight, for me, promotion is  the top priority, but a cup run is not to be sniffed at.”

Toon Bano:

“Pleased we got through.

“There’s no reason why a cup run should affect us getting promoted.

“We shouldn’t be finishing third in a terrible Championship.

“Great to see those on their debuts getting a result as well – won’t do them any harm whatsoever.”

Jamie Swan

“Well after a near melt down caused by Rafa’s selection, the lads in the end pulled off one of the better home performances (in patches).

“Having Jonjo back is just a tremendous lift for everyone. He’s just on another planet to his peers at this level.

“He could play in moon boots and a deep sea diver’s helmet and still get two assists a game, easy pickings.

“A kamikaze goal shipped, softer than the Andrex puppies undercarriage gave the sphincter a few squeaks but Richie found his magic hat and hammered the nail in the blues’ coffin.

“Nice of Rafa to hand out some debuts, an obvious bronze, silver and gold – but they’ll be buzzing for the chance.

“Final mention for Gouffran, who gets another mint goal and another two fingers up to doubters like me. Well played.

“It’s a little early to tell me Mam that I won’t be home for tea….”

Scott:

“Nice to see young lads getting a run out.

“Shelvey back with a bang and behind everything good.

“Bit nervy at 2-1 for 15 mins but Shelvey again the creator to dig us out.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Birmingham 1

Goals:

Newcastle: Ritchie 9 (pen), 90+2, Gouffran 34

Birmingham: Cotterill 71

Possession was Birmingham 48% Newcastle 52%

Total shots were Birmingham 12 Newcastle 13

Shots on target were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 4

Corners were Birmingham 5 Newcastle 6

Referee: Lee Probert

Crowd: 34,896

Newcastle United:

Sels, Yedlin (Hayden 75), Hanley, Findlay, Lazaar, Tiote (Colback 82), Barlaser, Ritchie, Shelvey, El-Mhanni (Perez 70), Gouffran

Subs:

Elliot, Murphy, Dummett, Lascelles

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