Good luck to Oxford and all that but Manager Michael Appleton was getting just a little bit carried away at the final whistle.
Yes his team had put in a very good performance to beat Newcastle United and totally deserve to be in the last 16 of the FA Cup but…
Oxford were at home, against a team one division higher, playing their best eleven against Newcastle reserves.
Despite this, Michael Appleton claimed that Saturday’s win ‘surpasses beating Arsenal at the Emirates when I was at Blackburn’.
Appleton became Blackburn Manager on 10 January 2013 and only 37 days later went to the Emirates and beat Arsenal 1-0 in the FA Cup fifth round, of course his reward was to be the latest of many Blackburn bosses to be sacked, only a month later.
However, that day in February saw Blackburn triumph and the Championship side victorious against these Arsenal players…
Arsenal team v Blackburn on 16 February 2013:
Wojciech Szczesny, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Francis Coquelin, Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Gervinho, Olivier Giroud and Cazorla, Walcott and Wilshere came on as subs.
Coincidentally, a 21 year old Grant Hanley was on the winning team that day against Arsenal but the Oxford boss’ claims would be a little bit far-fetched even if Newcastle had played their first team, never mind (no disrespect) the likes of Good, Barlaser, Haidara, El-Mhanni and others.
“For me personally, with the squad Newcastle have got, this surpasses beating Arsenal at the Emirates when I was at Blackburn (in the 5th round four years ago) – that is how big this is.
“This feels fantastic.
“It won’t be long before Newcastle are plying their trade in the Premier League and, with the squad they have got, they’ll be challenging in the top half, I believe.
“We tried to press really high and we had to be brave. We rode our luck at times but it was a fantastic performance.
“I was delighted with how the players started the game.
“I thought we got a foothold in the game in the first half and they (Newcastle) showed the quality they have got in the first half, while Simon Eastwood had to make two very good saves towards the interval.
“I said to the players at half-time that they wouldn’t get a better opportunity to get into the last 16 of the FA Cup.
“I said that we’d need to keep our concentration and that Simon would have to make one more important save, thankfully he did that with the penalty.
“I thought we’d scored the first goal too soon and for 15 to 20 minutes, they pinned us in a little bit.
“But, the players rode the storm, and I think the penalty save gave everyone a lift.
“I think that belief really told in the last 15 minutes and I thought the players were magnificent.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Oxford 3 Newcastle 0
Oxford: Hemmings 46, Nelson 79, Martinez 87
Possession was Oxford 48% Newcastle 52%
Total shots were Oxford 14 Newcastle 11
Shots on target were Oxford 5 Newcastle 5
Corners were Oxford 9 Newcastle 10
Referee: David Coote
Crowd: 11,819 (Newcastle 1,800)
Sels, Good, Hanley, Gamez, Haidara (Ritchie 77), Lazaar, Hayden, Barlaser, El-Mhanni (Gouffran 68), Perez, Mitrovic
Elliot, Yedlin, Dummett, Lascelles, Shelvey
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the game go HERE)
(Also, read My sympathies to all who paid to see that)
(To read Rafa’s reaction go HERE)