Nathan Jones thought his team gave themselves a ‘mountain to climb’ against Newcastle United.

No doubt the Luton fans in Level 7 were complaining about having a ‘few’ stairs to climb but the Luton Manager was more concerned with the ‘three errors’ he felt his side made, as they helped guide Newcastle through into the fourth round.

Whilst Nathan Jones pointed out the mistakes/deficiencies of his own side, he was happy to accept also ‘That is the margins when you come up against these big sides.’

With Rafa Benitez surprising everybody by playing a more or less full strength Newcastle side, it was always going to be tough for the visitors.

However, they didn’t give up and after scoring early in the second half they were maybe unlucky to see a free-kick hit the bar and another ‘goal’ disallowed.

Whilst Rafa Benitez hopes to add more Premier League quality in the January transfer window, the Luton boss was left ruing ‘…a little bit more quality and we might have punished them.’

Newcastle are experiencing the importance of small margins in the Premier League but today was a very deserved victory, despite a valiant effort from the League Two visitors.

Nathan Jones:

“I am very proud of the second half performance…but the overall feeling I’ve got is disappointment really.

“For 25 minutes we didn’t have a problem, it was a really even game.

“They are a good side and they move the ball well, they defended the ball well.

“We had a few moments as well…a little bit more quality and we might have punished them.

“But when you make three errors and you go three down against a Premier League side, and you’re a League Two side, it’s some mountain to climb.

“That is what it was…

“The first goal came out of nothing, no problem, big error.

“Then we are in possession and we give the ball away twice – they are in and they score.

“That is the margins when you come up against these big sides.

“If you give balls away in dangerous areas…and we worked on that all week, because we know that’s their strength, their counter attacking.

“Newcastle punished us and fair play to them.

“They punished us first half – but then it is important to get the next goal – not to concede and let the flood gates open.

“At times we were excellent in the second half, we looked an attacking threat.

“We gave a wonderful account of ourselves overall.

“We had a right go at a Premier League side – we haven’t tried to nick a result, we had a good go.

“Maybe that’s naive but we played some great football today and the fans were outstanding.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Luton 1

Goals – Newcastle Perez 30, 36 Shelvey 39

Goals – Luton Hylton 49

Possession was Luton 51% Newcastle 49%

Total shots were  Luton 9 Newcastle 25

Shots on target were Luton 2 Newcastle 7

Corners were  Luton 7 Newcastle 7

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Manquillo, Lascelles (Hayden 31), Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Merino (Saivet 80), Shelvey (Diame 71), Murphy, Perez, Gayle

Unused Subs:

Darlow,  Joselu, Haidara, Aarons

Crowd: 47,069 (Approx 7,500 Luton)

(To read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the FA Cup win go HERE)

(Go HERE to watch the goals and highlights from Newcastle 3 Luton 1)

(Rafa Benitez analysis of win and update on Jamaal Lascelles injury situation HERE)

  • Andy Mac

    47k is not too shabby even allowing for 7k Luton ? I caught the stats and possession was around 67% for NUFC going into half time. So a well managed game up to half time by players and manager alike. Should have killed them off in the 2nd half but at least we’re through. Hopefully JL wont be out too long ?.

    • Kev Newcastle England

      Good assessment by their manager

  • HappyToons

    There are no easy cup ties if you’re NUFC from non-league Bedford,Hereford and Hendon to all the lower league teams, so it is a good win against an inform side who were an orange banana skin. Just glad we didn’t slip up. The year Spartans played Wrexham at St James park and Wrexham had just beaten us in the previous. I would have favoured Spartans to have beaten us, just glad Luton beat Gateshead!!

  • anyobrien

    Professional performance from players and raf… So many times in the past we have failed… Howay the lads.

  • gallowgate26

    Love the stats, even though I usually put very little importance to stats. Shots on target: Luton 2 Newcastle 7, Possession was Luton 51% Newcastle 49%…even against a League 2 side at home, we still managed to give up possession to the opposition. I’d be interested to see if we have over 50% possession in ANY game, for this entire season.

    • Clarko

      51.2% vs Brighton (A)
      52.1% vs West Brom (A)
      52.9% vs Burnley (A)
      55.0% vs Everton (H)
      55.3% vs Crystal Palace (H)

      • gallowgate26

        Hook, line and sinker….

        • Clarko

          I don’t know what that means in regards to my comment and I’m not sure that you do either.

          • GToon

            It is a term generally associated with fishing where not only does the fish take the hook but it takes everything with it – ie, a really good, easy catch. In this case I think gallowgate26 is referring to a comment being made with the knowledge that another reader renowned for his love of statistics (you) might “bite”. Hope that helps.😀

          • Clarko

            I provided information that he asked for, that is not a situation where the phrase “hook, line and sinker” applies. So no, you didn’t help.

          • GToon


          • Leazes62

            See ya team got the expected result today Clarkie. Possession means jackschit, only stat that matters is goals for and goals against

          • Clarko

            Sure. One question though. Where did I say that possession was important?

    • GToon

      There’s possession and then there’s possession. The possession we had involved going forward, keeping the ball and trying to open them up. The possession they had involved playing about with it on the wing to no great effect. To be honest I’m amazed at those stats as I would have said it was 60/40 in our favour. They are a decent side but offered very little other than a couple of awkward forwards who try and assert themselves on the defenders. It didn’t work today and should have been more like 5 or 6.

  • We keep giving the other team chances and going to deep after we scored 1 or more. We need to be controlling and breaking up play effectively after that, I don’t see it in most matches, didn’t see it today. Our midfield is failing us when we need to control the game and keep possession and frustrate the opposition. Shelvey CAN”T DEFEND and certainly should not be allowed to tackle a player! Thank GOD we have great defenders to cover for the midfield not being able to do their job. We must get a box-to-box midfielder and a proper enforcer to control games. The way I see it even if we don’t get a keeper or defenders we’ll be fine, but without proper midfielders and a Striker who is a threat to all teams in the Prem we will struggle to survive even this year with so many teams on the downfall like Swansea, Stoke, West Brom, Bournemouth and Palace.

    • GToon

      Out of the four used today Saivet did well when he came on, Shelvey did well with the ball, Merino was busy and Diame was just Diame. I would give Saivet more game time as I think he covers the ground well and keeps things simple. Him and Shelvey or Merino would be good I think. The player who stood out for me for the wrong reasons was Manquillo who I thought looked very poor. Poor control, distribution and link up play.

      • Soldier

        that`s because Manquillo like Joselu should be nowhere near playing in a premiership team, 1 was below average at Sunderland & the other couldn`t even get a game for Stole, another £9m wasted

        • GToon

          It was noticeable that they spotted Manquillo as being the weak link and every outball went straight out towards their left wing. Rafa coped with this by telling Hayden to get within “second ball distance” of Manquillo and his opponent. This worked to an extent.

  • Soldier

    poor second half which shows that we need at least 3 players in this window & the same again in the summer