Saturday night ended Newcastle 0 Blackburn 1.

A remarkable crowd of over thirty six thousand watching utter rubbish for the vast majority of the game.

As second-half substitutes were introduced, Newcastle’s performance did improve up to a point and eventually that led to a game-saving penalty wit six minutes left on the clock.

The Editor asked me beforehand to write about 3 positives and 3 negatives from the game, so here goes…

POSITIVES

Newcastle are still in the FA Cup

The dream lives on, Matt Ritchie’s penalty meaning Newcastle United will be in the fourth round draw on Monday night.

In this 12th year of Mike Ashley’s ownership, can NUFC finally reach the FA Cup fifth round?

36,440

Quite remarkable, over thirty six thousand people turning out to watch this.

I couldn’t list any valid reasons as to why anybody should have turned up, apart from the fact that this is a chance to bring along those, especially kids, who don’t normally get the chance to get to matches, with the help of decent ticket prices.

Despite everything Mike Ashley throws at us, this underlines the incredible support Newcastle United has. I would estimate at least 20,000-25,000 were not season ticket holders. Just imagine if one day this was a club ran with ambitious by decent owners…

To illustrate the point as a comparison, Sunderland had only 8,212 at the Stadium of Light when they were knocked out of the FA Cup last month.

Florian Lejeune

Clearly he wasn’t 100% after having only had 45 minutes of reserve football after his bad injury – but very impressive how quickly he has come back that pre-season blow.

Along with Schar it meant we had two centre-backs comfortable on the ball and to be honest, more comfortable on the ball than most of those playing further up the pitch.

He is one player who will undoubtedly benefit from having the replay as another guaranteed 90 minutes, by the end of this month he should hopefully be just about back to full fitness and looking to start in the Premier League.

NEGATIVES

Newcastle are still in the FA Cup

Matt Ritchie’s 84th minute penalty means that Newcastle are in the draw tomorrow night.

This guarantees an extra game only days before the key relegation clash with Cardiff on Saturday 19 January, not what Rafa Benitez wanted in any shape or form.

The draw also keeps the possibility alive of a fourth round tie on the weekend of Saturday 26 January, once again something Rafa could do without, as NUFC have Premier League matches against both Man City and Spurs inside the following week.

On the fringe

It was a much-changed side (8 changes) full of players who might feel they deserve more of a chance in the Premier League games.

Not one of them did anything to convince that this is the case.

Longstaff wasn’t helped by those around him and Woodman was left exposed for the goal as Dack had a free header (though he should have still maybe saved it).

However, none of the more established/obvious fringe players contributed anything to the match, or towards convincing Rafa Benitez.

I didn’t know you cared…

Even worse than lacking quality, it is difficult to believe that all of those Newcastle players gave it everything against Blackburn.

It all sounds a bit hollow now, this idea that no matter what, we now have a squad full of players who really care and always give 100%.

Joselu, Hayden, Kenedy and Murphy being the prime suspects. The likes of Sterry, Longstaff and Manquillo may not have been very good but lack of effort wasn’t something you could accuse that trio of.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Blackburn 1

Goals…

Newcastle – Ritchie 84 (Pen)

Blackburn – Dack 56

Possession was Blackburn 46% Newcastle 54%

Total shots were  Blackburn 7 Newcastle 19

Shots on target were Blackburn 3 Newcastle 9

Corners were  Blackburn 8 Newcastle 7

Referee: Kevin Friend

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Manquillo , Schar, Lejeune, Sterry, Ritchie, Longstaff (Perez 80), Hayden (Shelvey 57), Murphy (Atsu 75), Kenedy, Joselu

Unused Subs:

Harker, Clark, Yedlin, Rondon

Crowd: 36,440  (3,000 Blackburn)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction HERE)

(Rafa Benitez “A replay is bad news” – Read HERE)

(Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players v Blackburn – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Blackburn 1 – Match report HERE)

(Blackburn fans comment on the 1-1 draw HERE)

To feature like Sam Hepworth submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • Kenny

    A remarkable crowd to watch utter rubbish,
    you could say that for every home game.
    3 positives, Lejuene & Shelvey, i`ll have to get back to you for number 3.

    • molend

      Ye’re reet, kidder, but at the same time… ‘Positives’ are a centre-back coming back from injury and a mid-fielder coming on for a few minutes at the end. As you say, ‘utter rubbish’. Now, I’m well known among the cognoscenti on this site for my perspicacity regarding all things football. Yet every time there’s a conference of the best coaches in the world, Rafa bloody Benitez gets the nod ahead of me. If he’s that good, why aren’t we winning everything in sight? He’s got Joselu, Perez, Kenedy, Diame et al. for goodness’ sake.

  • Big Al 1967

    People question why Rafa does not rotate his squad and give others a chance. Last night showed all the reasons you need.
    ASHLEY OUT!

  • pedrodelgardo

    As somebody already said if we don’t invest and go down the Premier League standard players will move on and this is what we will have left, mid table championship level.

  • Billmag

    Wonder if the Fulham fans are as vociferous over their manager as some of our fans have been over Rafa, there leading goalscorer (Mitro) being benched and Fulham out of the Cup, maybe some people need to cut our manager some slack it isn’t easy dealing with a [email protected]@ like Ashley.

    • Tommy

      Not the defeats or the draws, it`s the manner in which we go about it,
      Joselu was just useless and with 20 or 30 minutes to go Rafa could have put on Rondon but he didn`t. He had some of the young players in the squad, what he didn`t have was the top scorer at the club in it.
      you figure it out, i can`t.

      • Billmag

        Here’s a clue he is trying his best to keep this club afloat under adverse conditions, you don’t work with the player’s Rafa does and if he thinks Sorensen isn’t ready yet that’s good enough for me.

        • Tommy

          and Joselu is. game on game on game on game useless.
          it was a cup game and 20 minutes for Sorenson would have found out if he was.

          • Billmag

            You obviously don’t back the manager whereas I do.

          • Tommy

            I back the manager i`m just sick of seeing the same old rubbish, he even plays Joselu in front of a £10m striker.
            whats that all about.

          • Billmag

            That same old rubbish got the team to 10th in spite of Ashley and not because of him.

          • Tommy

            that`s no excuse for paying £10m for a striker and you put Joselu in ahead of him, it is nonsense, and by the end of the month we will be in the relegation zone.

          • Billmag

            Fulham left a £25ml striker on the bench today and they are out of the Cup to a third division side. Joselu is one player, we have another 9 outfield player’s that should make a difference.

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            Baaaack the manager baaaa baaaa baaaaack the manager

          • Themoscow72

            Rafa took the mick on Saturday. Could have started with a better team took certain players off after 60 minutes but did it in reverse and now we have a replay madness. To play with one up front was criminal. My crowd prediction was 82 out which I gave you.

          • Damon Horner

            Just a theory but maybe Rafa is thinking he’d benefit more from the mackem game midweek?

  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    Is Rafa Benitez management philosophy no matter the opposition not a negative?

  • Themoscow72

    The three positives Perez coming on, Perez taking the Blackburn defence on and Perez winning the penalty. The three negatives Rafa starting with one up front with the nearest player to Joselu forty yards away, the best players on the bench, Rafa waking up to late so now we have a replay. I blame Ashley for his mistakes on Saturday think not.

    • Wezza

      Yes we all thought you’d say something like that! For me Perez dived. The competition is meaningless as always and we can look forward to a replay where the reserves will play again. Monk would you rather he play full strength or make sure players are 100% for Cardiff game?
      What did your guests think of the game? I feel really sorry for them coming all this way to watch what I thought was the worst drivel in a long time! That’s what FCB made sure of… a threadbare squad.
      How much will be spent this month?
      I’m going for zero.