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Steve Bruce says Mike Ashley ‘delighted’ to reach FA Cup fifth round for very first time

2 months ago
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Steve Bruce thought his team deserved it after progressing to the FA Cup fifth round at the Kassam Stadium.

He is probably correct…but there wasn’t much in it.

Very good goals from Joelinton and especially Sean Longstaff put Newcastle in charge after half an hour.

However, Steve Bruce does have a bit of a selective memory when he says NUFC were then in ‘complete control’ until the final 10 minute.

Once they went two up, that was the point when the visitors slackened their press on the home side, whether they weren’t capable of  keeping that pressure up, or Steve Bruce sent out orders to go more defensive, who knows?

Anyway, maybe the key spell of the match came towards the end of the first half as Oxford got forward for the first time really and instantly threatened. An excellent save from Karl Darlow followed by an even better blocking header from Lascelles with the keeper beaten.

After surviving those scares, Newcastle definitely looked to be trying simply to see the game out and up to a point they succeeded. However, as they got nearer and nearer to the finishing line they retreated closer and closer to their own goal, inviting Oxford to have a go.

They did and scored two excellent goals, coming close on a number of other occasions as well with the fifth round almost in reach.

When the equaliser went in and the game got to extra time you feared the worst. However, after the first five to ten minutes of extra time the game became more even and as penalties looked inevitable, with only four minutes to go ASM struck with a superb individual winner.

He had looked the likely/only route if Newcastle were to win it and with a game opened up against lower league opposition and isolated defenders, he had the perfect scenario. He should have probably done better with a number of previous chances/situations but eventually he made it count.

Steve Bruce says he is sure that the watching Mike Ashley would have went home ‘delighted’ to reach FA Cup round five for the first time in his 13 year reign.

Against two League One clubs it had taken four games, extra time and over six and a half hours of football but eventually we had all indeed reached the promised land of getting through two rounds of the FA Cup…

As the stats point to below (50% possession for both, Oxford more shots (20) and corners) it could have gone either way.

Yet again it was Steve Bruce carrying the luck though and we got away with it against a team ranked 40 places below NUFC as things currently stand.

Steve Bruce:

“I am sure Mike Ashley will go home delighted.

“It is the first time in his era that we have got past the fourth round, which I’m sure he will be delighted about.

“It is significant for the club…a club like ours needs to be getting into the fifth round.

“I know what it does for the city and the supporters, who have come a million miles to get here today.

“I thought we deserved it.

“I know that it turned into a hairy cup-tie in the last 10 minutes and was great for the neutral, although if you’re a Newcastle fan, I’m sure parts of it weren’t great

“If there was ever an FA Cup game to grab a hold of you…I genuinely thought we were in complete control until the last ten minutes when the boy bends one in the top corner.

“I couldn’t remember my goalkeeper making a save before that and then they win a free-kick, I’m not so sure it was one, they win two headers and the boy smashes the volley in.

“We then had a difficult five or ten minutes in the first half of extra-time but I thought overall the better team won the cup tie.

“We missed a bit of a focal point when Joe(linton) went off and that sums our luck up, he made one and scores one, then he has to come off.

“Hopefully he hasn’t cracked a rib or damaged a rib – we will have to see.”

On Sean Longstaff:

“He had a serious knee injury towards the back end of last season and people tend to forget that – He will learn how to cope with that.

“Today we gave him a bit of freedom and he gave me food for thought because we know he can score a goal, we have seen that in training enough.

“We gave him that little bit of freedom and I think he enjoyed it and he put in his best performance of the season by a million miles and I was delighted with him, he looked a threat all evening.

“We have needed a wonder goal from Allan (Saint-Maximin) to finish it but overall we have deserved it.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Oxford 2 Newcastle 3 (AET) – Tuesday 4 February 8.05pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Sean Longstaff, 15, Joelinton 30, ASM 116

Oxford United:

Kelly 84, Holland 90+4

Possession was Oxford 50%, Newcastle 50%

Total shots were Oxford 20 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were Oxford 5, Newcastle 7

Corners were Oxford 6, Newcastle 4

Crowd: 11,520 (incl 1,800 Newcastle)

Referee: Peter Bankes

Newcastle team v Oxford:

Darlow, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune (Clark 97), Ritchie, Sean Longstaff, Bentaleb (Atsu 103), Matty Longstaff, Almiron (Hayden 90), Joelinton (Saint-Maximin 37)

Unused Subs

Elliot, Fernandez, Allan

(Watch all 3 Newcastle United goals including cracking ASM winner – Oxford 2 Newcastle 3 – Read HERE)

(Oxford 2 Newcastle 3 (AET) – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Oxford 2 Newcastle 3 (AET) – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Tuesday night’s dramatic win – Read HERE)

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