I feel slightly embarrassed calling qualifying for the fourth round of the League Cup a “cup run” but all the same we are still in the competition.
Unfortunately as reward for dispatching Leeds United we now have to face Manchester City at St James’ Park at the tail end of October – a fixture that will be sandwiched between a visit to Sunderland and the welcoming of Chelsea to St James’ Park in what could prove to be a defining week for United.
However this about last night so I won’t go too much further into the future and will instead focus on the fairly comfortable victory over Leeds. In truth United were easy winners without playing at their best but the job has been done and with Papiss Cisse finally finding the net I’m hopeful that will give him some confidence to take back into our Premier League fixtures.
Despite the comfortable nature of the victory it was the away side who very nearly drew first blood when Ross McCormack found space in front of goal only to see his lobbed effort glance off the crossbar.
Leeds tried to control the middle of the lark but United eventually started to come to terms with that and started to take control of the game themselves. Fabricio Coloccini saw a header from a Sylvain Marveaux corner cleared off the line before Yoan Gouffran headed wide from a Sammy Ameobi cross. Cheik Tiote saw an effort tipped wide at the near post and Papiss Cisse hit the side netting from a narrow angle after turning the Leeds defence before Matt Smith fired a warning to United, forcing Tim Krul into a save to deny the former Oldham man.
However, on 31 minutes, the home side finally made the breakthrough, and it was a goal that Papiss Cisse and his supporters have been waiting for over 1,000 minutes. Paul Dummett played the ball down the left for Sammy Amoebi who crossed perfectly for Papiss Cisse who nodded home from eight yards without having to break stride. Considering some of the sitters he’s missed in recent weeks, this was a decent finish.
Half-time: Newcastle 1-0 Leeds
It’s fair to say that the second period took a while to get going, but once it did the first real noteworthy action was worth waiting for. Sammy Ameobi played the ball into Yoan Gouffran. With his back towards goal the former Bordeaux man took a touch to get away from defender Scott Wootton before hammering a right-footed shot past Paddy Kenny and into the Gallowgate net from the edge of the penalty area – his first ever goal at St James’ Park.
That goal pretty much killed Leeds and the game as a contest but it the home side could and should have added more through Gabriel Obertan who was set free of the Leeds defence twice only to fluff his lines on both occasions.
Full-time: Newcastle 2-0 Leeds
All in all a comfortable win and a potential banana skin avoided. A decent enough performance without being anything special but it’s job done and we live to fight another day in the Capital One Cup.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Paul Dummett; Vurnon Anita, Cheik Tiote; Sylvain Marveaux, Yoan Gouffran, Sammy Ameobi; Papiss Cisse
Subs: Jak Alnwick, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Dan Gosling, Gael Bigirimana, Gabriel Obertan, Haris Vuckic, Hatem Ben Arfa
Leeds: Paddy Kenny, Sam Byram, Scott Wootton, Jason Pearce, Stephen Warnock, Rodolph Austin, Alex Mowatt, Michael Tonge, Ross McCormack, Dom Poleon, Matt Smith
Subs: Alex Cairns, Luke Murphy, Paul Green, Noel Hunt, Aidy White, Michael Brown, El Hadji Diouf
Attendance: 36,220 – Higher than I was expecting but also boosted by roughly 6,000 travelling away fans.