Newcastle bowed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle yesterday to extend what is a miserable run in this competition under Alan Pardew.
Defeats to Stevenage, Brighton twice and now Cardiff (our first defeat against the Bluebirds since 1981) mean that Pardew has won just one game in the FA Cup during his tenure at United.
Passionate stories of his past in this competition with attendance in finals for Crystal Palace as a player and then West Ham as a manager mean little for us this morning. Alan Pardew blamed science in his post-match interview which may have been tongue in cheek but doesn’t sit well with me. How about he just says we weren’t good enough on the day?
Seven changes were made to the side which lost at West Brom, four of them enforced through injuries to Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini and Yohan Cabaye with the fourth enforced change owing to Mathieu Debuchy’s red card at the Hawthorns last weekend. However those that came into the side did little to stake their claim for a first-team spot when everyone is fit.
The best we could manage in the first period was a Hatem Ben Arfa effort which rebounded off the post in what was proving to be a poor game of football with little sign of quality from either side.
The early exchanges in the second period once again saw Ben Arfa denied by the frame of the goal spurring on an improvement in the performance of the home side.
Just after the hour mark that improvement yielded a goal for the home side as Moussa Sissoko sprung an offside trap and bore down on goal. His effort was blocked but fell kindly for Papiss Cisse who was on hand, and onside, to apply a simple finish.
The hosts then backed off allowing Cardiff a way back into the game. New boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shuffled his pack and brought on Frazier Campbell who struck a shot from distance against a post before another substitute, Craig Noone, lashed in an equaliser from 25 yards.
If that wasn’t enough the away side took the lead with ten minutes remaining through Frazier Campbell who was left unmarked from a corner and headed home.
The home side rallied briefly but couldn’t raise their game enough to force the tie into a replay and once again it was United who bowed out in the early stages once more.
The “magic of the cup” is getting less and less as the years go by. Coverage is weak and interest is less intense partly down to the fact there just isn’t the same level of financial gain in a cup than there is in a league.
However I’m still disappointed and annoyed that we’re out. Last year there were genuinely greater concerns like staying in the league which we just managed but this year there was no reason to not have a real go at it.
Oh well. I guess we can just concentrate on finishing ninth or wherever and that’ll do. For those upstairs at least….
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Rob Elliot; Davide Santon, Steven Taylor, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara; Cheik Tiote, Vurnon Anita; Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran; Papiss Cisse
Subs: Jak Alnwick, Paul Dummett, Mike Williamson, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy
Cardiff: David Marshall; Kevin McNaughton, Mark Hudson, Ben Turner, Declan John; Peter Whittingham, Kim Bo-Kyung, Aron Gunnarsson, Don Cowie; Peter Odemwingie, Andreas Cornelius
Subs: Joe Lewis, Steven Caulker, Frazier Campbell, John Brayford, Tommy Smith, Craig Noone, Craig Conway