A convincing FA Cup win for Newcastle United as goals from Joelinton, Almiron and Matty Longstaff help us put four past Rochdale at St James’ Park.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with our marks out of 10:
Darlow – 6 – Had very little to do aside from the odd comfortable save. Couldn’t have done much about Williams’ late goal for Rochdale, which was struck well and crept in off the post.
Hayden – 6 – Unspectacular but solid. Was rarely tested but cut out a couple of long balls thrown his way by Rochdale. A comfortable night despite being out of position.
Lascelles – 7 – A strong return from the skipper. Played a few nice diagonal passes out from defence to get us on the front foot and gave us a calming influence at the back. Looked tired in the early stages of the second half and was withdrawn after 56 minutes.
Lejeune – 7 – Passed the ball around with a good tempo early on came close with one powerful shot from range. Wasn’t tested defensively but was steady throughout.
Krafth – 7 – Didn’t look like a natural going forward from right wing-back, but defended well, making a few good interceptions and winning his fair share in the air. Tidy in possession but looks more of a defensive right-back – not an attacking wing-back.
S. Longstaff – 5 – A real mixed bag. Lost the ball in dangerous areas on more than one occasion, but did play some nice passes to spread the play at times. Looked a little leggy, being bypassed too easily by Rochdale runners.
M. Longstaff – 7 – Neat and tidy, typically industrious and made good runs into the box, with his smart touch and finish making it 2-0 early on. His third goal of the season and another game where he didn’t look out of place at senior level.
Ritchie – 8* – Worked hard in typical Matt Ritchie fashion and bagged two assists, with his dangerous crosses from the left setting up our opening two goals. A highly productive performance on his return to the starting 11.
Atsu – 4 – Used his pace to hurt Rochdale at times in our last meeting, but didn’t go at them enough tonight and lacked end product when he did.
Almiron – 8 – Linked the play quickly and cleverly in attack and was all action in his movement. Calm and composed for his goal, despite being gifted a big chance by Sanchez, and was unlucky not to score with an earlier effort, hitting the inside of the post. Another impressive display and clearly playing with more confidence!
Joelinton – 6 – Looked like a striker who was in desperate need of a goal early on, with several poor touches and easy giveaways, but his work rate was good throughout. His big moment arrived late on, however, with him finishing well from a Tom Allan cross in front of the Gallowgate. He struggled in general, but let’s hope this is the big confidence boost he needed and a turning point for the Brazilian.
Allan – 7 – The 20-year-old local lad came on for his first-team debut on 56 minutes, playing the final 35 minutes at right wing-back – despite being a winger by trade. Struggled a little early on and looked a little lightweight, but grew into the game and bagged a brilliant assist for Joelinton’s big goal, beating his man for pace and crossing well.
Carroll – 7 – Held the ball up well when he came on, although the match was like a training game at times late on. Laid the ball off nicely in the build up to Joelinton’s goal.
Shelvey – 6 – Slowed the game down as we cruised to victory late on. Kept the ball well and didn’t have to break sweat.