Both Ameobi brothers found the net late on at the Globe Arena to spare United’s blushes against League Two Morecambe last night.
It took until the 84th minute for the breakthrough to be found but eventually Shola Ameobi found the bottom corner of the Morecambe net before his younger added a second on the breakaway in the last minute of time added on.
This is not to take anything away from Morecambe who gave things a real go and could have been a couple of goals to the good had it not been for some goal-line intervention from Dan Gosling and some superb saves from Rob Elliot. However it wasn’t to be and it was Newcastle who progressed to earn themselves a third round tie at home Leeds United.
Morecambe pressurised us all over the park and aside from an early header from Dan Gosling it was the home side who had the bulk of the play. If Gosling’s header was a bit wasteful his efforts at the other end weren’t as he was twice called into action to clear off the line – first from defender Mark Hughes’ header and then from another headed effort from Padraig Amond.
Indeed Amond had another great chance to put the unfancied Shrimps ahead but he found Rob Elliot equal to his efforts as the former Charlton man produced a fine double save to ensure parity wasn’t broken. The hosts had most definitely had the best of the first period and the best United could muster was a free-kick from Gael Bigirimana which dipped and swerved ala Gareth Bale/Cristiano Ronaldo but was hit straight at the Morecambe ‘keeper.
Alan Pardew said he was taking this competition seriously but with eight changes made to the starting side he took a risk. Some players took their chance, like Paul Dummett who impressed again, while other like Haris Vuckic struggled to get into the game with the Slovenian being replaced by Shola Ameobi at half-time.
Indeed it was a change that almost had an immediate impact as Gosling fed the older Ameobi who was clean through on goal only to fire over the bar with just Barry Roche in the Morecambe goal to beat. A glaring miss but the introduction of Shola gave us a presence up front which Yoan Gouffran couldn’t offer alone in the first period and helped us claw our way back into the game.
Sylvain Marveaux wasted another chance for the away side as he ballooned a volley over the bar from ten yards out while at the other end Jack Sampson hit the side-netting offering a reminder that although United were on top they still weren’t out of danger.
However that changed on 84 minutes when Hatem Ben Arfa fed the ball to Shola Ameobi who turned on the outside of the area before firing an early shot on goal which beat Barry Roche with the help of a deflection to put the away side ahead.
Morecambe tried to rally and exerted pressure in the late stages but it was then that United added a second with an incisive breakaway which saw Ben Arfa feed the ball to Sammy Amoebi leaving the younger brother to advance, dance past two defenders and finish past Roche to out the tie beyond doubt.
Morecambe gave us a stern test and to be honest I expect nothing else. This was their night, a glamour night for a side who have not long been involved in league football and they gave it everything they got. United may have got the result but Morecambe can hold their heads high after this.
Howay the lads!
Morecambe: Barry Roche; Mark Hughes, Tony Diagne, Andy Parrish, Andrew Wright; Ryan Williams, Stewart Drummond, Andrew Fleming; Kevin Ellison, Jack Sampson, Padraig Amond
Subs: Andreas Arestidou, Robbie Threlfall, Alex Kenyon, Marcus Marshall, Chris McCready, Joe McGee, Joe Mwasile
Newcastle: Rob Elliot; Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Curtis Good, Paul Dummett; Gael Bigirimana, Dan Gosling; Sammy Ameobi, Haris Vuckic, Sylvain Marveaux; Yoan Gouffran
Subs: Jak Alnwick, Davide Santon, Remie Streete, Vurnon Anita, Moussa Sissoko, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi