20 mins A
George Boyd corner was cleared back to the taker and when it was rebunded back
into the six yard box, Craig Mackail-Smith was there to nod in from close
range, before celebrating with jubilant home fans at the London Road end of
the ground 0-1
31 mins Debutant
defender Ben Tozer gave the ball away on the edge of the area and Tom
Williams squeezed a shot between Tim Krul and his near post
Half time: Posh 2 Toon 0
Two first half goals were enough to dump
United out of the Carling Cup at London Road on Tuesday evening, but while this
a competition circumstances dictated we weren't in a position to push for, the
bookings and dismissal of pivotal first team players may yet impact on our
Chris Hughton made ten changes to the side that beat Plymouth, only Steven
Taylor remaining from Saturday's starting XI (a groin strain ruled rookie Tamas Kadar
out - presumably from left back).
Drafted in were goalkeeper Tim Krul, debutant defensive duo James Tavernier
& Ben Tozer and midfield trio Ryan Donaldson, Kazenga LuaLua and Haris
Vuckic. The three subs used on Saturday were also retained in the side, while
four more untried reservists were on the bench. With Khizanishvili ineligible, messrs Harper, Enrique, Butt, Barton, Coloccini
& Carroll were all rested.
That one match ban came as a result of Guthrie's second yellow card of the
evening - a soft tackle to go with a thoughtless hoof of the ball that cost him a cheap
booking. Quite why the seemingly obvious precaution of replacing him at half
time was ignored is unclear, while Hughton's triple substitution after going
down to ten men was equally baffling.
The damage had already been done after an embarrassingly one-sided
first 45 minutes against a full -strength fellow Championship side who could
hardly believe their luck. Under pressure from the off, the Magpies
survived several scares, including an almighty scramble that saw the ball
rebound back off the bar and bounce around pinball style, before Posh
inevitably opened the scoring and then quickly added a
For anyone who didn't attend and only saw the BBC highlights, the lack of any
Newcastle attempts on goal in the footage can be explained by the fact there
weren't any. A strong first half penalty shout for a foul on Lovenkrands proved to be almost
our sole riposte, with only an energetic display from Krul (aided by his goal
frame) preventing a wider winning margin.
It seemed to be only a question of when the
home side would add to the score and they came close near the end when Alan Smith cleared
from Craig Morgan, amid claims the ball had crossed the line.
Krul saved from Aaron McLean once more in the dying seconds but there was never
any danger of the home side not making it into the draw for the Fourth Round
and their increasingly off-beam goal attempts meant that the score remained
within non-headline making proportions.
That will have come as little consolation to the travelling support however,
who grumbled and moaned but to their credit, never collectively barracked the
There were opportunities for various positive things to have come out of this
tie, regardless of the final result. As it is, none of those were
achieved, save for further pitch time for Lovenkrands and Krul wearing in
his new gloves; certainly Geremi and Nolan could have done without playing in this
one, while the logic of Barton and possibly Butt playing seemed
One can only assume that this was Hughton's attempt at
highlighting the paucity of his squad as Sam Allardyce did at Hull in a pre-
season game two years ago. Trying to apply any other logic to his strategy is a
fruitless task - assuming that the senior player "committee" weren't
dictating who did what.
Posh had beaten us 4-3 on Tyneside in this competition forty four years ago to
the day, when two three divisions separated the sides. Despite a DVD of the
2009 game quickly going on sale though, this outcome was no cup giant-killing,
merely a confirmation of the thinness of our current squad.
As we've said before,
giving young players squad numbers does not instantly make them first -teamers.
and this is another wake-up call to the
management that we may have a team to push for promotion, but certainly not a
This time last season, the promotion credentials of Burnley were sketchy, but
the men from Turf Moor were to build up a head of steam that took them through
the playoffs on the back of a morale-boosting run to the semi-finals.
Our absence from the Fourth Round denies us that, but does at least allow the
first team squad to recharge their batteries after three league outings in
eight days next month with a nine day break before their trip to Sheffield
United. On a more instant level, we also avoided playing extra time and the
substitutes avoided disciplinary or injury mishaps.
In a perfect world, our youngsters would have been blooded in this competition
- but for other clubs. Unfortunately the club's current predicament means that
they were virtual cannon fodder as we fulfilled our fixture commitment.
On the basis that this club has been in far better health on and off the field
when calamity has struck it in this competition, we cannot get too worked up
about this cup exit. It would be nice to think that we'd make more of a fist of
the FA Cup, but in reality we'd rather come back here next April looking to
complete a league double over Darren Ferguson's side.
PS: NUFC revealed on Thursday that Barton was carrying a foot injury that would
rule him out of Saturday's trip to Ipswich and he was therefore unavailable for
Confirmation of that makes the second half deployment of Nolan,
Geremi and Smith following Guthrie's dismissal even more bizarre - running the
risk of further decimating our midfield ahead of Saturday in a meaningless
match we were going to lose.