Newcastle United were once again, found wanting in front of goal as they face Plymouth in the third round of the F.A Cup. Boss Chris Hughton decided to use the full squad with players such as Krul, Kadar, and Nile Ranger getting first team run-outs.
The Toon Army, who descended on the South Coast in their thousands, could be forgiven for wondering why Newcastle weren’t taking the F.A Cup seriously. The likes of Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool have such large squads that they can afford to rotate players. Clearly, this is a signal of intent by NUFC that the league is their priority, but the question has to be asked, would you rather take a lesser squad with the chance of a replay, or take your first team squad and win the game at the first time of asking?
The pitch at Home Park was hardly one that allowed free-flowing football, but Fabrice Pancrate, who could have had a hat-trick, could hardly blame the surface of the field for being so wasteful. Hopefully the Frenchman’s stunning finish at St. James’s Park a few weeks ago wasn’t a fluke.
With Newcastle building momentum, Nicky Butt had a delicate chip tipped onto the bar by the Plymouth Keeper. Lovenkrands and Gutierrez were brought on to replace Pancrate and Alan Smith, but the goal Newcastle were threatening to score never came.
So, we have to play one more game that we could have done without, but we’re in the hat for the fourth round of the F.A Cup.