Saturday, January 3, 2009

Newcastle earns replay against Hull in FA Cup

Joe Kinnear will be pleased as his injury plagued side fought hard to a nil draw against Hull City in the FA Cup. While fans won’t be able to make claim of the match keeping them on the edge of their seat, it did possess a series of close misses and the saving work of Shay Given once again. Noteworthy for Newcastle was naturally the continued work of the Republic of Ireland ‘keeper but additionally the continued deployment of Andrew Carroll paired alongside Michael Owen, to which I am delighted to see Joe Kinnear give young striker an opportunity to shine. Unfortunately the match did come at a cost as Charles N’Zogbia was injured and needed to be substituted with Jonás Gutiérrez before the break.

Of worthy to note the match did feature a meeting of Craig Fagan and Danny Guthrie, who was responsible for the Hull City man broken leg early this fall and as expected with each touch, Danny Guthrie was received with a chorus of boos from the loyal home fans. For the most part, Hull City was the responsible for the majority of scoring opportunities. Former Rangers Daniel Cousin came close on a few occasions but each being held off by ‘keeper Shay Given. Newcastle was equally the beneficiary of a very close call by the referee with eighteen minutes remaining as Michael Turner headed appeared to cross the line before the Shay Given pulled the ball back. The Magpies opportunities were few and far between with close range efforts late in the match by Michael Owen and young Andy Carroll drifting off mark.

Following the match Newcastle coach Chris Hughton said on the club web-site:

“The game became very open after the break and both teams had chances to win it, although I thought a draw was fair.

“I thought we were the better side in the first-half. I also felt we had the best chances to win the game.

“It was very open second-half and Michael Owen had a good chance. They had a couple of good chances also and in some ways it was a typical cup tie.

“We were looking to bounce back after Liverpool. We knew we were up against a very good side in Liverpool and I think sometimes after the game you come off and put your hands up and appreciate the quality they’ve got.

“The important thing is that we did bounce back and got back to keeping clean sheets.

“Our record away from home recently has been very good.

“Our big priority is the Premier League but it’s a very welcome relief from that to be involved in the cup and for our supporters as well, you so how many we had here today and how vocal they were.

“We expect a very tough game at St.James’. They are a very good side and came to St.James’ and performed very well earlier in the season, but we’re at home and it’s important we make progress.

With the draw the Magpies will now be able to face Hull in a replay at St James’ Park on January 14.