Date: 22nd September 2010 at 11:30pm
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The sarcastic cries echoed around Stamford Bridge at the end of a pulsating Carling Cup tie and yet in them lay a certain truth following an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable victory over the ‘real’ Champions.

Because what was evident for all to see again, was a desire in the Newcastle squad and a resilience that could be priceless in order to do something meaningful this season, not least retain top flight status.

But tonight was all about the romance of the cup. Admittedly, the lesser of the two domestic knockout competitions but nonetheless an opportunity for an end of season trip to Wembley and the chance for a route into Europe next season.

Chris Hughton sent out almost a totally changed side from the one that won impressively at Everton at the weekend, with only Coloccini keeping his place. Chelsea made a number of changes themselves but still put out a strong side. And with the home side not having conceded a goal in ten hours, the omens weren’t good for an away win. Who could have guess what was to follow?

It was the Blues who took an early lead, although with a sloppy pass from Ranger and a bad mix-up between Krul and Campbell, it was really a gift you would have thought Newcastle couldn’t afford to give. And as fate would have it, it was former Toon loanee Van Aanholt who capitalised to put the hosts 1-0 up.

Newcastle had a decent chance to equalise almost immediately through Campbell, who failed to atone for his previous error. But they were thankful for Krul who did make up for his part in the first goal, palming away a great cross that was destined for Anelka’s head with the goal at his mercy at the other end.

With a frustrating spell from a number of Newcastle players, the writing looked to be on the wall until against the run of play, Shane Ferguson broke on the left and delivered a great cross which evaded everyone except Nile Ranger who arrived at the back post to ram home the equaliser.

The game seemed to turn on that goal, as Chelsea heads went down and Newcastle players seemed to begin to believe in themselves. And Ranger should have doubled his and his side’s tally when good work again on the left, saw Gutierrez put an inviting ball across the box but as Ranger shaped to half volley he completely miscued and kicked fresh air.

Moments later though, a long clearance from Krul bounced to Ameobi who turned and was hauled down on the edge of the Chelsea box. With a suspect looking wall and starting position for keeper Turnbull, there was a confident air about Ryan Taylor who once again proved his worth as a set-play specialist, dispatching the free kick brilliantly to put the black and whites 2-1 up.

An Ameobi chance was cleared off the line, when it looked like the lead might be extended. But the teams went into halftime with Magpie tails up and the prospect of an upset on the cards.

Coming out for the second half, Ancelotti made two subs and yet Newcastle still maintained the impetus and after a strong run from deep, and with the defenders backing off, Ameobi sidefooted his shot just inside Turnbull’s near post to extend the lead to 3-1.

After succesfully defending a free kick in a dangerous area, Newcastle then saw their opponents reduced to ten men, with injuries to Kalou and Benayoun and only one substitution allowable. And of course, if you didn’t know any better, you’d have thought that might have made things easier for the visitors. But nothing is ever easy in the world of Newcastle United.

Another Chelsea free kick was blocked, before first Lovenkrands and then Ameobi spurned good chances from the same range to make it 4-1 and effectively put the tie to bed. Hughton inexplicably chose that moment to swap Ryan Taylor for Tiote, leaving even the most ardent Taylor detractor scratching their heads, given that he was having a steady game. Coloccini also made way for Williamson in a double substitution.

And lo and behold with every action there is a reaction, this one seeing Anelka, who tormented the defence all night long, reduce the deficit with a well taken goal. And Chelsea did as all great teams do and had a right good go.

Ranger might have made it 4-2 after good work from Ferguson and Lovernkrands but his header was saved by Turnbull. And Hughton must have been bracing himself for the worst, when a very soft penalty was given for a foul by Tiote on centre half Alex. The Ivorian’s trailing hand barely brushed the big Brazilian, but his tumble was enough to convince referee Dowd it was a penalty. Up stepped Nicolas Anelka to make it 3-3.

And a breathless game seemed to go into overdrive as the hosts smelled blood. Anelka this time turning provider, as his cross was met with a stinging volley from Ferreira, which struck Krul’s post and out for a goal kick.

In the dying minutes, a weak Newcastle penalty claim was waved away as ball-to-hand and the corner was given. As the ball was flighted in, Ameobi rose majestically to power his header into the back of the net, for his second of the night and Newcastle’s fourth to the delight of the travelling contigent. And with six minutes injury time to play, Newcastle saw off some hopeful balls into the box to record a famous victory.

This may have been a second string game, and this may have been the Carling Cup. But this was also the Champions and the road to Wembley goes on. A classic night, when the new generation of ‘Entertainers’ put on a show. Newcastle United, who would have it any different?


6 Replies to “That’s why we’re Champions!”

  • Thrilling match, and I’m convinced (as I was prior to tonight) that you will finish well out of the relegation zone this season. As far as the match itself goes–well, let’s face it, put Cech in goal and I think we’d be looking at a different result. Turnbull was awful. But even if I’m wrong, it’s of little importance to Chelsea. Man City on Saturday will be far more significant.

  • Well done lads. Great game to watch, pity we lost but best of luck to ya for the remainder of the cup and also the league, except when playing us obviously 😉

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