Tuesday November 7th 2006
WATFORD 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Newcastle won 5-4 on penalties)
WATFORD: Lee, Doyley, DeMerit, Shittu, Stewart, Young, Francis,Spring, Bouazza, Henderson, Priskin (Bangura 73).
Subs Not Used: Chamberlain, Mackay, Powell, McNamee.
NEWCASTLE: Harper, Carr, Ramage, Taylor, Babayaro, Milner,Emre, Parker, Duff, Sibierski (N’Zogbia 114),Rossi (Solano 100).
Subs Not Used: Srnicek, Luque, Huntington.
Newcastle are through to the quarter finals of the Carling Cup after a strange rollercoaster ride when the tie was only decided on penalties after 120 minutes when either side could have won it.
Perhaps we will never know how much Glenn Roeder owes Steve Harper for keeping the club in the competition and taking the flak off a club that, once again, finds itself on the front page of the newspapers rather than the back.
The immense pressure on the board of directors has mounted the pressure on the pitch. And who knows if chairman Freddy Shepherd barged into the dressing room before the pitch (as he said he would do) and ‘remind the players who they play for’. Roeder said he was unaware of it, but the way Shepherd sacked the manager’s assistant Kevin Bond without even telling the manager, I wouldn’t be surprised if Roeder hasn’t the foggiest idea WHAT is going on at this club of ours.
As the chairman continues to tell everyone how proud he is to be a Geordie; how he wants a Geordie manager; a Geordie team; and pair of Geordie slippers for Christmas … it was Frenchman Antoine Sibierski who headed Newcastle ahead in the third minute. Matthew Spring up-ended Emre and the Turkish midfielder’s resultant free-kick was met by Sibierski’s shaven head to give the Magpies the perfect start.
Sibierski might have had another before the quarter-hour mark and Damien Duff forced another save from Lee before Watford twice came close to an equaliser as half-time approached.
Giuseppe Rossi was put clear in first-half stoppage time and he really should have scored but allowed Lee to slide out and get the ball.
Newcastle were the better team throughout, but if you don’t take your chances you inevitably suffer a sucker punch. Newcastle back line was finally breached as Young’s free-kick was flicked on by Spring and Francis was able to slide in and prod home from unmissable range.
Newcastle continued to soak up pressure and try to score on the break and in the 83rd minute Duff’s low drive beat Lee but bounced back off the far post.
The final period of extra-time saw Watford convert another set-piece when Shittu got away from Steven Taylor to power an unstoppable header past Harper.
But Roeder threw on Charles N’Zogbia for Sibierski and with three minutes remaining Parker popped up with the equaliser, calmly slipping the ball past Lee with a deft finish after Nolberto Solano had put him through.
The tie was decided on penalties and despite a miss from James Milner, Stewart was the unlucky man for Watford as he failed to beat Harper at the sudden death stage.
Watford 2 Newcastle Utd 2
Tuesday November 7th 2006