Not a lot of positives have graced Newcastle United over the past 10 years. The man who was responsible for those issues made a rare appearance to see his team play, while Steve Bruce was on the sidelines, in front of 30,000 fans.
One thing Bruce made sure of that him, nor the Newcastle United supporters would have anything to complain about. Newcastle easily beat League One Rochdale by a score of 4-1 and it was a rare dominate display for the toon. Something us supporters wish to see more often.
The first question in everyone’s mind was how strong of a lineup would NUFC name with the injuries and them playing at home against Rochdale but it was certainly a strong lineup.
Darlow, Krafth, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Matty Longstaff, Atsu, Joelinton, Almiron
Seeing the initial lineup the first thing coming to my mind, and I swear I said this, “This lineup should be able to beat Rochdale convincingly, I’m thinking 4-0”. I was close but not far off.
Second thing I wondered was, are we going to go with a 4 back or a 3 back? We will go into it in the next paragraph. Let’s get into the match.
Once the match got underway, Newcastle went into a 3-5-2 with Hayden being the right side of the three CBs, Atsu was deployed in a central mid role and was given a lot of freedom to roam in this one. I was surprised by this because of the success he had on the right side in our last match against them. Almiron and Joelinton were deployed up top.
Instantly NUFC took over in this one. Dominating possession. The goal in this one was to actually take advantage of our chances this time. That they did.
17th Minute: GOAL! 1-0 NUFC (Own Goal)
Ritchie broke free down the left and sent a cross into the box which Rochdale’s defender O’Connell tried to make a risky clearance that put the ball right in the back of his own net. Ritchie loved it though and all of his teammates went over to congratulate him.
20th Minute: GOAL! 2-0 NUFC (M. Longstaff)
From this point forward, Newcastle’s attack dismantled Rochdale’s defense. This one came once again from a Ritchie cross on the left side. Matty knocked the ball down, and took another touch in the box (probably could of taken another one) and blasted it into the net for most likely the easiest goal he will score this year.
26th Minute: GOAL! 3-0 NUFC (Almiron)
Speaking of easy goal, this one was just that. The keeper literally just gave Almiron the ball. Once he received it, he patiently waited and waited for the keeper to make a move and once he did, Almiron easily scored. His 4th goal in 7 games.
The rest of the 1st half was Newcastle dominating. Rochdale tried to push Atsu out wide and when they did, he would just get the wall to the wing-backs for them to create. It was very straightforward, dominante football.
HT 3-0 NUFC
A 3 goal lead and no injuries. That is a double win for us. The 2nd half started and you can tell the energy had dropped a bit. I didn't want Almiron on the pitch anymore because he needed to rest for the match this weekend but overall Newcastle continued to play good, open football.
57th Minute: Substitution - Allan on for Lascelles
Tom Allan makes his first team debut. This was really cool to see. I’ve mentioned him a lot on CHN Radio and in the last article. He has been having a fantastic season for the U23s, and deserved an award for his play. When he got on the pitch, you could tell he wanted to chance. He brought a refreshing new life into the match.
Outside of Allan, NUFC relaxed a lot and let Rochdale go forward more often. They tried, and you have to award them for their effort.
62 Minute: Substitution - Carroll on for Almiron
69th Minute: Substitution - Shelvey for Ritchie
Even Jonjo was a tad relaxed playing balls. Jonjo is known for his ability to ping long balls all over the pitch, but up 3-0, he just took the short stuff, the easy, obvious routes. For once, it was refreshing to see.
82 Minute: GOAL 4-0 NUFC (Joelinton)
GOALINTON! It was so needed. During this match it was desperate to the point that the NUFC fanbase was willing him to score like we were for Almiron. He got his! A great run from Tom Allan and an even better cross from the right hand side. A low ball that Big Joe got to and buried. Tom Allan’s first top flight assist, and Big Joe’s 1st Fa Cup goal.
86th Minute: Rochdale Goal 4-1 (Williams)
NUFC advanced to the 4th round of the FA Cup and will host League One Oxford United. It was a great performance for them. 4 goals, no injuries, both Miggy and Joelinton scored, you gotta be happy about this one.
Stats and Things:
- 3 goals in 3 games for Miguel Almiron
- As mentioned above, this was Tom Allan’s first team debut for Newcastle United
- January, 2008 was the last time NUFC scored 4 goals at home in a FA Cup tie. We beat Stoke City by a score of 4-1.
- Big Joe got on the scoresheet. As we’ve seen with Almiron, it only takes one goal to get things going again.
- Matty Longstaff is now 3rd on the team in goals behind Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey
- Sunderland are still in League One
”We put the game to bed very early, which was good, and it enabled us to bring on Andy (Carroll) and Jonjo (Shelvey) for 20, 25 minutes. We came off a little bit in the second half, which is normal.
”We can’t ask for more than a home draw in the next round. If we treat Oxford with the same respect we showed Rochdale in the first half we’ve got a chance.
”Everybody is OK tonight. First time I’ve been able to say that for weeks!”
”We all know what it’s like to have the number nine shirt here. To be fair to the young lad, he’s found it a struggle. You’ve got to keep working at it.
”The reason we kept him was could there be a moment where he can get a goal? You could see what it meant to him.
”I never worried because I could watch Joelinton in training and you can see what he’s got.
”There’s an expectation on you and if you’ve got a big transfer fee and you’re young, sometimes it becomes difficult.
”The difference in the last five minutes and the first five minutes was evident. Let’s hope it’s another Almiron - we had to wait a while for him but he’s now got four in the last few games.”
On Tom Allan:
”He’s been training with us for a few weeks now, and he’s grabbed his chance. Great for him. A fellow Geordie, and from Cramlington. He’ll enjoy the moment.”
”He’s here for a day or two so we’ll meet up.
”He’s been supportive since I walked in the door. If there’s someone there who can improve us, we’ll act.
”I think there’s been three deals so far in the Premier League so it’s difficult.”