Oh, how the nerves jangled...
This is Newcastle United after all, so nothing is done easily, and putting their ridiculously loyal supporters through the wringer is in the club's identity.
With a 1-0 lead heading into the second leg, only on two occasions had a side turned a first-leg deficit around to reach the final in League Cup history. Southampton had hoped to make that a third but Newcastle came flying out of the traps.
Their tales were well and truly up as St James’ Park rocked. Any nerves Newcastle—players, fans, and city—may have been feeling were quickly dispelled by a fine early goal. Kieran Trippier had the ball down the right who passed it inside to Sean Longstaff, who ended a run of 54 appearances without a home goal as he took a touch and then finished past young goalie Gavin Bazunu.
Cue absolute pandemonium in the stands, the roar could be heard for miles.
Longstaff made it 2-0 on the night—and 3-0 on aggregate—after a sumptuous move down the left-hand side. Joelinton and Joe Willock combined down the left, before Miguel Almiron’s cut-back into space found the run of Longstaff to fire home his second of the night.
Newcastle were in dreamland and Southampton left stunned.
The visitors found a way back in the game when Willock played a loose pass which was picked up by Che Adams. The striker still had a lot to do but he took advantage of the space 20 yards out to strike a fizzing effort beyond the outstretched dive of Nick Pope.
It was the first time the Newcastle goalkeeper had conceded in any competition since they faced Southampton in the Premier League on November 6.
Bruno Guimaraes was sent off late for a bad challenge on Samuel Edozie. Even then, the Magpies defended their goal well and limited the Saints to few opportunities, to the relief of their supporters.
Good for the Toon, Bruno will miss the next three Premier League games as a result of his red card with his suspension, coincidentally, ending right in time for the Carabao Cup final scheduled to take place on February 26.
This was a special night for Newcastle.
It’s been 47 years since they last reached a League Cup final and 24 years since they last played in a Wembley final. One more step, 90 more minutes, and Newcastle will end their trophy drought of 54 years.
Generations of supporters haven’t witnessed Newcastle get to a final, let alone win a thing. Should they go all the way every single player will become a hero on Tyneside.
It just feels as though it’s Newcastle’s time now, things are starting to turn under the new ownership and the good times are coming back to the club after years of nothingness.
So tell all your Ma’s you won’t be home for tea because you’re all going to Wembley. Book your hotels and trains and flood Wembley Way with a sea of black and white.
London is calling.