Pilgrims keep Magpies quiet
Plymouth may be struggling in the Championship, but they were able to hold Newcastle in the FA Cup third round.
Last Updated: 02/01/10 6:03pm
Plymouth may be struggling in the Championship, but they were able to hold Newcastle to a goalless draw in the FA Cup third round.
A lacklustre contest at Home Park offered little entertainment to those in attendance, especially those who had made the 800-mile round trip from the North East.
Magpies boss Chris Hughton made seven changes to his starting XI and the visitors just about shaded the first half, but the second period quickly descended into a war of attrition as both sides struggled to create chances.
The result is Newcastle's second consecutive goalless draw while Plymouth boss Paul Mariner has now seen his side extend their unbeaten run to three matches.
Newcastle's new-look line-up struggled early on, with Rory Fallon having a header saved by visiting goalkeeper Tim Krul.
However, soon after, Newcastle fashioned the first real chance of the game when Ryan Taylor crossed for Fabrice Pancrate, who reacted too slowly and allowed the ball to bounce off his standing leg.
In-form Plymouth looked dangerous going forward and Carl Fletcher was off target with an effort from distance before Luke Summerfield had a shot blocked by Tamas Kadar.
Alan Judge volleyed wide as the home side continued to press forward while at the other end Pancrate was inches away from getting on the end of a dangerous free-kick from Taylor.
As the half wore on, Newcastle began to dominate and Shola Ameobi had the ball in the back of the net after Pancrate hit a post but referee Alan Wiley ruled the effort out for a dubious foul by Pancrate on Gary Sawyer.
Ameobi was giving the Plymouth defence plenty of cause for concern and five minutes before the break his cross found Guthrie, who back-heeled just wide.
The former Bolton man came even closer on the stroke of half-time when his powerful strike from the edge of the box was superbly tipped round the post by Romain Larrieu.
The second half got off to a feisty start, with Plymouth's Karl Duguid and Newcastle striker Nile Ranger both receiving yellow cards from Wiley following a tussle.
That skirmish set the tone as the clash descended into a scrappy affair, with neither side able to mount any sort of purposeful attack.
Plymouth's Chris Clark produced a poor final ball when well placed on the left before slicing a poor effort towards the corner flag moments later.
At the other end, Danny Simpson beat a couple of challenges only to drive the ball wide with options ahead of him limited.
With four minutes remaining, Butt saw his looping volley tipped over by Larrieu as Plymouth managed to hold on for a draw.