Stevenage crafted one of the greatest FA Cup fairytales of the modern era as Newcastle were sent crashing out after a 3-1 defeat.
Memories of 1998 are erased as Stevenage create cup history
Stevenage crafted one of the greatest FA Cup fairytales of the modern era as Premier League Newcastle were sent crashing out of the competition following a 3-1 defeat in the third round.
For Graham Westley's League Two side, it was revenge for the club's controversial fourth-round replay defeat to the Tynesiders in 1998 and their fans duly celebrated in style as a pitch invasion marked the final whistle at the Lamex Stadium.
A second half own-goal from Mike Williamson and Michael Bostwick's brilliant strike had put Stevenage fans in dream land and then Newcastle substitute Cheick Tiote was sent off after just 13 minutes on the pitch.
Alan Pardew's side were poor and deserved to be trailing their lower league opponents, but the 10 men grabbed an injury-time lifeline following a rocketed finish from midfielder Joey Barton.
Stevenage, though, were not in the mood to surrender their advantage and there was still time for Peter Winn to add a third and spark wild celebrations.
At the end, Newcastle, six-time winners but who have not won the cup since 1955, held their heads in shame. And well they might.
Pardew had main strikers Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi ruled out through injury.
It meant Leon Best, who marked his first Premier League start for the club with a hat-trick against West Ham in a 5-0 victory in midweek, retained his place as Pardew made five changes from a starting line-up which saw Alan Smith and Joey Barton in tandem in midfield.
It was just as well that Pardew and Newcastle afforded Stevenage, who were a non-league team when defeated 13 years ago, such respect because right from the kick-off the now League Two side's attitude was magnificent.
Manager Westley, whose cup pedigree includes taking Farnborough Town to Highbury for a fourth-round tie against Arsenal in 2003, sent them out to have a go and in the first half they more than held their own.
Newcastle's best effort, their only real opportunity, in that 45 minutes was a volley from Barton which brought a smart save from goalkeeper Chris Day.
But while Stevenage gave their illustrious opponents respect they also showed that they had the ammunition to cause damage.
They would have gone ahead after 31 minutes but for the brilliant goalkeeping of Tim Krul who was playing in place of Steve Harper, whose wife is heavily pregnant.
Krul dived full length to his right to tip away a blistering 25-yard shot from Bostwick.
But if honours were even at half-time then the second 45 was all Stevenage. The home side did not just cope with Newcastle. They pulverised them.
First they shocked the Magpies with the first goal from the impressive Stacy Long after 50 minutes. The midfielder came inside and unleashed a shot which took a huge deflection off defender Williamson before it nestled in the Newcastle net.
It was no more than Stevenage deserved although Newcastle replied almost immediately with a chip shot from Kevin Nolan which saw Day back-pedalling to tip the ball over the crossbar.
But Newcastle were in big trouble after 55 minutes when Bostwick extended Stevenage's lead. This time Fabricio Coloccini came sliding in for the tackle but the ball slid clear and Bostwick pounced to send a low shot rifling past Krul and into the net off the foot of the post.
It was no fluke. In fact, at times it looked as if the home side were the Premier League outfit.
It got worse for Newcastle when substitute Tiote lunged two-footed at Jon Ashton in a moment of madness. He might have got the ball but it was reckless and referee Andre Mariner had no option but to show the red card.
Newcastle pushed forward in the final 10 minutes, urged on by Barton in particular and he produced a stunning 35-yard right-foot strike in injury-time to give Newcastle hope.
But an equaliser would have been a travesty. And it was only justice when Winn raced clear to score with a fantastic finish to put his club in the fourth round and set up the most frantic celebrations in Stevenage's history.
|Shots On Target
|Shots Off Target