GALLERY: Stevenage stun Toon in FA Cup
PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 January 2011 | UPDATED: 09:55 10 January 2011
Long, Bostwick and Winn all on target in third round upset
STEVENAGE stunned Newcastle United by knocking them out of the FA Cup on Saturday evening.
Stacy Long put Boro ahead before a fierce Michael Bostwick strike and a cheeky Peter Winn chip knocked out Alan Pardew’s side, for which Cheik Toite was sent off for a foul on Jon Ashton.
Stevenage were well worth the win and could have scored more goals in an assured display during which they bossed the midfield with Bostwick and Long real stand-outs.
But this was a team performance of the highest order from Stevenage and Newcastle had no answers to the questions Graham Westley’s men posed.
These two sides met back in the fourth round of the same competition in 1998 with Newcastle winning the tie in a replay, but this time it was Boro who won through to put to bed that particular disappointment.
Paul Fairclough, Boro’s manager at the time, is still revered in this neck of the woods for that game and other highlights during his time at the club but after this win and his achievements in winning promotion last season at this rate the town be building a statue of current boss Westley.
But in all seriousness Stevenage outplayed their opponents all over the pitch, had by far more efforts on goal and thoroughly deserved their name being in the draw for tomorrow’s fourth round - the only sour note coming after the final whistle when a fan punched Boro left-back Scott Laird after a pitch invasion. The FA are to investigate.
This occasion should not be sullied; it was an entertaining evening with the tone being set in the first minute when Bostwick’s strong clearance caught Kevin Nolan full in the face.
This left the Newcastle captain on the floor, but it truth he was often in Bostwick’s shadow for the best part of the afternoon – and that’s say something about the Boro man and his dealings with one of the best players in the Barclays Premier League.
Boro made three changes with Ronnie Henry, Ashton and Winn coming in for Rob Sinclair, Charlie Griffin and Luke Foster, but they were soon on the back foot as Joey Barton drilled a low shot at Chris Day which the Boro ‘keeper saved.
Mark Roberts then went close with a header on nine minutes, before Wayne Routledge, who set up Barton’s earlier strike, put another couple of balls into the box.
Lawrie Wilson took on two players only to see his shot blocked and Bostwick had an early sight at goal only for his low effort to be turned around the post by Tim Krul, who also blocked a Laird shot onto the post before the break.
At half time Newcastle took off the labouring Leon Best for Nile Ranger, but it made no difference as Boro stifled their forward play.
Much of this stifling started with the ferocious chasing down by Chris Beardsley who, if he hasn’t already, should be given the nickname Three Lung Chris.
Newcastle hadn’t been able to settle before Long struck, his effort deflecting off Mike Williamson past the wrong-footed Krul after the Boro midfielder had allowed the ball to go across his path before shooting.
And although Newcastle went straight down the other end almost straight from kick-off, captain Nolan’s curling shot was pushed over by the experienced Day.
At no point did Boro look in awe of their opponents, and if anything they looked the more composted and confident of the two sides.
That confidence was shown when Bostwick fired home off the post from outside of the box five minutes after Long had put them ahead. The midfielder is not prolific, but when he scores his goals are usually special.
Westley went for the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy and decided against any substitutions until the 85th minute, allowing Winn and Beardsley to do the chasing up front to put pressure on Magpies’ back line.
It worked, and Boro were able to take full advantage of their team-mates’ hard work with some decent attacks.
Winn and Beardsley both had efforts blocked, before Newcastle were reduced to 10 men when Tiote saw red for a late challenge on Ashton.
During the melee which followed Barton threw the ball into the back of Long’s head and to his credit the Boro midfielder didn’t react. Barton should have seen red, but all he received was a talking to.
The Newcastle midfielder later scored a peach of a goal from long range, which Day should have pushed over his bar, after Winn had earlier been put through on goal only to be tackled by a chasing defender as he pulled his leg back to strike.
The Boro front man had an opportunity to make up for this miss in the dying seconds and he did just that when he ran onto a superbly timed through ball from Mousinho and chipped it over the onrushing Krul.
The Stevenage bench went delirious, and so to did the Boro fans - 1998 had been put to bed.
* For the gallery, click on the link in the top right side of the page.
Boro are No. 18 in Sunday’s fourth round draw.
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