For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Ameobi brothers rescue Magpies
Final score: Morecambe 0 Newcastle United 2
JUST when Newcastle United needed some inspiration, Alan Pardew was indebted to the AA emergency service for preventing a Capital One Cup shock which would have edged the club towards another crisis.
As the significant contingent of away supporters inside the Globe Arena demanded signings from Joe Kinnear and called for owner Mike Ashley to spend some money, Ameobi and Ameobi combined in the dying seconds to guide the Magpies in to the third round.
Morecambe had their chances and had it not been for the goalkeeping of Rob Elliot and the last-ditch defending from Dan Gosling, the League Two outfit would have been ahead at half-time.
But Pardew, whose gamble to field a number of young guns could easily have backfired, witnessed his team improve slightly after the restart and in the end he was relieved to see the Ameobi brothers find the net for the first time in a game together to seal the win.
Shola it was who scored first with six minutes remaining when his shot took a deflection on the way in and then, in stoppage-time, Sammy rounded things off with a neatly taken second.
Pardew's decision to give youth a chance was always going to be something of a gamble, particularly given his track record in domestic cup competitions since taking charge.
Defeats to lower league opposition in the form of Stevenage and Brighton have previously fallen his way and his selections came under scrutiny. Undeterred, though, he was keen to test out his fringe players once more.
It meant a first team debut for defender Curtis Good at the heart of the defence and the Aussie displayed composure at times alongside skipper Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
And the Newcastle defence was tested often enough against the Shrimps. Had it not been for the excellence of Elliot in goal, Morecambe would have been ahead by the break.
There might have been opportunities for Gael Bigirimana, Haris Vuckic, Paul Dummett, Sammy Ameobi and Gosling. Yet it was the men in red and white taking the chance to impress in an eventful first half.
Things started well enough when Sammy Ameobi got down the left to whip in a teasing centre to the back post, only for Morecambe to clear when an early goal looked on with Yoan Gouffran lurking.
After that, with the exception of a dipping Bigirimana free-kick that had to be tipped over by goalkeeper Barry Roche, the best attacking plays came from Jim Bentley's team.
Kevin Ellison had already stung the palms of Elliot before Morecambe had four clear cut chances to punish Newcastle for failing to take control of matters.
The decision to put Gosling on the line for corners reaped its rewards when he followed up his clearance off the line from Matt Hughes' header with a second from Jack Sampson.
After Gosling had gone close at the other end with a header held by Roche, Morecambe opened up Newcastle with too much ease with the best moves of the game. Elliot, though, came in to his own.
The first save was a flying stop to his top left corner when Padraig Amond, who had beaten the offside trap, struck powerfully on goal with Good in close attention.
The second shortly after from Tim Krul's understudy was just as good. This time a series of one touch passes ended with a slide rule pass behind the Newcastle defence to run on to. Amond tried his luck low and to the far post, but Elliot got down well to stop with a strong right arm.
Morecambe's joy in the Newcastle half promoted the 1,500 travelling supporters to step up their criticism of the Mike Ashley regime with derogatory chants demanding the arrival of some new players before Monday's transfer deadline.
That fuelled the need for a Newcastle goal and Pardew turned to his bench, where he believed he had insurance for such testing circumstances, and introduced Shola Ameobi for Vuckic.
And Ameobi should have vindicated the decision immediately after the restart. Gosling, the best of the outfield players in black and white shirts, rolled the substitute in on goal.
With just Roche to beat, however, Ameobi decided against picking his spot and instead went for power, blasting a side-foot shot over the goalkeeper and over the bar too.
Then, with fans chanting for some inspiration from Hatem Ben Arfa, Pardew introduced the Frenchman. Even that did not look like securing Newcastle's place in the third round.
But then a ball in to Shola Ameobi's feet was controlled, he turned before striking low towards goal. After taking a deflection of the impressive Andy Parrish, the winning goal nestled inside Roche's bottom right corner.
It might not have been entirely deserved, but Pardew and Newcastle could breathe a huge sigh of relief.
And just as Morecambe pressed for an equaliser, Newcastle broke in injury-time. Ben Arfa found Sammy Ameobi, who controlled before beating two defenders and sliding in the second.
Comments are closed on this article.