Stevenage 3 Newcastle United 1

IF the visit of Newcastle United to Broadhall Way in 1998 provided a backdrop of bickering that paved the way for an illtempered FA Cup tie, this time Stevenage achieved something the Giuliano Grazioli team could not.

Alan Pardew might not have complained about the balls being too bouncy, as Kenny Dalglish did, nor did the Mike Ashley regime try to have the tie switched to St James’ Park.

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This time it was purely about the football. While Stevenage might have been happy to have forced a replay in the first meeting in the late ‘90s, this was the year they went one better – and some.

Not since Ronny Radford struck the memorable winner for Southern League side Hereford in 1972 have the Magpies suffered such humiliation on an FA Cup day.

Stevenage may now be a midtable League Two team, but this must have felt just as bad as Hereford for the large contingent of Geordies behind the goal in which Tim Krul conceded all three goals.

With the exception of a largely even 25 minutes, Newcastle were run ragged by a team possessing all the drive, desire and determination that their Premier League counterparts lacked.

Much had been made of the history between the two teams and what it would mean for the men from Stevenage to deliver what they had hoped for 13 years ago.

Apart from the venue, everything was different. New owners, different players, numerous changes of managers – they would even prefer Broadhall Way to be known as the Lamex Stadium.

But Graham Westley ensured his players, few of whom were from the area, knew all about what defeating Newcastle was going to mean to the Stevenage supporters who crammed in to witness the Magpies.

If Newcastle were made to look anything but Premier League in the first half, Stevenage then ensured it was the little club from Hertfordshire that looked more like the top-flight team after the restart.

Once Stacy Long’s drive from distance had deflected off Mike Williamson and flown beyond Krul four minutes after halftime, Stevenage took complete control.

The exceptional Michael Bostwick, who ran the midfield along with John Mousinho, struck the perfect second five minutes later. His drive from 25 yards, after picking up a loose ball from Fabricio Coloccini’s tackle, nestled in off Krul’s right hand post.

Joey Barton might have reduced the arrears in the second minute of added time, but then – as a few late nerves set in among the home fans – Mousinho’s charge and through pass created the opening for Peter Winn to slot in a third under Krul.

The party had started and Winn, who spent two thirds of last season on loan at Gateshead, said: “I think, because we are a League Two team and because they are a new Newcastle team who don’t know about our history with that club – and a lot of our players do – they didn’t understand what it would mean to us.

“I was still in primary school when the first game happened, but we have been told about it.

“But we didn’t make a thing about it because we wanted to concentrate on winning. We genuinely felt we could beat them.”

In the fifth minute Newcastle produced their move of the match. Leon Best linked with Wayne Routledge – for the only time in the game successfully – before creating the space for Danny Simpson to whip in a back post cross. Barton’s volley was well saved by goalkeeper Chris Day.

From that moment Newcastle became disjointed and dysfunctional.

With the exception of Coloccini, whose performance prevented an even greater scoreline, Newcastle looked incapable of stopping a rampant Stevenage.

With Mousinho and Bostwick – a former Millwall trainee who has played for Ebbsfleet, Rushden and Crawley – running the show in the middle against Alan Smith and Kevin Nolan, Newcastle could not contain them.

It was not just about the Newcastle midfield’s deficiencies or a lack of threat from the Best and Peter Lovenkrands forward line, it was also about the way Krul, Williamson, James Perch and Simpson froze in the cup atmosphere at a compact ground.

“I can only say we are sorry about the result,” said Newcastle boss Alan Pardew.

“I have been fortunate that I haven’t had too many shocks in the cup so this is right up there.

The manner of the defeat more than anything because as Newcastle we expect to win here.

“It is a competition I thought was important to us. I tried to focus on that with the players and get them to understand what it was going to be about.

They had a grasp of it but we didn’t have the quality or the energy to deal with it. That’s the truth of it.”

It is easy to be critical of managers when they tend to be overreliant on the psychological aspects of the game. In Westley, however, Stevenage seem to have a young boss using a wide range of new ideas. He also talks a good game.

Westley was telling anyone who would listen to him that Stevenage would win. He also set out a game plan with his players which they believed would end in a 5-0 triumph. It might not have quite been like that, but it could have been.

“I don’t think you win if you don’t expect to win,” he said.

“We talked beforehand about David and Goliath and we talked about the fact that David had a plan. He knew what his strengths were, he didn’t play Goliath’s game, he played his own game and we went out there and played our game and thankfully we got the result by doing that.”

If the defeat and the performance were not bad enough for Newcastle, arguably the player of their season so far, Cheik Tiote, was red-carded just 12 minutes after his introduction.

It was a strong tackle on Ashton in which he clearly won the ball.

The fact that both feet left the ground, however, was deemed in referee Andre Marriner’s opinion to have warranted a dismissal.

Pardew, it’s fair to say, has had better days, although it is difficult to sympathise with his assertion that his players were tired after a gruelling festive fixture list in which Stevenage also played plenty of games.

“We didn’t pass the ball well,” he said.

“That was not the sort of standard we expect from Newcastle and what I expect as a manager.

“I am not taking anything away from Stevenage. The game plan they had worked for them, they put us under a lot of pressure. We just looked as if tough games with Wigan and West Ham had caught up with us.”

Now Newcastle must quickly pick themselves up and turn their attentions to next weekend’s short trip to Sunderland.

Stevenage, on the other hand, can think about Chesterfield and round four.

Match facts

Goals:

1-0: Long (50, struck hopefully towards goal, deflected off Williamson and beat Krul);

2-0: Bostwick (55, picked up a loose ball before firing in low off Krul’s right hand post from distance);

2-1: Barton (90, a sweet right-foot drive that flew over Day and high into his net);

3-1: Winn (90, played in perfectly before slotting underneath Krul to wrap up a famous win)

Bookings:

Smith (18, foul); Best (27, foul); Mousinho (32, foul); Winn (47, foul); Coloccini (57, foul) Sending-off: Tiote (70, serious foul play)

Referee: Andre Marriner (Walsall) ~ even if there was some debate about the sending off, the Magpies could not blame the official for their exit. 6

Attendance: 6,644

Entertainment: ✰✰✰✰

STEVENAGE (4-5-1):

Day 7; Henry 7 (Bridges 85), Ashton 8, Roberts 8, Laird 8; WILSON 9, Mousinho 9, Bostwick 9, Long 9, Winn 9 (Obubade 90); Beardsley 6. Subs (not used): Bayes, Foster, Griffin, May, Sinclair.

NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2):

4 Krul: Looked suspect on his kicking and made just one decent save ;

4 Simpson: Shaky from the start and found it hard to keep a tight rein on Long

7 COLOCCINI: Had it not been for the Argentine, the Magpies would have been humiliated further

3 Williamson: Atrocious from start to finish and looked like he had lost all of his confidence even before Long’s opener deflected off him

3 Perch: Looked uncomfortable and incapable of performing at left-back; struggling to adapt to life at St James’;

4 Routledge: Was lively in the first half and looking to impress, but lacked a decent final ball – again

4 Nolan: Poor by his standards in the middle and a mark of his frustration was that he got on his team-mates’ backs

3 Smith: Game passed him by in the middle and was outclassed by Bostwick and Mousinho

5 Barton: The best of a bad bunch going forward and struck a sweet goal in injury-time

3 Lovenkrands: He was here, there and everywhere, just not when the ball was near him

3 Best: A hat-trick on Wednesday and another three this morning, this time in our ratings.

Subs:

Ranger (for Best 46): Never looked capable of changing the flow of the game in Newcastle’s favour. 4 Tiote (for Smith 58): Lasted 12 minutes before crunching into Ashton.

3 Airey (for Lovenkrands 78) (not used): Guthrie, Kadar, Ferguson, Soderberg.

MAN OF THE MATCH

LAWRIE Wilson – take your pick from the Boro players, but his runs from the right tormented Newcastle throughout.