KEVIN NOLAN apologised to the Newcastle United supporters for the manner of their FA Cup exit at Stevenage before calling for the red card issued to Cheik Tiote to be rescinded.

Tiote faces a three-match ban for his dismissal just 12 minutes after his introduction at Broadhall Way, when referee Andre Marriner deemed his tackle on Jon Ashton to be dangerous.

Both feet appeared to leave the floor before the Ivorian’s lead leg clearly won the ball.

Loading article content

Then the Stevenage defender received treatment as most of the other players on the pitch debated the incident.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew revealed afterwards he will be asking the Football Association and Marriner to look at the decision again this morning, in the hope the ban will be overturned.

And Nolan, the Newcastle captain, claims Ashton should help the situation by informing the FA of his version of events after indicating to the visitors that Tiote did not make contact.

“It was never a sending off, not a chance in a million years,” said Nolan. “I’m very disappointed with Andre’s decision. I thought he reffed it very well but that was not a sending off.

“I saw it on the telly and in real time. Even the centrehalf afterwards said Cheik didn’t touch him. It would be nice for him to come out and say that in the press because it might help us get him off.

“They were all about winning the game and you do anything to win the game but he stayed down a long time for a centre-half.”

Nolan was as culpable as his team-mates for the sorry display in Hertfordshire, which leaves Newcastle with just Premier League survival to concentrate on this season.

Stevenage, 13th in League Two and fresh from promotion from the Blue Square Bet Premier last season, were the better team across the pitch, with Nolan and Alan Smith given the runaround by Michael Bostwick and John Mousinho.

But the Newcastle skipper insists the character of the players should not be doubted, it was just a day to forget in terms of performance.

“I don’t think you could question the attitude of the lads, they all wanted to do the right thing,” said Nolan.

“The fact is, it just didn’t happen. Some players were trying hard but it just wasn’t there for them.

“You had 11 lads from Stevenage who probably wanted it a bit more than us and that’s the most disappointing thing.

“In the second half they seemed to want it more than us and they got what they deserved. The only thing we can do now is put this to bed.

We apologise to the people who’ve made the long journey down because it’s not a performance we wanted or expected.

“This is going to give us a kick in the you know where, a massive one, and we have to respond to it.

“We have to make sure that come the end of the season Newcastle United are still a Premier League team.”

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew had put the 3-1 defeat down to tiredness following a hectic festive fixture list, which ensured the trip to Hertfordshire was their third game inside a week.

Nolan chose not to use that as an explanation for the sorry state of their performance, however.

Instead he just thought paying tribute to the way Graham Westley had his Stevenage players shaped up was the way to go.

“We wish them the best but we wanted a good cup run and it’s very disappointing to come away not in the hat,”

said Nolan.

“It hit a lot of the lads even more when the draw for the fourth round was made.

“All we can do is really apologise to all the fans who made a massive journey to get down here.

“They were brilliant again and we’d just ask them to stick with us for another important game next weekend.

“We’ve just got one thing to focus on now, the Premier League, and hopefully we should start where we left off in midweek.”

Pardew also suggested the manner of the display also highlighted the need for Newcastle to strengthen the squad this month.

It looks as if deals to bring in Shaun Wright-Phillips and David Bentley will fall short because of the financial details involved.

Pardew insisted nothing was imminent on any other deals, although Newcastle are known to have discussed the possibility of signing Birmingham’s Seb Larsson.

Pardew said: “We are probably only looking at bringing one player in, possibly two, during this window."