JUST as he did at Sheffield United, Anthony Gordon changed the game from the bench against Manchester City, only this time it wasn’t with his attacking brilliance, rather a crunching challenge that transformed the feel of this Carabao Cup third round tie and set Newcastle on their way to a superb victory and progression.

After the eight goals at Bramall Lane, one was enough here, scored by Alexander Isak.

It might be too early to dream of another trip to Wembley in this competition but it’ll undoubtedly be easier now Newcastle have managed to dump out the team Howe this week described as the “world’s best”.

There won’t be many sides who manage to keep the treble winners out this season, even if this was by no means City at full strength. Neither were Newcastle, though. Indeed, the only survivor from the team that started the dismantling of Sheffield United was goalkeeper Nick Pope. And for 45 minutes, the Magpies were second best, given the runaround by a City team that dominated possession, strangled the life out of Newcastle and all but silenced the home fans.

At that stage, City felt the inevitable winners. But Gordon had other ideas. Introduced from the bench alongside Bruno at the break, the forward – knocking on the door for a first England call-up – crunched into a challenge on Matteo Kovacic that lifted the home supporters and injected some urgency and belief. Gordon’s challenge and whatever Howe said at half-time worked a treat. Newcastle were reborn, Isak scored and City couldn’t force a leveller.

Guardiola moaned pre-match about the fact his side had to travel home via coach rather than plane or train. The journey back over the M62 will have been all the more miserable for Pep and his players after this defeat. As for the Magpies, that’s now four games unbeaten and four clean sheets in a row. They’re still fighting on four fronts.

With the games to come in mind, Howe had to freshen things up. Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall came in for their first starts, as did 17-year-old Lewis Miley. Just days after the Harvey Barnes hammer blow, there was a fitness boost with Joelinton returning to the side.

On the subject of injuries, Guardiola described Manchester City’s situation as “exceptional” ahead of the trip to Tyneside but such is the strength of his squad, even in a so-called crisis you can still name the likes of Jack Grealish, Julian Alvarez and Kovacic in the starting XI. Kalvin Phillips was also handed a rare start.

Guardiola said the coming Premier League and Champions League games are “much more important” to City than their trip to the North-East, but this – a tie in a competition the Spaniard has won on four separate occasions – was never going to be dismissed.

There were no early chances of note but Guardiola was animated in the technical area, urging passes to be made quicker and to go forward. There was applause from Howe when Newcastle’s press forced City back to goalkeeper Ortega and more when Joelinton offered an early glimpse of his midfield muscle that the Magpies will be so pleased to welcome back.

The home side were first to threaten when Hall played in Isak, who charged at the City defence weaving this way and that before being robbed of the ball just as he was readying to shoot.

Such is the City way, though, they soon settled and started to dictate the tempo and dominate the ball. The early volume of the home fans was turned down. “Is this the Etihad,” the away fans chanted. Those in blue in the top tier thought they were going to be celebrating an opener when Oscar Bobb played in Alvarez, but Pope did well to save with his feet.

The away fans screamed for a penalty when Dummett made a last ditch tackle on Grealish but Guardiola joined Howe in applauding the brilliance of the risky challenge. Dummett was superb throughout. Alvarez went close again when his low strike flashed across the face of the goal just after the half hour mark, by which stage the ball appeared glued to the foot of a man in blue.

To create a chance, Newcastle first had to get the ball. They did both on 40 minutes, Joelinton robbing possession from Phillips before playing in Murphy, who only had Ortega to beat but the keeper saved well. It was Newcastle’s only shot on target in a first half in which they were comfortably second best.

Cue the half-time changes. And that Gordon tackle. Newcastle were a different team. There was urgency, they unsettled City and scored the opener. Joelinton did superbly well, driving into the box and just when it looked as though he’d drifted too far wide he cut the ball back across the face for Isak to tap home.

From that point onwards, Newcastle managed it well. The only real scare came in the 90th minute when a Rico Lewis shot from the edge of the box flashed just wide of Pope’s goal.