FA Cup: West Brom 2-3 Newcastle highlights
Steve Bruce accused his Newcastle players of “switching off” after West Brom threatened an unlikely comeback before the Magpies reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2006.
Inspired by two-goal Miguel Almiron, the Magpies raced into a 3-0 lead at The Hawthorns but were left hanging on as the Championship leaders rallied to score two late goals.
“Unfortunately it’s in our DNA,” a relieved Bruce, whose side are battling to stay away from the Premier League relegation zone, told BBC Sport.
“When we went 3-0 up we switched off. Sometimes you think it’s too easy and suddenly they get a goal back.
“It wouldn’t be Newcastle if we didn’t do something like that. We made hard work of it.”
Two goals from the impressive Almiron before half-time and another within two minutes of the re-start from Inter Milan loanee Valentino Lazaro put the visitors in control.
A much-changed West Brom improved after the introduction of Filip Krovinovic and hit the bar through Kyle Bartley before Matt Phillips crashed a shot in.
After a switch in formation, Newcastle began to retreat and ended the match in nervy fashion as substitute Kenneth Zohore scored in injury time.
Baggies boss Slaven Bilic was also livid that a subsequent penalty appeal was turned down.
But Newcastle’s victory was a welcome boost for Bruce, who has come under fire from some fans for a lack of creative football usually associated with the club.
The 5,000 travelling supporters will head back to Tyneside delighted by the manner of victory that will give them hope they can not only reach Wembley but also stay in the Premier League.
Newcastle’s positive formation pays off
Bruce’s side, who are five points above the relegation zone, came into the game having failed to find the net in their past four Premier League games.
That run continued for the first half where they created plenty of openings, but chances that fell to Joelinton and Sean Longstaff were either saved or off target.
Lazaro and Nabil Bentaleb also wasted good opportunities, with Allan Saint-Maximin rattling the woodwork with a stinging shot from 25 yards.
But a recent change to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation by Bruce paid off when Almiron, usually stationed on the right of a 5-4-1 set-up, ran onto Saint-Maximin’s through ball and slotted past Jonathan Bond.
It sent the travelling fans delirious, but after such a long wait for a goal, they could not believe their fortune when Almiron’s second followed in first-half stoppage time as he smashed in following Joelinton’s cheeky backheel.
The shirts came off in the away end, and a purple flare soon followed.
Lazaro’s bundled effort, which came after Almiron’s searching cross to Saint-Maximin, appeared to end the contest, and had the away fans singing of reaching Wembley.
The two West Brom goals made the win far more edgy than Bruce would have liked, especially as he took off Almiron and introduced Jonjo Shelvey to try and shore things up.
But after the desperation and lack of goals in recent matches, it was the perfect antidote as Bruce’s side reached the last eight for the first time in owner Mike Ashley’s era and put themselves within one win of reaching Wembley.
Almiron scores his second goal of the game to double Newcastle’s lead
West Brom changes come too late
With Bilic’s side at the top of the Championship, and looking leggy after a first defeat in seven games against Wigan on Saturday, it was no wonder the Croat manager made nine changes to his side.
The team were largely the side who had beaten West Ham 1-0 in the fourth round and they looked fresh from the start as Kyle Edward’s early shot stung the palms of Karl Darlow.
But as Bentaleb pulled the strings in midfield for the visitors, the likes of Gareth Barry, 39, and Chris Brunt, 35, could not upset Newcastle’s rhythm.
The Baggies were forced to cross from wide areas towards Charlie Austin but the deliveries were easily diverted by Newcastle defenders Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar.
Filip Krovinovic’s second-half introduction in place of Barry brought an instant improvement as his shot curled over the bar.
And once Zohore came on after 67 minutes the game began to turn.
First, his header back across goal led to Philips making it 3-1 and Schar’s clearance denied the Baggies a chance to gain more momentum.
Zohore’s injury-time goal did make the visitors nervous as the Baggies were also denied a penalty by referee Anthony Taylor.
But the changes from Bilic perhaps came too late and his team can now concentrate on returning to the Premier League after a two-year absence.
Saint-Maximin fallout rumours ‘total lies’
A newspaper report on Monday claimed winger Saint-Maximin’s future at the club was in doubt after being dropped for Saturday’s goalless draw against Burnley because of a fallout with Bruce.
But the manager categorically denied the rumours, saying after the game: “Allan was a doubt. Nonsense written in a newspaper that I have had a fallout with him.
“I don’t know where that has come from. He didn’t train Sunday, we were wary of him, and you have to be careful. That is why I didn’t risk him. He trained well yesterday and that is the way it was.”
Responding to the reporter who wrote the story, Bruce said in the post-match news conference: “Total lies, it is nonsense. I am glad your source is wrong. Are you calling me a liar?
“Your reporting is wrong. I’ve had no row with Saint-Maximin.”
Man of the match – Miguel Almiron (Newcastle)
Having scored four goals in this season’s competition, Miguel Almiron has been a key figure in Newcastle’s FA Cup run and showed excellent composure to score both his goals against West Brom
‘We showed too much respect’ – what they said
West Brom boss Slaven Bilic, speaking to BBC Sport: “I am proud of the performance but disappointed with the result. We showed them too much respect in the first half and if you give them too much time on the ball then they can hurt you.
“The reaction after conceding the third was brilliant. We came back and had more than enough chances to equalise.
“Unfortunately we ran out of time. We needed maybe five more minutes.”
Goal crazy Magpies in FA Cup – the stats
- Newcastle have scored more FA Cup goals than any other Premier League side this season (11). Indeed, the Magpies are averaging 2.2 goals-per-game in the FA Cup compared to 0.9 in the Premier League.
- As a second-tier side, West Brom have been eliminated from five of their last six FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition, with the exception being their fourth round tie against West Ham this season.
- Newcastle’s Almiron has scored four goals in his five FA Cup matches this season, double the amount he’s scored in 24 Premier League appearances (2).
- Phillips scored his first goal for West Brom since December (v Swansea), ending a run of 16 games without a goal for the Scotsman.
While Newcastle face a huge game at Southampton on Saturday (15:00 GMT) as they attempt to stay away from relegation danger, West Brom look to take another big step towards promotion on the same day at Swansea (15:00 GMT).
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 18BarrySubstituted forKrovinovicat 57'minutes
- 11BruntSubstituted forTullochat 86'minutes
- 15AustinSubstituted forZohoreat 67'minutes
- 25Harib Al Habsi
- 26DarlowBooked at 78mins
- 28RoseBooked at 43mins
- 36S Longstaff
- 42BentalebBooked at 63mins
- 23LazaroSubstituted forLejeuneat 90+1'minutes
- 24AlmirónSubstituted forShelveyat 71'minutes
- 10Saint-MaximinSubstituted forGayleat 80'minutes
- 43M Longstaff
Home TeamWest BromAway TeamNewcastlePossessionHome48%Away52%ShotsHome18Away15Shots on TargetHome7Away7CornersHome6Away2FoulsHome7Away8
Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Newcastle United 3.