40-Year-Old Substitute Earns Dramatic Draw for Rochdale Against Premier League Giants Newcastle

​League One outfit Rochdale have provided the shock of the FA Cup thus far, by holding Premier League giants Newcastle United to a 1-1 draw at the Spotland Stadium, thanks to a late strike by 40-year-old substitute Aaron Wilbraham. 

The Dale have made quite the name for themselves in cup competitions this season, having taken Manchester United all the way to penalties in the EFL Cup in September, and their stoic performance on Saturday earned the hosts a dream day-out for Rochdale supporters at St. James' Park. 

The Magpies took the lead early in the first half, when Paraguayan star Miguel Almiron latched onto a cross from the left flank, before lashing a vicious strike beyond goalkeeper Robert Sanchez. 

Sanchez was one of the many heroes of the afternoon however, producing some fine stops to keep out efforts from Joelinton and Yoshinori Muto, as the hosts refused to bow out of the cup without a fight. 

The Dale grew into the game as the minutes ticked by, midfield Oliver Rathbone forcing Martin Dubravka into an excellent save, before 34-year-old Ian Henderson hit the post for the lower-league hosts. 

Aaron Wilbraham

Rochdale's persistent pressure paid off with ten minutes left on the clock, when substitute Wilbraham found himself in space in the penalty area, and the 40-year-old veteran fired home smartly to send the home fans into pandemonium.

The third-tier side did not sit back after pulling level either, and Rathbone had a great opportunity to complete the most dramatic of comebacks, but the 23-year-old squandered his big moment, and ​Newcastle held on to the 1-1 draw. 

Both teams will be in the hat for the FA Cup fourth round, but Rochdale will face the exciting challenge of a third-round replay against the Magpies at St. James' Park, which should take place in the week commencing Monday 13 January. 

Dale supporters will be hoping for a similar performance at Newcastle to their heroic display on Saturday, and their incredible adventure at Old Trafford earlier in the season. 

Source : 90min