Wednesday January 17th 2007 (FA Cup)
NEWCASTLE UTD 1 BIRMINGHAM CITY 5
NEWCASTLE: Given, Solano, Taylor, Ramage, Huntington, Milner, Dyer, Butt, Pattison (O'Brien 57), Sibierski (Carroll 80),Martins.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Edgar, LuaLua.
BIRMINGHAM: Maik Taylor, N'Gotty, Martin Taylor, Upson, Sadler, McSheffrey (Kilkenny 88), Larsson (Danns 86), Muamba (Nafti 82), Johnson, Campbell, Jerome.
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Gray.
Shay Given picked the ball out of the net five times, and the last Toon goalkeeper to do that in the FA Cup was Dave Hollins in 1963 at Carrow Road ... the only one to do it at St James' Park was Jimmy Wilson in 1914 (we lost 5-0 to Sheffield United)
Who whould have predicted this before the game? But I can tell you one thing ... there were many predicting it within eight minutes of the kick-off as Birmingham couldn't believe how easy it was to stroll down United's left flank without so much as a tackle in sight.
Yes, the performance was woeful! I cannot remember a Newcastle performance in recent years when they started a game at St James' as though the match was a formality and the result would take care of itself. There were times in the late 1970s and early 1990s when we were shocking and couldn't see a result in sight, but that was different. The team was CRAP! Against Birmingham we believed we were better ... but how wrong we were.
The Championship side hung on at St Andrews, and were very lucky to get a replay. But they were 2-0 up at the break and we looked unorganised, dreadfully short of pace, and worst of all lacking any interest! Gary McSheffrey's fifth-minute strike set the tone for the match and for 90 minutes it was "men against boys".
The main talking point in the ground was (once again) Freddy Shepherd, who had earlier praised the efforts of the club's youngsters in the local newspaper. No disrespect to the kids, they HAVE done a great job filling in for internationals, but this was seen as another cop out by the chairman. The manager has named the players he wants to bring in, and Fat Fred is sat on the cash. Will he spend it? Why hasn't he brought players in already? Your guess is as good as mine.
It was certainly a night we won't forget for a long time. Some call it the magic of the FA Cup, but the reality was markedly different. Mr Personality - Mark Lawrenson - said prior to the game "Birmingham want promotion and their players see that as a priority". This is the FA Cup ... not a day trip to the Bigg Marrket for Steve Bruce and his players! Did Lawrenson seriously think they were going to lie down and die? What a prick!
The visitors needed only five minutes to take the lead, McSheffrey collecting Larsson's half-cleared cross to thump a shot past Shay Given and set the stage for a shock.
The Magpies were pitiful in every area of the pitch. The defence was careless and unorganised; Huntington lacked pace and vision; the midfield were individuals who didn't use the ball like a team (more often than not finding a Birmingham shirt than black and white); and Martins did more posing than find space.
If striker Cameron Jerome taken any of the three chances which came his way with the home defence gasping for breath, the game could have been over after half-an-hour.
Matty Pattison had a nightmare, but he was no worse than those who should do better like Dyer and Butt.
As half-time drew near, Jerome slipped away from Taylor on the right and drilled a cross to the far post where Solano, under pressure from Campbell, put through his own goal.
Newcastle's answer? In the 52nd minute Martins worked a rare opportunity for himself, but completely missed his kick when in view of goal. But in the 56th minute Milner ran on to Sibierski's lay-off and smashed a stunning right-foot shot home from 25 yards. At last there was a glimmer of hope.
But not for long, Steven Taylor tugged back Campbell and then clipped his heels and was sent off.
Larsson drove the resulting free-kick into the defensive wall, but the ball ricocheted to N'Gotty and he lashed it into the net to restore his side's two-goal advantage.
There were ambitious appeals for a penalty when N'Gotty kicked Sibierski in the face 13 minutes from time, referee Peter Walton saw it as an effort at kicking the ball and Frenchman had his head low.
As Newcastle fans walked out in their thousands, Larsson and Campbell compounding the misery with 83rd and 89th-minute strikes to make it the worst FA Cup result at St James' Park since 1914.
Newcastle's Worst Since 1914! OFFICIAL!
Wednesday January 17th 2007 (FA Cup)