It’s no secret Rafael Benítez is infinitely extra involved with avoiding relegation from the Premier League than profitable the FA Cup however his determination to discipline a weakened workforce backfired. A draw leaves Newcastle’s supervisor considering a draining replay at Ewood Park, the place Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn shall be anxious to complete off a tie they very almost gained right here.
It took a late Matt Ritchie penalty to rescue Newcastle, who haven’t progressed past the fourth spherical since 2006, after the superb Bradley Dack had given the Championship facet a deserved lead.
“The dressing room’s very quiet and disillusioned,” stated Mowbray, painfully conscious his facet had contributed the extra clever soccer. “We couldn’t see them scoring.”
Benítez appeared to have combined emotions about Ritchie’s leveller. “I’m not pleased with one other recreation,” he stated after making eight modifications from the facet that misplaced to Manchester United final Wednesday. “I’m disillusioned we face a replay. It’s extra minutes, extra danger. We have been making an attempt however Blackburn have been pushing onerous for each single ball – and we didn’t play on the degree I used to be anticipating.”
Certainly with Dack’s sharp motion between Newcastle’s midfield and defence often discomfiting Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden, and Craig Conway fazing Javier Manquillo down the guests’ left, Mowbray’s gamers often pressured Newcastle to retreat deep into their very own half.
Though they struggled to conjure closing balls creative sufficient to check the reflexes of younger Freddie Woodman – making a uncommon, and never fully convincing, look within the dwelling objective – Blackburn did win a collection of harmful set items.
To Benítez’s evident disappointment, his workforce regarded distinctly leggy, usually lingering too lengthy in possession.
The place Newcastle did often menace was in exploiting the area created by Blackburn’s excessive urgent and breaking quick on the counterattack. One of the best of these forays noticed Fabian Schär direct an extended ball ahead for Ritchie to regulate earlier than stretching David Raya with a low shot. Joselu’s close-range follow-up was deflected to security by Elliott Bennett. From the next nook Florian Lejeune – making a really respectable central defensive comeback following a speedy restoration from a ruptured cruciate ligament – headed extensive.
But it was Mowbray’s gamers who may simply have been celebrating when, on the stroke of half-time, Charlie Mulgrew’s inswinging nook deceived Benítez’s defence. When Dack couldn’t fairly make the required contact to squeeze it previous Woodman it represented a reprieve for the Tynesiders, who wanted to be conscious of Mulgrew’s spectacular dead-ball deliveries.
It was his brief free-kick to Bennett that prefaced Dack’s 13th objective of the season. Provided that Dack was essentially the most artistic participant on view it appeared completely acceptable that the previous Gillingham attacking midfielder headed Blackburn into the lead after dodging Jamie Sterry on his solution to assembly Bennett’s excellent cross.
With a number of probably influential people struggling, most notably the Chelsea loanee Kenedy and the £12m winger Jacob Murphy, Newcastle have been up towards it and wanted Manquillo to someway clear Mulgrew’s acrobatic shot off the road. In the meantime Woodman did properly to palm a capriciously swerving Mulgrew free-kick spherical a put up.
It was straightforward to see how a Newcastle workforce more and more devoid of self-belief have gained solely twice at dwelling all season and Shelvey – one participant not missing confidence – was required to step off the bench belatedly to boost the tone. “They introduced high quality on,” stated Mowbray. “Shelvey’s passing made a distinction.”
Certain sufficient Mulgrew, more and more concerned at each ends, was quickly to be discovered scooping a shot off the road on the conclusion of a determined goalmouth scramble however Newcastle nonetheless regarded set for his or her seventh third-round exit within the 11 years since Mike Ashley purchased the membership.
That destiny was averted – or a minimum of postponed – when Corry Evans introduced Ayoze Pérez down within the field and Ritchie transformed the penalty.