Newcastle suffer Stevenage giant-killing
Lowly Stevenage Borough pulled off the giant-killing shock of the FA Cup third round today, upsetting Newcastle United 3-1 on a day when several Premier League clubs were sent crashing out.
Stevenage - in the fourth tier of English football and ranked 73 places below the Magpies - advanced to the next round courtesy of a second half Mike Williamson own goal, a long-range Michael Bostwick effort and an injury time strike from Peter Winn.
Stevenage boss Graham Westley said his team were worthy winners. "It was fantastic. They deserved what they got for putting in a performance like that against a Premiership side," he told ESPN. "We played the game on the front foot and played the better football over 90 minutes and it was good to see the goals go in."
The Hertfordshire club were only promoted to the Football League last season, 34 years after being founded. The two sides had also met in the fourth round in 1998, with Stevenage securing a famous 1-1 draw at home before losing a replay 2-1 at St James Park.
Stevenage took a deserved lead on 50 minutes, when Stacy Long cut in from the left and fired a shot goalwards only for his shot to take a huge deflection off Williamson to wrongfoot Magpies keeper Tim Krul. Five minutes later and Stevenage were in dreamland, Bostwick picking up the ball on the edge of the area and lashing a ferocious shot in off the post from 20 yards to spark delirium at Broadhall Way.
Newcastle's hopes of staging a fightback unravelled in the closing minutes when second half substitute Cheik Tiote was sent off for a two-footed tackle. Joey Barton threw Newcastle a lifeline with an injury time screamer but Stevenage responded immediately with Winn's strike.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admitted Stevenage had shown more hunger for the tie. "The Premier League is all well and good but a few young boys got caught out tonight by the passion and the physical side of Stevenage," he said.
The result was comfortably the biggest upset on a day when the Wembley dreams of three other Premier League teams - Sunderland, West Brom and Blackpool - bit the dust.