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Match Report


Posted Sat 07 Jan 12 at 17:06 PM

Report: Newcastle 2 Rovers 1

Jonas Gutierrez scored with virtually the last kick of the game to knock Rovers out of the FA Cup at the third round stage.

The Newcastle winger played a one-two with Leon Best before lifting the ball over Mark Bunn in the fifth minute of time added on.

It was revenge for the Magpies after Rovers had knocked Newcastle out of the Carling Cup with a last-gasp goal of their own.

Earlier, David Goodwillie had fired Rovers into the lead on 35 minutes - capitalising from close range at a corner just as he did against Stoke five days ago.

Hatem Ben Arfa equalised 20 minutes from time with a sensational solo goal, before Gutierrez popped up with the winner, just as the tie seemed destined for a replay.

Before the game, Rovers made five changes to the side that lost 2-1 at home to Stoke on Monday.

Gael Givet returned to the starting line-up as captain - the Frenchman's first start since undergoing heart surgery.

Martin Olsson made his first start in two months after recovering from a troublesome hamstring injury, whilst Goodwillie was rewarded for his first Premier League goal with the lone striker's role.

There were also starts for attacking duo Ruben Rochina and Simon Vukcevic.

Buoyed by their 3-0 victory over Manchester United just three days earlier, Newcastle started the game strongly, with Rovers riding their luck in the early stages.

A minute in, Best looked to have fouled Grant Hanley, but play was allowed to continue and the Republic of Ireland international forced a superb diving save from Bunn. The hosts threatened again from the resultant corner, before Mike Williamson curled an effort over the bar.

On six minuites, a crisp left-foot strike from Gutierrez forced another smart save from Bunn to his left and on the follow-up, Gabriel Obertan fed Yohan Cabaye, who fired comfortably into the arms of the Rovers keeper.

Rovers had another let off on 10 minutes. Morten Gamst Pedersen gave away possession, Ben Arfa broke, before playing in Cabaye, who blazed over when well placed.

Rovers' first effort arrived on 20 minutes. Olsson picked out Rochina, who stung the gloves of Tim Krul from the left-hand edge of the box.

The Spaniard tried his luck again seven minutes later, following a poor touch by Fabricio Coloccini, but his 30-yard strike sailed well wide.

On 33 minutes, Pedersen again conceded possession, Best got in behind, his cross fell to Gutierrez, who curled inches wide of the far post.

Two minutes later and Rovers took the lead. Pedersen's corner from the left was met by the head of Hanley, Krul made a superb save, but the ball hit Goodwillie, who poked it over the line.

It was the Scotland striker's second goal in as many games and almost a carbon copy of his strike against Stoke.

Rovers started the second half well, with Steven Nzonzi firing an ambitious half-volley over the bar five minutes after the restart.

Two minutes later, Ben Arfa's ball across the face of goal from the left found Best, who seemed certain to score, but Olsson made an unbelievable block. Best had strayed offside, but the young Swede wasn't to know.

Both sides rang the changes, with Mauro Formica replacing Rochina for Rovers, whilst Ryan Taylor and Shola Ameobi came on for the hosts.

And with virtually his first touch, Ameobi ought to have scored. Hanley gave the ball straight to Cabaye, who slipped in the Newcastle striker, who ballooned over the bar.

Either side of Ameobi's effort, Vukcevic twice shot straight into the arms of Krul.

Ameobi was proving a handful and Newcastle came close again on 68 minutes. From Taylor's free-kick, Ameobi won the header, Best headed it back across goal to his strike partner, whose goal-bound header was brilliantly blocked by Nzonzi.

But two minutes later, Newcastle's equaliser arrived. After picking up the ball outside the box, Ben Arfa twisted and turned past four Rovers players, before blasting the ball into the roof of the net. It was a moment of magic from the former Marseille man.

Taylor's deliveries were a major cause of concern for Rovers and on 78 minutes, his corner from the left was headed onto the top of the bar by Williamson.

After Formica blazed over the bar for Rovers, another Taylor corner was played to Cabaye outside the box, his volley was touched goalwards by Coloccini, but Bunn saved with his legs.

A minute later, the Rovers keeper came out to smother Gutierrez's shot, after the Argentine had got the better of Adam Henley down the left.

Four minutes of stoppage time went up on the board, but in the fifth minute, Newcastle snatched the win. Gutierrez played the ball into the feet of Best, who flicked it back into the path of the South American star, who lifted a delicate shot over the advancing Bunn.

The full-time whislte sounded seconds later, to send 30,000 Geordie fans home happy.

Rovers can now concentrate their efforts on Premier League survival, with Fulham the visitors to Ewood Park next weekend.

NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson (R. Taylor 59), Williamson, Coloccini (c), Santon, Obertan (Sh. Ameobi 56), Abeid (Gosling 87), Cabaye, Gutierrez, Ben Arfa, Best.

Subs not used: Elliot (GK), Perch, Vuckic, Sa. Ameobi.

ROVERS: Bunn, Henley, Hanley, Givet (c), Olsson (Lowe 76), Vukcevic, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Pedersen, Rochina (Formica 56), Goodwillie (Slew 81).

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Morris, Blackman, Yakubu.

Booked: Williamson, Gutierrez (Newcastle) Bunn (Rovers)

Attendance: 30,876

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