It was shades of last season with Newcastle looking bereft of ideas in the final third while struggling to string together more than two passes. However, it’s a win nonetheless as Ryan Fraser’s first-half goal is enough to advance to the third round of the Carabao Cup.
Newcastle emerged from the tunnel unchanged after a 1-0 first-half lead. It was another uninspiring start for the lads who didn’t muster much all half.
At the 58-minute mark, Mark Gillespie made a double save as he parried a long-range effort from Joe Rankin-Costello. He then blocked the follow up from left-back Amari’i Bell. Those were Mark’s two first saves of the night.
Bruce then made his first change bringing Jacob Murphy on for goal-scorer Ryan Fraser. Then as we suspected, Adam Armstrong was brought on for Rovers.
Newcastle continued to struggle with possession as the midfield duo of Sean Longstaff and Dan Barlaser were practically non-existent. After a disappointing counter-attack in which Joelinton inadvisedly took a wayward shot, Steve Bruce brought Allan Saint-Maximin on for the Brazilian.
The Frenchman went upfront as the lone striker with Miguel Almiron having earlier moved deeper into the midfield alongside Barlaser and Longstaff. Steve Bruce then made his third change on 80 minutes bringing Christian Atsu on for Matt Ritchie.
Blackburn pushed for a winner with Newcastle just unable to stamp any authority on the match. Mark Gillespie came to the rescue again as he blocked a late shot by substitute Harry Chapman and Adam Armstrong’s follow up was knocked out for a corner.
Newcastle were able to hold on for the 1-0 victory but it was a dismal display at St James Park tonight. The shining light is that it was mostly our second team and we move on to face either Morecambe or Oldham with The Shrimps currently holding a 1-0 lead.
One thing was made apparent this evening, Newcastle need to move some deadweight and add another couple of players because this was not good enough by a long stretch.