Newcastle made a great escape at Newport County this evening. We advance on penalties but shouldn’t take any pleasure in the performance. While we did rally late to get to a penalty shootout, it was far more difficult than it probably should have been.
Newcastle emerged unchanged for the second half after a dreadful first-half had them trailing 1-0 at Newport. Bruce started with the wingers switching flanks but they soon changed back.
In a back and forth opening, Newcastle had an excellent chance on a break in the 52nd minute. Sean Longstaff launched a long ball to Ryan Fraser who was through on goal. However, his shot was saved by Townsend as was the follow-up effort from Almiron.
Bruce then made an aggressive double change bringing Callum Wilson and Joelinton on for Andy Carroll and Miguel Almiron. Joelinton played as a second striker behind Wilson as Newcastle immediately created a few half chances.
Fabian Schar was brought on for Emil Krafth in the 71st minute for his season debut. He almost got the end of a corner immediately but it glanced off his face for a goal kick.
The hosts continued to be hard to break down while having some impressive spells in possession. Newcastle tried to attack but lacked the final ball to threaten Townsend in the Newport goal.
With just 10 minutes remaining both Wilson and Murphy had decent opportunities in front of the Newport net but failed to make them count. Newcastle continued to push for an equalizer but the Newport defenders were playing out of their skins.
Then a bit of magic saw Newcastle draw level on a wonderful strike from Jonjo Shelvey in the 87th minute. The midfielder was patient as he held the ball just inside the box. He created space and then hit a stunner that beat Townsend.
Newport were holding on as Newcastle continued to throw everything at them. Jacob Murphy had another shot blocked by Townsend while the winger also whipped in a terrific cross that was just out of the reach of a lunging Ryan Fraser.
However, the Exiles held out, barely, and the match went to penalties. Joelinton’s tentative penalty was saved as was Ryan Taylor’s of Newport County as the shootout reached sudden death. Brandon Cooper skied his penalty and Newcastle advance to the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup.