Newcastle United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
IN A competition that has become a fanfare for the little man, the tunes of glory also reached out and embraced Luton Town last night as they pushed Newcastle down the same road to FA Cup ruin.
Like so many from the Premiership pride who perished before them and alongside them on a night of remarkable Cup football, Kevin Keegan's side had no cause for complaint after Luton deservedly claimed their place in the fifth round where they will face Second Division opposition in Cardiff City.
The Newcastle boss, magnanimous in defeat, expressed the hope that Luton go on to win the trophy. That might be stretching probability a little too far, but after ousting the competition's second favourites, David Pleat's team are entitled to dream their dreams.
They scored at either end of a riveting Kenilworth Road replay and in between defended as if they knew nothing would get past them. They had a post to thank when Peter Beardsley carried his one-man threat to the brink in the second half but it was a rare glimpse of the goals for the visitors.
'They say it is the Chinese Year of the Dog, but surely it has to be the year of the underdog,' Pleat quipped. 'What is happening is incredible, a quirk. Yes, we worked hard, but I would prefer it if the night was remembered for our quality because we passed the ball well in the first half and showed some nice touches.'
Quietly, in the lower reaches of the First Division, the Luton manager has been extending the careers of some wise old heads while bringing on a new brood of youngsters. One of them, John Hartson, an 18- year-old Welshman, pointed them towards victory with a cool finish in the 17th minute after he was first to Trevor Peake's long ball and rounded Mike Hooper.
Newcastle came on strong, Beardsley shooting over and then wide but it was the home side who continued to enjoy the greater menace in the penalty areas. Ten minutes before half-time, Scott Oakes's cross saw Hartson continuing to dominate Hooper but somehow Barry Venison got his header away with a dramatic overhead kick on the line.
In Oakes, Luton had a player blessed with speed and cunning, and he had already come close to extending the lead when, 11 minutes from time, he sprinted away again. Hooper managed to block his first shot, but Des Linton picked up the rebound, decided against blasting at goal, and delivered a measured pass into the box for Oakes to drill the ball home.
'That's the fascination of the competition,' Keegan said. 'Perhaps some of our entertainers had a night off, but you can't take anything away from Luton. Our players have learned the lesson that if you are not up for the Cup in every game, it is over and done with for another year.'
Luton Town (4-4-2): Sommer; Linton, Dreyer, Peake, James; Telfer, Harper, Preece, Campbell (Thorpe, 82); Oakes (Houghton, 87), Hartson. Substitute not used: Petterson (gk).
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Hooper; Watson, Venison, Howey, Beresford; Lee, Clark, Elliott, Sellars; Cole, Beardsley. Substitutes not used: Robinson, Neilson, Srnicek (gk).
Referee: E Parker (Preston).
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