By way of a break from the freneticism of the Premiership, its leaders, Newcastle, completely dismantled Bristol City last night. If any match could symbolise the burgeoning divide in pace and standards between the divisions, it was probably this Coca-Cola Cup second-round tie.
The Kevin Keegan era began with a win over Bristol City three seasons ago. That could not prevent Newcastle finishing below the West Country club in the old Second Division that season but the changed fortunes between the pair since were swiftly evident.
It took Newcastle a mere eight minutes to answer the $64,000 question about whether City might close the gap of 64 league places between the sides. Scott Sellars, making his first start for 11 months, was impeccably accurate with his corner from the right. Darren Peacock, standing in the centre of the six-yard box, was left to place his glancing header at will for his first goal of the season.
Despite the occasional incursion down the right flank by Junior Bent, there was an object lesson in right-wing play at the other end from Keith Gillespie. He embarrassed the full-back Rob Edwards at will and the City defender was booked for a late challenge.
The second goal came from the other flank. David Ginola's cross was cleared only as far as Sellars 25 yards out. His raspingly precise left-foot shot, scraping the inside of a post as it went in, belied his long absence. The inevitable third came via a Les Ferdinand tap-in as the Bristol defence threatened to be split asunder.
If the the Magpies tended to drift towards half-time, they were rampant immediately afterwards. The ball flowed down the left from Sellars to Ruel Fox, who found Gillespie advancing from the right and he drilled his shot home.
City made a belated fist of it. However, it was inevitable that Newcastle would score again, Robert Lee rounding off another magical move.
Bristol City (4-4-2): Kite; Hansen, Bryant, Dryden, Edwards; Bent, Plummer (Hewlett, 81) Kuhl, Munro; Seal, Agostino. Substitutes not used: Partridge, Paterson (gk)
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Hislop (Srnicek, 64); Barton (Hottiger, 64), Peacock, Howey, Elliott; Gillespie (Watson, 64), Lee, Sellars, Ginola; Ferdinand, Fox.
Referee: K Burge (Tonypandy).Reuse content