Football: Rovers stunned by Saha strike

KENNY DALGLISH, Ruud Gullit - the identity of the manager does not seem to matter. Newcastle might frustrate in the League, but when it comes to the FA Cup they assume a more compelling nature.

Last year, under Dalglish, they reached the final and last night they moved to within two games of a return trip to Wembley when Louis Saha scored the only goal in this fifth-round replay. The reward is a home quarter-final against Everton.

The result extends a dismal record for Blackburn, who have gone out of the Cup by losing at home on the last six occasions, five of them after they had gained replays.

Stripped half bare by injury and ineligibility, Blackburn rarely threatened to knock Newcastle out of a stride personified most elegantly by the German midfielder Dietmar Hamann.

Indeed, Newcastle would have spared their blood pressure if they had taken their chances on the break towards the end. Fortunately for them the goal by Saha, a French striker on loan from Metz and playing only because Alan Shearer was injured, proved enough.

"It should have been more than 1-0," Gullit, the Newcastle manager, said. "Finished. The performance was right. We were in control which pleased me and you never had the feeling we were in trouble."

Rovers, dreadful against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, were an improvement but only really threatened at the extreme ends of the first half.

"We patched it up and that doesn't help," Brian Kidd, their manager, said. "We're continually making four or five changes and it's difficult to create a pattern. It's unfair on the players. It's makeshift."

Kevin Davies should have done better with a header from Nathan Blake's knock-down after three minutes. But, 11 minutes later, off balance and at an acute angle, he did well to frighten John Filan.

It had been a bright start for Rovers, but slowly Newcastle's passing game wrestled control from the more frantic Blackburn. After 15 minutes Filan reacted smartly to parry a 30-yard free-kick after the defensive wall had parted for Hamann, but if he showed sharpness then it was little compared with eight minutes later when he dived low to his left to turn to Temur Ketsbaia's shot round the post.

The impression was that Newcastle were gaining control and that was underlined after 39 minutes when the visitors took the lead. Again Hamann was to provide the pass, 40 yards from right to left into the gap behind Jeff Kenna. Saha surged into that hole, controlled with his chest and then half-volleyed sweetly into the far corner.

This instigated a response from Blackburn and the closest they came to an equaliser arrived a minute later. Kenna's pass was met on the charge by Jason Wilcox, whose touch would have crept in at the near post but for Shay Given's excellent save.

The second half was a tale of unconvincing Blackburn pressure and Newcastle breaks, some of which ought to have produced something more tangible. Never was this more so than in the 66th, when Garry Brady lashed a shot that was saved by Filan and sat up invitingly for Laurent Charvet, who struck the outside of the post. Just before then Blackburn had gambled by bringing on an extra striker, introducing Ashley Ward for Damien Duff.

The decision prompted boos from the home crowd, summing up a bad night for Rovers. Kidd's extended honeymoon could be coming to an end.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Filan; Kenna (Croft, 56), Peacock, Broomes, Davidson; Gillespie, Marcolin, Wilcox, Duff (Ward, 58); Davies, Blake. Substitutes not used: Johnson, Dunn, Flowers (gk).

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Charvet, Dabizas, Howey, Barton; Solano, Hamann, Speed, Brady; Saha, Ketsbaia. Substitutes not used: Lee, Dalglish, Hughes, Griffin, Harper (gk).

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen