Whatever happens to Newcastle United in the Premier League this season they will always have the night of 22 September 2010 when they conquered the fortress of Stamford Bridge in a Carling Cup classic.
The same goes for Shola Ameobi, whose career might have meandered at times since his early promise but who last night scored a 90th-minute winner that takes its place in Newcastle folklore. It was the first domestic defeat for Chelsea since April. It was the first domestic cup defeat in open play since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. It was a remarkable night.
It was also the Carling Cup third round at its very best: two sides with teenagers in their teams who attacked without remorse. Give Carlo Ancelotti some credit – unlike his predecessors at Chelsea in the Carling Cup he gave the academy players a chance. Ancelotti picked three teenagers and named four on the bench but it was the injuries his team sustained that will haunt him.
Chelsea finished with 10 men, having lost Salomon Kalou, Yossi Benayoun and Gaël Kakuta to injury and with all their substitutions used up. Kalou is out of Saturday's game against Manchester City, which hurt Ancelotti more than elimination from a competition that he said was "not a priority". Although it was difficult to tell that from the way his team played.
Chelsea were not beaten by Chris Hughton's best side; indeed, the Newcastle manager made 10 changes from the team that had beaten Everton at the weekend. He picked three teenagers in his first XI – Haris Vuckic, Nile Ranger and Shane Ferguson – and Newcastle responded magnificently, coming from behind to lead 3-1 after Patrick van Aanholt scored the first for Chelsea in the sixth minute.
In the last 20 minutes, they were pegged back by two goals from Nicolas Anelka, the second of which came from the penalty spot. The decision by referee Phil Dowd to penalise Chiek Tiote for a clash with Alex da Costa was a very bad call and, until Ameobi scored his second to win the game, it threatened to be one that robbed Newcastle of a very famous victory.
"This was a game that most people felt we couldn't win irrespective of the side that we put out," Hughton said. "I think it speaks volumes for the players and, hopefully, it will give us momentum. It shows that we have competition for places."
Ancelotti picked Kakuta, 19; Van Aanholt, 19 and Jeffrey Bruma, 18, in his starting line-up and also gave a home debut to Josh McEachran as a substitute. The manager was not happy about two tackles from Ryan Taylor, the first of which caused Kakuta's injury. Having waved an imaginary red card when Taylor made his second challenge, Ancelotti was conciliatory afterwards.
There was also a Newcastle debut for the 36-year-old Sol Campbell in the centre of defence but it was the 19-year-old Ranger who made an early impression. Originally from Highgate in north London, he was thrown out of Southampton's academy and was sent to a young offenders' institution as a 15-year-old. Ranger was badly at fault for Van Aanholt's first goal but made amends with the equaliser.
Ranger lost the ball to Van Aanholt within six minutes and from there Kakuta crossed for the Dutch teenager to score. On 27 minutes, Ferguson crossed and John Terry was beaten to the ball by Peter Lovenkrands, who flicked it on to Ranger for the equaliser at the back post. Terry had not played since 15 September and came off at half-time as had been planned. Ancelotti said he was fit for Saturday's game.
Newcastle's second came when Taylor hit a brilliant free-kick past Ross Turnbull in the Chelsea goal. It was not the young goalkeeper's best night – Newcastle's third goal was stroked in beautifully by Ameobi after a dreadful pass from Paulo Ferreira. Chelsea came back through Anelka who finished Van Aanholt's excellent cross. The penalty award on 86 minutes later was a bad decision; Anelka converted it beautifully. Just as it looked like the game was heading for extra time Ameobi outjumped Alex to head the winner direct from Jonas Gutierrez's corner.
Chelsea 4-1-4-1 Turnbull; Ferreira, Bruma, Terry (Alex, h-t), Van Aanholt; Ramires; Sturridge, Benayoun, Zhirkov, Kakuta (Kalou, h-t; McEachran, 56); Anelka. Substitutes not used Cech (gk), Clifford, Mellis, Chalobah.
Newcastle 4-4-2 Krul; R Taylor (Tiote, 63), Campbell, Coloccini (Williamson, 63), Ferguson (Barton, 90); Ranger, Smith, Vuckic, Gutierrez; Amoebi, Lovenkrands. Substitutes not used Soderberg (gk), Nolan, Carroll, Arfa.
Man of the match Ameobi
Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Match rating 9/10Reuse content