Newcastle United and Accrington Stanley are two very different clubs united by money. One has never had any, the other has poured enough of it into the waters of the Tyne to have financed a small African republic.
Newcastle United and Accrington are two very different clubs united by money. One has never had any, the other has poured enough of it into the the Tyne to have financed a small African republic. These days both are on a more secure footing. This time last year the buckets were being passed around stop Stanley closing down for a second time. The calls for cash were there last night but to take a young girl afflicted by illness on holiday, while the £150,000 Sky paid to televise this tie will secure the club's short-term future.
Newcastle, too, are a far more stable institution. This may have lacked the panache of Sunday's 6-0 rout of Aston Villa and most of the participants were rested but, gamely though Accrington played, Newcastle were usually in control and once Shola Ameobi stabbed home from six yards the question should have been how many. Peter Lovenkrands ensured the answer was three, while Kazenga LuaLua struck the post. However, Stanley fought to the finish epitomised by Tim Krul's full-length save to deny first James Ryan and then Ray Putterill and Sean Hessey's stoppage-time goal. It was defeat with honour.
Accrington is the smallest town in England to support a Football League club and the Crown Ground is three corrugated iron roofs and an open terrace but their supporters do not lack wit or passion. As the teams ran out the home fans unfurled two giant banners. One showed a single magpie, for sorrow, being kicked by a flat-capped, beer-supping Stanleyite back up the road to Newcastle. The other was a portrait of Sir Bobby Robson with the legend "Heaven's Manager".
When Putterill drilled home his shot in front of the 1,500 who had travelled from Tyneside the noise became a cacophony. Putterill was once on Liverpool's books, glories in the nickname of Razor and cut Newcastle in first-half stoppage time with the only shot of any real description Accrington mustered before the interval.
It was quite a day for Newcastle footballers called Taylor. It began with the club transfer-listing Steven, who had refused to sign a new contract, although last night his manager, Chris Hughton, said he wanted him to stay, presumably while not accepting his demand for a weekly salary of £65,000.
Meanwhile Ryan Taylor, whose dad played Sunday League football with the Accrington manager, John Coleman, unleashed a 35-yard shot in the general direction of his father standing among the home fans. It finished in the back of Dunbavin's net. His dad began to celebrate and then, remembering where he was, thought better of it.
Accrington Stanley (4-2-3-1) Dunbavin; Bateson (Turner, 66), Edwards, Hessey, Winnard; Procter, Barnett; Putterill, Ryan, McConville; Parkinson. Substitutes not used Cisak (g), Richardson, Joyce, Boulding, Murphy, Owens.
Newcastle United (4-3-3) Krul; Taylor, Kadar, Tavernier, Ferguson; LuaLua, Donaldson, Vukic (Nolan, 90); Lovenkrands, Ameobi, Ranger. Substitutes not used Soderberg (g), Williamson, Barton, Routledge, Perch, Smith.
Referee Robert Shoebridge