Newcastle manager Chris Hughton was relieved yesterday after seeing his side come through a tricky tie at Accrington to make it into the Carling Cup third round. League Two Stanley battled well against their Premier League opponents on Wednesday night and went in level at the break after a wonderful effort from Ray Putterill in first-half stoppage time had cancelled out Ryan Taylor's impressive opener.
But the Magpies moved two goals ahead in the second period thanks to finishes from Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands before Sean Hessey's late consolation for the hosts made it 3-2 at the final whistle.
Asked if his feeling was one of relief, Hughton said: "It is, because they scored the goal just on half-time. Normally in those circumstances, they are the team that come out in the real ascendancy in the second half and we have seen it time and time again.
"But we said to the players at half-time that we need to start the second half as we did the first and I thought we had good control of the game. Certainly, we created the better chances and could have made it more comfortable for ourselves. The last goal for them probably flatters them a little bit, although it made it a nervy ending."
Hughton named an entirely different starting line-up for the match from the one which had beaten Aston Villa 6-0 on Sunday, with captain Ameobi, Taylor and Lovenkrands lending some experience to a side which also featured youngsters James Tavernier, Tamas Kadar, Shane Ferguson, Ryan Donaldson and Kazenga LuaLua.
The manager was delighted with the young players' contribution and hopes to reward some of them by giving them another run out in the next round.
"It depends on the circumstances at the time," said Hughton, who also confirmed he wants to keep the transfer-listed defender Steven Taylor at the club. But certainly I would like to keep some of them involved."
The Accrington manager, John Coleman, felt an upset could have been on the cards after his team had equalised. "We had a great chance just before they scored their second, and it was a silly goal we conceded," he said.
"If our one goes in and we go 2-1 up, it could have been a different game, but it's all ifs and buts." Asked if he thought Newcastle's team selection was in any way disrespectful, Coleman said: "Their priority is to stay in the Premier League and I fully respect that – I wish I had the strength in depth of squad.
"I don't see it as a slur at all. I think the lads they put out showed a great appetite, closed us down well and they played with a good work ethic."
Everton earned their first win of the season as they eased past League One Huddersfield 5-1 in the Carling Cup on the same night.
Jermaine Beckford claimed his first goal for the Toffees in a convincing performance at Goodison Park while the returning midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell were also on target. Louis Saha and Leon Osman wrapped up the scoring after Huddersfield had defender Lee Peltier sent off.
John Heitinga was the only Everton player with reason to rue his night's work, the Dutchman heading an own goal and then missing a penalty. After collecting just one point from their opening two Premier League games, Everton welcomed the result and performance ahead of Sunday's trip to Aston Villa. Assistant manager Steve Round said: "It was nice to get our first win but the team believe they will win regularly. That is the expectation.
"It is a matter of taking this sort of performance, in terms of goalscoring, into the next game at Aston Villa on Sunday. It was a good result, I think the manager stressed the importance of getting off to winning ways.
"We have played well enough in the other games to get wins and the big message was continue playing like they were playing and wins would follow. They went out and played the same and this time got the goals, so we're very pleased."
The performances of Fellaini and Rodwell, who were both on the bench for last weekend's draw with Wolves, give manager David Moyes plenty to ponder ahead of the weekend.
Seamus Coleman was also outstanding wide while debutants Magaye Gueye, who crossed for Fellaini's goal, and goalkeeper Jan Mucha also impressed. Round added: "He's got selection dilemmas everywhere with the quality of squad we have put together. There's not only Jack but Seamus and Fellaini. Up front you've got Jermaine Beckford, who's now looking a real threat, and Louis Saha, who can win a game on his own at any stage. There are a lot of selection problems but it is something he welcomes and wants."