North East UK news Newcastle now have two teamsheets but Blackburn display offered timely warning MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Newcastle United beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 in their Carabao Cup second-round tie at St James' Park but it was a struggle at times
Breaking News ! Newcastle United have scraped into the third round of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 2016 - but the Magpies are going to have to offer a lot more than they did against Blackburn Rovers to go far in the competition this season. Steve Bruce made wholesale changes to the side that triumphed at West Ham three days previously and, understandably, the black-and-whites were a little disjointed. But, time and time again, Newcastle invited pressure from the visitors, who dominated possession and had the better of the chances - even if the Championship side were sorely lacking a cutting edge up front. For Bruce, all that will have mattered was getting into the next round, getting minutes into his players' legs and seeing Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser light up an otherwise drab affair. With careful management of the squad, Newcastle have an opportunity to go far in the Carabao Cup this season but they will have to improve at Morecambe next week. Given how the campaign has been condensed, remarkably, we will know which teams will be in the last eight by the end of September and the usual suspects will surely ring the changes to cope with that fixture pile-up. Read More Related Articles Newcastle United's untouchables already clear but debutants impress - five things vs Blackburn Read More Related Articles Newcastle 1-0 Blackburn LIVE: Reaction as Magpies into round three with an unconvincing performance Having been handed a tricky second-round tie against Leicester City a year ago, this time around, Bruce's side welcomed Blackburn to St James' Park. Lower league opposition have caused Newcastle problems in cup competitions in 2020 - the black-and-whites required replays to get past Rochdale and Oxford in the FA Cup - but Bruce felt he could rotate and still see off a decent Blackburn side so made 10 changes. Javier Manquillo was the only survivor from the side that beat West Ham at the London Stadium three days previously, but it said a lot about the strength in depth of the squad that the team selected half-resembled a starting XI the Magpies put out on a number of occasions last season. Ciaran Clark, Sean Longstaff, Matt Ritchie, Miguel Almiron, who were all eager to stake a claim, were among those who were handed the chance to impress from the start while Mark Gillespie and Ryan Fraser made their debuts. Whatever about the club's summer signings strengthening the first XI, the new additions have, obviously, raised the level of the squad, too, and there is no doubt Bruce has a stronger group than a year previously. “The additions made the squad as strong as I’ve seen from a Newcastle team in a very long time," Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray said ahead of the tie. Miguel Almiron plays a pass past Lewis Travis during Newcastle United's Carabao Cup win against Blackburn Rovers “The players who have come in have given them some real depth to their side. The Matt Ritchies, the Joelintons, a £40m player, Almiron, they were all sitting on the bench at the weekend. They’re looking pretty strong at the moment.
. Having made so many changes, the Magpies struggled to get a foothold in the opening stages and it was the visitors who looked more composed on the ball. To sum up Blackburn's confidence, the Championship side had 83 per cent possession in the first quarter of an hour as Newcastle stood off and let Mowbray's side bring the ball out from the back. Blackburn had a great opportunity to break the deadlock but Lewis Holtby, unmarked, completely missed the target from 12 yards out after being picked out by Ryan Nyambe. That should have served as a wake up call - Blackburn were finding it too easy to bring the ball out from the back - and Fraser took matters into his own hands by winning possession back with a crunching tackle at one stage.
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Despite never playing together, Fraser and Almiron showed glimpses of a promising understanding and the pair combined to put Newcastle in front with a piece of quality that this game sorely needed 10 minutes before half-time. Picking up the ball just inside Blackburn's half, Almiron read Fraser's off the ball run and cut the visitors' defence open with a fine reverse pass. Fraser did the rest - beating the offside trap - before squeezing the ball past goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski. It was just what Bruce would have wanted before the break but the goal did little to spark Newcastle into life - or crush Blackburn's spirit. Gillespie was forced into an important double save just before the hour mark to keep out Ben Brereton and Amari'i Bell and it was the visitors who had the better opportunities after half-time. Substitute Adam Armstrong must have smelt blood when he entered the fray against his old club midway through the second half and the Magpies seemed to retreat deeper and deeper as the game progressed.
Mark Gillespie made some important catches late on
Derrick Williams fired over the top late on while substitute Jacob Murphy made a crucial last-ditch tackle to keep Brereton out at the death. Newcastle are into the next round but, after the high of Saturday, this felt like a performance we had seen before. The Magpies can't afford too many of those this season.
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