As darkness fell in the crisp northern sky, Newcastle United and Leeds United took to the field at St James's Park on Wednesday night, in what turned out to be a successful evening for the magpies.
Papiss Cisse scored his first goal of the season before Yoan Gouffran found the back of the net in the second half, with Sammy Ameobi assisting on both occasions.
Pardew named 6 changes to the starting XI that lost 2-3 to newly promoted Hull city at the weekend; a bitterly disappointing result after what has been a promising start to the season.
The first effort on goal was to come from Leeds United’s Ross McCormack in the 6th minute. McCormack unleashed a well-measured chip from outside the box that clipped the underside of the bar, much to the relief of beaten Tim Krul.
After a shaky start, Newcastle constructed some neat passages of play, and began to dominate the match. Fabricio Coloccini came close after his headed effort was cleared off the line in the 20th minute. It soon became the matter of when and not if we’d score.
Despite Newcastle’s overall dominance, the visitors put up a good fight in what was a classic English cup-tie. The atmosphere eclipsed in the eleventh minute when both sets of fans broke into applause to honour the late Gary Speed, who tragically took his own life on November 27th 2011.
However, the impressive army of 6000 Leeds fans was soon silenced after Cisse headed in a superb cross from Ameobi in the 31st minute, giving Newcastle the lead that they undeniably deserved.
An inviting through ball by Paul Dummet set up the attack, and this ignited what was a successful night for the homegrown youngster. The natural chemistry between himself and Ameobi became a feature of the night; a feature that Alan Pardew cannot afford to ignore looking into the future.
Newcastle enjoyed long spells of possession that seemed to uplift the confidence and every single player on the pitch, and soon enough the lead was doubled. After more excellent work from Ameobi, Gouffran did not even need to look up as he fired the ball into the top right hand corner in front of the Gallowgate, 22 minutes into the second half.
It could have been four if it weren’t for the weak finishing from Gabriel Obertan, who passed up two one-on-one opportunities in the closing stages of the game. He is certainly a player that needs refining; good skill, good speed, however he is let down by his non-existent end product.
After a much needed win against Leeds last night, Newcastle continue on their quest for silverware. 44 years on, surely it’s about time we won something? Despite the optimism across Tyneside, a fourth round draw with Manchester City certainly won’t be easy.
Henry G Winter