Report: Albion 2 Newcastle United 0
History repeated itself as Albion knocked their illustrious Premier League opponents out of the FA Cup for the second season running.
Last year a 1-0 victory at the Amex was good enough to secure a passage into the fifth round, and goals from Andrea Orlandi and Will Hoskins did the trick this time, albeit one round earlier.
On chances created and possession enjoyed, Albion lived up to their pre-match billing of bookies’ favourites, against a lacklustre United side missing a number of key players.
Yet Albion were not without their own changes, with goalkeeper Casper Ankergren coming in for his first start of the season and Gary Dicker returning to the starting line-up.
Keen to build on the 3-0 New Year’s Day victory at Ipswich, Albion made their intentions clear from the start, with Dean Hammond blasting over from the edge of the box.
Right-back David Lopez then sent in a teasing cross which was met by Dicker at the far post, but his header across the face of goal was cleared off the line by James Perch.
Then, in this sustained period of pressure, Orlandi went down in the box under the challenge of James Tavernier but referee Lee Probert waved play-on despite the protestations of the Amex crowd.
With the experienced Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini and Papiss Cisse all missing from the Toon line-up, the visitors were struggling to impose themselves on the game – and it was Krul’s replacement, Rob Elliot, who needed to be alert to a fierce drive from David on the 15-minute mark.
Newcastle’s first effort on goal came in the 22nd minute when Hammond brought down Shola Ameobi, but with Probert playing the advantage, Gael Bigirimana let fly from 20 yards. Ankergren beat out the stinging effort before Adam El-Abd cleared the danger.
Albion reacted in the best possible way by scoring the opening goal in the 33rd minute.
Wayne Bridge did well to keep Gordon Greer’s raking pass in play and the left-back’s teasing by-line cross was met by Orlandi, whose audacious flick with the outside of his boot beat Elliot’s despairing dive.
Newcastle reacted with a weak effort from Shola Ameobi but it was Albion who went in at the break the far happier of the two sides.
Pardew reacted by bringing on Nile Ranger and Paul Dumett at half-time but again it was Albion who settled first, with Orlandi trying his luck from distance.
It would prove to be the Spaniard’s last contribution as he was replaced on the hour mark by former Newcastle youngster Kazenga LuaLua.
Orlandi was not the only player leaving the field, with Shola Ameobi given his marching orders three minutes later for a foul on David – his second booking of the game.
With the numerical advantage, Albion brought on the fresh legs of Hoskins to the attack but it was Newcastle sub Sylvain Marveaux who went close on 75 minutes – only to see his effort blocked by Liam Bridcutt.
Newcastle, now desperate to salvage something from the game, continued to apply pressure with Ankergren called into action after Sammy Ameobi’s by-line cross was diverted goalwards off the knee of Greer.
LuaLua then tried his luck with a trademark low drive before Hoskins made the game safe, latching onto David’s pass before coolly tucking the ball past the advancing Elliot with three minutes remaining.
In a strange quirk of fate Albion’s FA Cup run which ended in a Wembley appearance 30 years ago began with victory in the third round against Newcastle. The fourth round draw will be much anticipated by Albion players and fans alike.