Gillingham 0 Newcastle United 1: Neil Cameron's match analysis

A 1-0 victory at least gives Newcastle United supporters the chance to dream of a long run in the Capital One Cup

Action Images / Tony O'Brien Gillingham's Antonio German (R) in action with Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini
Gillingham's Antonio German (R) in action with Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini

Wembley... here come Newcastle United. Well, they are heading into the third round of the Capital One Cup at any rate, which the supporters hope is the start of a proper push to one of those final things.

This was exactly how to approach such a tie. A strong team full of what you would call stars, both young and old, had too much for Gillingham at their Priestfield home.

It was a good night for Massadio Haidara and Gabriel Obertan who forced the opening goal, an own goal, and now his trick has to be that he plays like this in the Premier League.

Haidara may have forced his way into the team to face Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Siem de Jong started for the first time and impressed with his range of passing and ability to find space in what was a crowded midfield.

The last time these two met was in 1976 – a year when Newcastle last reached the final of this competition. Is it too much to ask for that to happen again?

Gillingham had a few injuries and a young starting eleven. They showed plenty of guts, had their chances and had a strong end to the game. So it wasn’t perfect. But it was professional enough.

A quiet start was interrupted by a flurry of activity on ten minutes. A superb run by Haidara took him down the left flank as he determinedly got into the box. His low cross was controlled by De Jong, whose shot on the turn was blocked.

The ball broke to out to Mehdi Abeid, who put his whole body through an effort that Callum Davies took in his stomach. Brave lad.

A few seconds later and Gillingham were on the attack with Cody McDonald finding himself on a one-on-one with Fabricio Coloccini, and for a second it seemed as if the striker, who had a good night, was going to get the better of the Newcastle skipper, who was slightly unsure on his feet.

However, the Argentinian recovered and made a superb tackle on his man inside the box.

Newcastle came close to a goal on 14 minutes when from a Gillingham corner, they broke quickly through Gabriel Obertan. With the men from Kent struggling to get back, the Frenchman squared for Abeid, but his shot was pulled wide from 20 yards. He should have done better.

Emmanuel Riviere hadn’t seen much of the ball, so he was grateful with a pass on 20 minutes which gave him a shot on the spin, which Stephen Bywater was always going to save.

And then came the breakthrough on 23 minutes. De Jong pinged a great pass to Gabriel Obertan whose pace took him past Davies, he crossed and the ball came off former Sunderland man John Egan from a few yards out. Bywater had no chance.

De Jong went close himself from a corner a few minutes later, a near post flick going across the goal rather than into it – but it was a good move. Obertan showed great skill on 27 minutes as he dribbled past Davies on the touchline, switching the ball from right to left foot, which utterly bemused the left-back; his cross found Riviere who stuck out a foot, but it was too close to Gillingham keeper Bywater. The home side had one or two good players, but the Newcastle midfield two of Moussa Sissoko and Abeid, who could be happy with his night’s work, read any potential attack well.

Newcastle weren’t quite coasting it, but they were in control for the most part. And that should have take a two goal lead on 36 minutes. Another fine run by Haidara bought the young man some space on the left to get in a low cross which Aarons met, only he couldn’t get anything on his shot from ten yards and Bywater had a simple save.

Cup ties, by their very nature, are always liable to produce something strange out of nothing.

This almost happened a minute after that chance when Gillingham right-back Matt Fish who attempted a left foot curling shot from outside the are that Tim Krul watched go way too close to his top corner than he would have wanted.

Aarons was causing problems every time he got the chance to run at the opposition. His pace is blistering and he also plays with his head up and knows when to turn back in.

As was Haidara whose cross on 53 minutes, a zinger that defenders and goalkeeper hate, was met in front of goal by Riviere who was stretching a bit too much to get his effort on target.

And then a minute later, the left-back had a shot from a good 30 yards out, and from an angle, which rattled the crossbar. It was an astonishing effort.

The Aarons all step-overs and shoulder dips, put a cross come shot across goal that could have led to a goal if De Jong had been a bit more alert.

Coloccini looked like he enjoyed his shot from distance on the hour, which was well struck by right at Bywater.

And then Gillingham nearly scored on 70 minutes.

For reasons best known to him, Daryl Janmaat played a ridiculous pass-back to Krul who hurried his clearance only for Luke Norris to collect, dummy Coloccini and his shot was superbly put over by the Dutchman.

It was a more nervy end than it should have been, however, Newcastle got there.

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