Dominant Newcastle maintain pre-World Cup momentum

Newcastle United’s Allan Saint-Maximin controls the ball during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth – Getty Images

In the end, no matter how much pressure you think you can absorb it always tends to get you in the end as Bournemouth were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by an Adam Smith own goal.

In his first game as permanent manager Gary O’Neil’s side were well trained, organized and defended with the kind of resilience they will need if they are to stay in the Premier League, but they were also totally beaten by Newcastle United.

From the first whistle to the last, it was a one-way traffic, the Magpies camping out in their own half, launching one attack after another, only to keep crashing into brick walls or miss the kind of simple chances that they will have to seize if they want to continue to challenge at the top end of the table.

Most people in Tyneside spent most of the World Cup wondering how Newcastle were going to pick up the season again. England’s quarter-final exit to France is far less important to most black and white minds than whether Eddie Howe can continue to steer his side to a European place next season.

In such brilliant form before attention turned to Qatar, third in the league and victorious over Chelsea in their last game at St James’ Park in November, the disruption threatened to slow their momentum more than anything else.

Howe had spent most of his time watching videos of Premier League opponents Newcastle, barely taking a few days off before returning to work. He knew it was a tough test, that defeat in the competition which offered the most realistic chance of winning silverware in his first full season could derail their campaign, but his players, as they had against Crystal Palace in the previous round, they had almost won. job done. They weren’t at their best but in the end they were still too good for Bournemouth whose main achievement of the night was maintaining a respectable score.

Newcastle was like a rock rolling down a snow-covered hill. They started slow and the threat to Bournemouth was small but built up speed and power until they resembled a large boulder that threatened to break through their opponents and leave them scattered in a heap.

The Cherries held on for as long as they could but were in survival mode from the first whistle.

AFC Bournemouth's Adam Smith scores an own goal during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth at St James' Park - Getty Images

AFC Bournemouth’s Adam Smith scores an own goal during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth at St James’ Park – Getty Images

Callum Wilson had a goal disallowed for offside after Joe Willock touched the ball in an offside position in the formation before putting a tricky header, angled backwards, over the bar from Kieran Trippier’s cross.

Trippier also came close with a free kick that failed to dive deep enough to fall under the bar and there was also poor decision making from Sean Longstaff. Gifted with possession just outside the area from a poor pass from Bournemouth he immediately looked to shoot, a wild effort clipped across the Gallowgate End with Callum Wilson in space in front of him and Miguel Almiron in a much better position to the right of him.

Bournemouth were held up and failed to relieve the pressure, Fabian Schar also came close after being given space and time to shoot from 25 yards before failing to touch in a cross at the far post. Wilson took a volley from another superbly set piece but again failed to get it on target.

The worst mistake came in first half stoppage time, when a brilliant cross from Dan Burn found Almiron, unmarked at the far post, inside the six-yard box, with half the goal to aim for and he failed to making a proper connection with a side foot finish, the ball slid backwards away from goal and Bournemouth were able to clear.

So it continued after the break, Schar missing Trippier’s free kick at the near post when he looked certain to score and then came Bournemouth’s chance, Kieffer Moore, unmarked, in the center of the box, but his strike butt crashed into billboards rather than the back of the net.

This could have secured the landslide victory and grab that O’Neil had set his team to achieve, but minutes later Newcastle got the goal they deserved when Smith managed to get his head in Trippier’s cross in front of Wilson, but only to then send his goalkeeper Mark Travers past and into the far corner. Newcastle had all but earned their share of the fortune but still needed a great Nick Pope save on the death to deny Dominic Solanke after a fine pass from Marcos Senesi.

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