As a child, Joe Ironside idolized Alan Shearer and enjoyed watching the England center forward play for Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
On Saturday, Ironside returned to Tyneside in Cambridge United’s No. 9 jersey and the Middlesbrough-born forward scored a goal Shearer would have treasured to give Mark Bonner’s magnificent League One team the kind of triumph that makes the third round. of the FA Cup be so special. .
Cambridge is 41 notches down from Newcastle, but would not have known for much of a tie that ended Eddie Howe’s team still winning just one game all season and Bonner’s players jumping across the field and hugging everyone. those in sight.
Around the 10 minute mark, the first choruses of “Premier League, you’re laughing” descended from the upper level of Leazes End, where the 5,000 traveling Cambridge fans were staying.
His team had started well, defending with industry, intelligence and compactness while persistently guessing the intentions of a strong Newcastle starter XI. Although Kieran Trippier raised the tone courtesy of some high-caliber touches in his debut as a right back, Howe’s team initially played in clear uncertainty.
After registering just one win since August, Newcastle frequently did not seem to trust their skill and instincts, often taking too many touches or delaying a pass by an extra couple of seconds. One of the few players who seems immune to such introspection – and knows he shouldn’t think too much about things – is Allan Saint-Maximin, but even Howe’s great improviser was initially cleverly followed by his League One keepers.
Furthermore, Saint-Maximin suffered the indignity of, on more than one occasion, being easily ignored by Bonner’s captain, Paul Digby. Deployed in a defensive midfielder role, Digby served as a near-sweeper, protecting the visiting baseline impressively.
With the home passing radar somewhat off and the pressing game failing slightly, Cambridge sensed the opportunity and their center forward Ironside worried all four of Howe’s divers. However, when an unmarked George Williams was met with a free header, he could only direct it directly to Martin Dubravka, who saved comfortably.
At this stage, Howe displayed an awkward technical area figure, even if the tone-raising cameos from Trippier provided a degree of reassurance. Befitting England’s first established international to join Newcastle since Michael Owen in 2005, the former Atlético de Madrid full-back received an enthusiastic reception from his new crowd.
Yet for much of the first half, even Trippier’s right-wing deliveries appeared to hit a wall in the form of Bonner’s commanding center midfielder Jubril Okedina and his fellow defenders.
Even so, the excellent Dimitar Mitov made some important saves as the interval drew near, the Cambridge goalkeeper performed acrobatic wonders to twice deny Jacob Murphy and then Saint-Maximin after the latter finally began to confuse his markers. . The moment Mitov somehow tipped Murphy’s volley to the bar will remain in memory.
At the other end, Ironside retained the ability to make Emil Krafth and Fabian Schär nervous and Bonner appealed for a penalty when Harvey Knibbs collapsed in the area after Matt Ritchie pushed him back, but, contentiously, a review. of the VAR revealed that there was no fault.
Schär is often much better at creating than deconstructing and the Swiss defender briefly thought that he had scored the Newcastle breakup goal after touching the fallout from a Ritchie corner kick, but he was offside and the score remained uneven. goals.
Murphy had a “goal” disallowed for offside early in the second period, but it wasn’t long before Ironside showed a stunned St James’ Park exactly how it should be done.
When Newcastle was unable to clear a fumble, after Schär headed a shot from Adam May off the line, Bonner’s key forward jumped up and swung sharply before whipping the ball past the defenseless Dubravka. The Newcastle keeper was injured in the process and continued to play in apparent pain.
After an excessively lengthy VAR check for a possible offside, the goal was struck and now Howe, who immediately introduced Miguel Almirón and Joe Willock, was faced with the challenge of somehow undoing the tight Bonner setup that was being held. turning into a daunting yellow wall.
While defending the Cambridge substitute, Jack Lankester thought he had scored his team’s second goal after shooting under Dubravka, but he was offside a bit. No matter; Ironside had done enough.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism