Shoot-out success for Magpies
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Newcastle eased the pressure on Glenn Roeder as they beat Watford on penalties.
Newcastle eased the pressure on Glenn Roeder as they rode their luck before seeing off Watford on penalties in the Carling Cup.
The Magpies led early on through Antoine Sibierski, but Watford looked on course to dump Roeder's charges out of the competition as Damien Francis forced extra time before they then got their noses in front through Danny Shittu on 108 minutes.
Newcastle seemed devoid of ideas but Scott Parker strode forward to send the game to penalties with a cool finish.
The shoot-out was a tense affair, James Milner and Ashley Young missed from 12 yards, but Newcastle held their nerve the better to progress 5-4 on penalties - with Steve Harper saving decisively from Jordan Stewart.
Newcastle have been searching for a confidence boost for a number of weeks and they seemed to receive one after just three minutes at Vicarage Road, as Sibierski rose superbly to glance Emre's free kick into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Watford, who secured a superb win over Middlesbrough on Saturday, bounced back almost immediately as Darius Henderson was unlucky to see his header from Ashley Young's deep cross hit the retreating Steven Taylor and bounce behind for a corner.
Henderson went close again from the resulting corner, as he climbed unopposed but headed over the bar.
Newcastle looked far removed from the side which threw in an abject display at the weekend and Damien Duff, Sibierski and Giuseppe Rossi tested the reactions of Hornets keeper Richard Lee, while Taylor stooped low to head just wide from a corner.
Watford were not without chances of their own in the first half and Matthew Spring should really have levelled the scores on 40 minutes, but he blazed over the bar after being teed up in space on the edge of the box.
Spring thought he had equalised a minute before the break when turning Peter Ramage's half clearance towards the bottom corner, but Harper somehow plunged to his left to push the effort round the post.
Watford carried the momentum they found towards the end of the first half into the second and they were rewarded for some encouraging play with a leveller 21 minutes from time.
Young served notice of his quality in the first half and it was his free kick which provided Francis with the chance to level the scores.
Newcastle failed to deal with Young's fizzing ball into the box and Francis was on hand to poke home from close range.
Damien Duff has yet to find his best form since moving to Tyneside, but he showed a glimpse of his old quality when going within a whisker of restoring Newcastle's lead.
The winger teased and tormented two Watford defenders before letting fly from 20 yards, but he was unfortunate to see the effort cannon back off the post.
Having earned high praise on 82 minutes, Duff's stock slumped five minutes later as he incurred the wrath of Emre after shooting weakly at Lee when his Turkish team-mate was unmarked 12 yards from goal.
Watford were much improved in the second half and they came close to pinching the game at the death, as Hameur Bouazza had a shot saved and Henderson headed just wide from six yards.
Newcastle led a charmed life at the start of extra time, as Henderson, Young and Bouazza went close for The Hornets, but they were made to pay on 108 minutes.
Another superb free kick from Young exposed the weaknesses in Newcastle's defence and Shittu was on hand to head home unopposed from 12 yards.
Newcastle needed a leader and up stepped skipper Parker who dashed clear down the middle on 116 minutes before dinking a superb shot over Lee to send the game into penalties.
The shoot out saw Newcastle hold their nerve the better, with Nolberto Solano, Emre, Damien Duff, Stephen Carr and Charles N'Zogbia scoring for the visitors.
Darius Henderson, Matthew Spring, Al Bangura and Bouazza scored for Watford, but they slipped to defeat when Harper kept out Stewart's drive.
|Watford||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||6|
|9||Shots off Target||4|