League One side Rochdale battled for an unlikely 1-1 draw against Premier League side Newcastle United in the FA Cup third round to earn a replay at St James’ Park.
Newcastle took the lead with only a quarter of an hour played through Miguel Almiron’s powerful close range shot, and despite first half dominance, a resurgent Rochdale equalised with just over 10 minutes to go in the game through the experienced striker Aaron Wilbraham.
The draw means the two sides will face off again in a replay to decide which side will progress to the fourth round of the competition.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce named a strong side for the Magpies’ clash with Rochdale, showing both the FA Cup and their lower league opposition respect, in the two sides first ever meeting in any competition.
Despite some early pressure from the away side Rochdale kept clear-cut chances to a minimum, defending resiliently from the start.
But with 15 minutes on the clock, some neat build up play from Newcastle led to the opening goal of the game. Christian Atsu’s low ball across the penalty area was smashed into the top of the new by Miguel Almiron from close range.
The Premier League side were dominant in the game after their opening goal. Striker Joelinton had a couple of chances to increase their lead. Firstly the Brazilian stole possession and drove forward towards goal only to side-foot his shot wide when well placed, before guiding a close range header over the top of the crossbar a few minutes later.
The chances were coming thick and fast for the away side with Yoshinori Muto had his low shot saved well by Rochdale goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, but from a good position, Muto really should have made the score 2-0.
Joelinton had another chance to score his first goal in 19 games as he found room in the penalty area to swivel on the spot and fire towards goal, but Sanchez reacted well to palm the effort away.
The sides went in at the break with the score 1-0 to Newcastle.
AS IT HAPPENED: Live: League One Rochdale take on Premier League Newcastle
Rochdale were certainly still in the game going into the second half despite failing to manage a shot on target in the first period.
Just moments into the second half, Almiron’s free kick from a tight angle had to be beaten away by Sanchez as Newcastle started the second half where they had finished the first.
Rochdale’s best chance of the game came 10 minutes into the second half, Ollie Rathbone found space to get a shot away that had to be saved by Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
Suddenly Rochdale were starting to look more positive with their play and it looked as though the Magpies might start to regret their missed chances. Rathbone’s direct run forward ended with a shot that Dubravka had to parry away, a follow up effort by Ian Henderson from a tight angle hit the outside of the post.
Newcastle were quick to respond by hitting the post themselves. Joelinton’s strong header from just inside the penalty area was tipped onto the post by Sanchez who was certainly having a good game for the home side.
The Dale had grown in the game and were looking more and more likely to get something from it and their best chance came with just under 20 minutes to go.
Substitute Luke Matheson’s low cross was met well by Rathbone who found himself in a glorious position thanks to a first touch that took him into the penalty area. His side-footed effort was saved down low by Dubravka though.
But Rochdale did find their equaliser with 11 minutes left on the clock. The lively Matheson picked out fellow substitute Aaron Wilbraham insdie the six yard box and the 40-year-old made no mistake, firing past the Newcastle goalkeeper to level the scores.
With a shock on the cards the displeasure from the travelling fans was clear for all to hear with boos, as the League One side pushed for a winning goal but to no avail.
With neither side able to find a winner in the closing stages of the game the match finished as a 1-1 draw, resulting in a replay between the two sides at St James Park.
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