Sean Longstaff and Callum Roberts on target for Newcastle in superb FA Cup win
There were Geordies everywhere at Ewood Park tonight '“ and not just in the away end.
Almost 3,000 Newcastle United fans made the journey across the Pennines for the club's FA Cup replay – and they headed home happy.
They played their part in a 4-2 win over Blackburn Rovers, and Sean Longstaff and Callum Roberts – two Geordies in the starting XI – played their part on the pitch.
Longstaff and Roberts found the net against the Championship club along with Joselu and Ayoze Perez.
A home tie against Watford awaits Newcastle – who haven't made the fifth round since Mike Ashley bought the club – in the next round.
Rafa Benitez, we know, doesn't want a cup run, but could this result kick-start United's Premier League campaign?
The hard-fought win, however, came at a cost, and manager Benitez, already grappling with a number of injuries and absences, lost Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark.
Benitez, mindful of Saturday's Premier League home game against Cardiff City, again made eight changes to his starting XI. Roberts made his first appearance in four years, while Freddie Woodman and Jamie Sterry also started.
The injured Kenedy was left out of United's squad.
Benitez had made it clear ahead of the game that he had little appetite for a run in the FA Cup this season given the club's perilous league position, yet that didn't put off thousands of fans from travelling.
The club's fans have had more lows than highs in the Darwen End at the rebuilt Ewood Park. Yet they had something to cheer about in the first minute.
Roberts played the ball to Longstaff, who had said he would "snap your hand off" to start any Newcastle game. And the midfielder's 20-yard shot, which struck a Rob took a huge deflection on its way past David Raya.
Benitez, short of players, fielded Fabian Schar, a ball-playing defender, in midfield with Longstaff.
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After going ahead, United retreated into their own half as Blackburn moved the ball around looking for spaces. However, Newcastle, organised and disciplined, ensured that space was at a premium.
Then it happened. Jacob Murphy broke down the right, and after seeing his effort beaten away by Raya, he delivered the ball to Roberts, who beat the goalkeeper with a precise, side-footed effort on what was only his second appearance for his boyhood club.
The goal, initially, seemed to stun Rovers, but they steadied themselves and fought back.
And Armstrong became the third Geordie to score when he ran on to a ball from Gateshead-born Danny Graham and beat Freddie Woodman, his close friend, in front of the travelling fans.
Woodman was picking the ball out of his net again before the break. Darragh Lenihan headed a corner home in added time at the end of the first half to equalise.
Lascelles came on for Clark for the second half, but within minutes the club's captain was struggling – he could barely run – and he was eventually replaced by Isaac Hayden, with Schar dropping back into defence.
United struggled to get any momentum in the second half. The two teams scrapped and fought for territory, and Mowbray sent on Bradley Dack, who had scored at St James's Park.
The game went into extra-time, and Joselu, anonymous up to then, was there to finish after Schar forced a save from Raya.
And Perez, on for Roberts, capped a rare FA Cup win with a fourth goal for Newcastle after breaking down the right.
BLACKBURN ROVERS: Raya, Nyambe, Reed (Dack, 77), Smallwood (Rothwell, 102), Armstrong (Nuttall, 72), Graham, Bell, Brereton (Conway, 64), Lenihan, Travis, Bennett. Subs not used: Leutwiler, Butterworth, Grayson.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Woodman; Sterry, Fernandez, Clark (Lascelles, 46, Hayden, 56) Manquillo; Murphy, Schar, S Longstaff, Ritchie (Atsu, 109) ; Roberts (Perez, 94); Joselu. Subs not used: Harker, Yedlin, Rondon.