To Hull and back. For nothing.
Maybe it was just as well Newcastle United didn’t get any more tickets.
Rafa Benitez’s side only have themselves to blame for last night’s EFL Cup quarter-final defeat to 10-man Hull City at the KCOM Stadium.
Matz Sels, inevitably, will get the most of the blame for this defeat, but Newcastle should have taken advantage of their first-half chances.
And, of course, the goalkeeper shouldn’t have parried the shot which led to the home side’s equaliser.
Mohamed Diame had seemingly put the club in control with his extra-time goal.
But Sels, recalled to the starting XI by Rafa Benitez, didn’t hold a shot from Markus Henriksen, and Robert Snodgrass seized on to loose ball to take the game to penalties.
Only substitute Christian Atsu was able to convert from the spot.
Jonjo Shelvey set the tone with a dreadful spot kick which was easily saved by Eldin Jakupovic.
Dwight Gayle hit the bar and Yoan Gouffran had his penalty saved.
It was all over in this competition for another year.
Benitez, United’s manager, had insisted that he hadn’t rested the likes of Gayle and Jamaal Lascelles ahead of the cup tie.
But the team he named at the KCOM Stadium was arguably stronger than that which he fielded against Blackburn Rovers at St James’s Park on Saturday, though the inclusion of Achraf Lazaar was a surprise.
And some fans were also uneasy about Sels’ selection given the form of Karl Darlow.
Lazaar last – and only – start for Newcastle came back in September when Wolverhampton Wanderers were beaten at the third-round stage.
Still, Benitez’s teamsheet was significant given the over-riding importance of promotion.
Benitez was going to have a go in the competition, even if it meant risking injuries the likes of Gayle and Matt Ritchie.
There was a poignant minute’s silence for those killed when the aircraft carrying the Chapecoense team from Brazil crashed on its approach to the city of Medellin in Colombia.
Once referee Neil Swarbrick blew his whistle, United’s 2,474 fans were soon taunting Hull supporters about the empty seats dotted around the 25,000-capacity stadium.
They didn’t stop singing in the first half.
And their team didn’t stop running in the early stages.
Gayle ran on to a superb ball forward from Shelvey in the 12th minute, but Jakupovic was equal to his shot. Diame shot wide soon afterwards.
At the other end of the pitch, Robert Snodgrass drilled a shot wide.
Diame, taunted by Hull’s fans on his return to the KCOM Stadium following his summer move to Tyneside, headed a Vurnon Anita cross over the bar in the 24th minute.
Anther opportunity fell to Ritchie after Newcastle worked a corner to him, but the winger’s shot was inches wide of Jakupovic’s goal.
United had dominated the first half-hour on an soggy and threadbare pitch, but they hadn’t been able to put the ball in the net. Isaac Hayden – who will have been disappointed with his performance against Blackburn – brushed the post with a shot in the 34th minute.
Hull came back at Newcastle as the half-time break approached.
United went into the break knowing they had been the better team, but they should have done better with their chances, not least the header put over by Diame.
Would Hull be better in the second half?
They were, and Newcastle had to defend a succession of balls into the box in a scrappy and niggly second half. They also lost their first-half fluency going forward.
Benitez resisted the temptation to make a change until the 81st minute when he replaced Ritchie with Christian Atsu.
Then the game boiled off in front of the dugouts. Dieumerci Mbokani was sent off after clashing with Jamaal Lascelles, who was booked.
United made the man advantage count in the first period of extra time. A ball from Anita was flicked on by Gayle, and Diame prodded the ball home. As he promised before the game, Diame didn’t celebrate.
Seconds after the restart, Hull were level. Sels parried a shot from Henriksen, and Snodgrass punished the mistake.
Benitez threw on Daryl Murphy and DeAndre Yedlin in the second period of extra time, but they couldn’t conjure up a winner.
And there was an inevitability about what would follow.
Newcastle have only ever won one penalty shootout, at Watford a decade ago, and that wasn’t going to improve after Shelvey’s weak effort.