EFL Cup round-up: Newcastle and Leeds safely into third round, Man City draw Chelsea

·6-min read
Carabao Cup round-up: Newcastle, Leeds and Brighton cruise into third round, Man City draw Chelsea - GETTY IMAGES
Carabao Cup round-up: Newcastle, Leeds and Brighton cruise into third round, Man City draw Chelsea - GETTY IMAGES

After the silk in a captivating draw with Manchester City, Newcastle United needed a show of steel to overcome Tranmere Rovers.

There was a time not so long ago when Newcastle falling behind to a League Two side would have provoked a familiar sense of foreboding. Tranmere deserve credit for engaging Newcastle in a prolonged scrap for victory at Prenton Park. Their coach, Mickey Mellon, may wonder how this game would have evolved in the Mike Ashley world 12 months ago. He will also feel frustrated that it needed two set-pieces to defeat his courageous team.

But the manner of Newcastle’s 2-1 win, especially when withstanding a late, prolonged aerial onslaught, bodes well for Eddie Howe, albeit against lowly opposition.

“You need different tools at different times,” said Howe. “This wasn’t really about free-flowing football. What we did well was to dig in and find a way to win.”

Beyond the successful negotiation of a tricky tie, Howe can consider the preservation of the feelgood factor surrounding his club to be of equal value after a couple of Keiran Trippier assists helped Newcastle through, Jamal Lascelles and Chris Wood the beneficiaries of their right back’s exquisite dead ball skills.

England’s domestic cups have been fertile hunting ground for new-monied Premier League clubs seeking more than a game-changing bank statement.

Think Jose Mourinho delivering the first trophy of the Roman Abramovich era - the 2005 League Cup. Manchester City fans will always look fondly upon the 2011 FA Cup as the initial tentative step towards the promised land, precipitating their current domination.

Howe and his Saudi bosses must have studied those templates. There will come a time when the coach at St James’ Park is under pressure to deliver Champions League qualification, or even title bids. Not yet. For the moment, Howe can ride the crest of a wave of optimism as his club embraces the fresh possibilities. This year’s League Cup and FA Cup must be a priority enabling a new regime to create a greater wedge with the misery of their recent past, when the domestic cups seemed to be wantonly tossed aside to focus on staying in the Premier League.

There must still have been a tinge of trepidation in the away stands when Howe made ten changes to the side which went toe-to-toe with the champions last weekend. Wisely, he had the cavalry on the bench as and when required.

None typified that more than Trippier, who sprinkled his class within thirty seconds of being introduced for the stricken Emil Krafth, his corner feeding Lascelles for a timely Newcastle equaliser on 40 minutes. He repeated the trick crossing for Wood for the winner as Newcastle imposed their authority early in the second half.

In fairness, panic had never set in despite Tranmere taking a 21st minute lead. The Merseysiders’ proved themselves fiery opponents, smashing into every 50-50 tackle and showing no respect for Premier League egos.

They led through Elliott Nevitt - a 25-year-old striker who only signed his first pro contract last season. Nevitt was playing for Waterloo Dock in the Liverpool County Premier League until 2019. Evidently a late developer, he celebrated his memorable moment as Tranmere’s right back Josh Dacres-Cogley exposed Newcastle’s high defensive line and picked out the centre-forward.

Newcastle ever wavered, and after heading his side ahead, Wood should have had his second on 67 minutes. Substitute Sven Botman was also denied by a brilliant save as Howe introduced more senior players to see out the final stages.

“Everyone fit came with us tonight. We wanted to keep the sense of togetherness within the group,” said Howe.

There is an inescapable sense that evenings like this as much as City’s visit last weekend will come to be recalled as the first stirrings of a new era of fun and hope in the north east.

Match details

Tranmere Rovers (5-3-2): Hewelt 6; Dacres-Cogley 7, Turnbull 7, Jameson 6 (Lewis 70), Byrne 6, Bristow 6; O’Connor 6, McAlear 6, Nolan 5 (Hawkes 61); Hemmings 5, Nevitt 7
Subs: Doohan, Merrie, Hockenhull, Hughes, Fisher, Lomax, Taylor

Newcastle United (4-2-2-1-1): Darlow 6; Krafth 5 (sub Trippier 39), Dummett 6, Lascelles 7 (Botman 70), Targett 6 (Lewis 45); Longstaff 6, Willock 7 (Joelinton 70), Murphy 6, Ritchie 6; Anderson 7 (Guimaraes); Wood 7
Subs: Gillespie, Fernandez, Maquillo, Almiron, Referee Anthony Backhouse (Cumbria)

Leeds survive fiery derby as Sinisterra makes big impression on first start

By Mike Whalley

Luis Sinisterra proved the spark that set Leeds United on their way in the EFL Cup, but it was Mateusz Klich who provided the goals that ultimately got them through their second-round tie with Barnsley. Sinisterra, signed for £21 million from Feyenoord last month, marked his first start with a beautifully taken opening goal, and played a part in the two that Klich added.

But it was a far-from-straightforward night for Jesse Marsch’s side, with their League One opponents bringing plenty of bite to a Yorkshire derby that at times threatened to boil over. A confrontation between the home side’s Cody Drameh and Barnsley’s former Leeds trainee Liam Kitching led to a free-for-all that ended with both players in the book. Marsch, though, could look back on the night’s work positively; cup progress was achieved, even if total fluency was not. He picked a team with the aim of proving that Leeds have the strength in depth to challenge for success on multiple fronts. Among the nine changes, there was a return after injury for captain Liam Cooper.

When Leeds were good, they were much too good for Barnsley. In the first half in particular, though, they were too often guilty of switching off. After a wobbly start, Leeds struck twice in 11 minutes. Sinisterra produced a touch of class by stepping away from Callum Styles and placing a 20-yard shot into the corner, and then the Colombian won a penalty as Conor McCarthy clipped his ankles, with Klich converting.

Yet that lead could have been wiped out by half-time. Mads Anderson guided in a header from a Josh Benson free-kick, and then Styles hit the post with a penalty, which he had won as Adam Forshaw nudged him over.

Klich, though, put the tie out of reach by placing a shot beyond Jack Walton after Joe Gelhardt had chased McCarthy into the corner to win the ball back and Sinisterra’s low cross was only half-cleared.

Match details

Leeds United (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Drameh, Llorente (Koch 46), Cooper (Struijk 46), Hjelde; Greenwood (James 75), Forshaw; Summerville, Klich, Sinisterra (Roca 62); Gelhardt (Rodrigo 75). 
Subs: Robles (g), Kristensen, Aaronson, Harrison.

Barnsley (3-4-1-2): Walton; McCarthy, Andersen, Kitching; Helliwell (Williams 63), Styles, Benson (Connell 80), Oduor (Wolfe 63); Thomas (Hondermarck 80); Cole, Norwood (Tedic 63).
Subs: Collins (g), Cundy, Marsh, Aitchison. Referee John Brooks (Leicestershire).