Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley witnessed his Premier League side beat League One Rochdale to reach the FA Cup fourth round.
Ashley returned to St James’ Park for the first time this season before talks with boss Steve Bruce about transfer targets during the January window.
Newcastle went ahead through Eoghan O’Connell’s own goal.
Matty Longstaff, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton also found the net before Jordan Williams’ consolation.
Newcastle, who have not gone beyond the fourth round since 2006, will host League One Oxford in the next round.
Rochdale had earned praise after coming from behind to force a third-round replay against the Magpies on 4 January after an equaliser by 40-year-old substitute Aaron Wilbraham.
But their FA Cup run came to an end in front of 2,500 of their travelling fans.
Newcastle get the job done
Newcastle were frustrated they did not finish the job at Rochdale earlier this month and Bruce took no chances by naming a side boasting a combined 104 Premier League starts this season for the replay.
Almiron had already hit a post when O’Connell inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net while trying to cut out a pass by Matt Ritchie, making his first start since August.
Longstaff was unmarked when he added the second while Almiron netted for the third successive game after a howler by Rochdale keeper Robert Sanchez, who passed straight to the Paraguay forward while trying to play out from the back.
Rochdale improved after the break but Brazilian forward Joelinton increased Newcastle’s lead with his first goal since 25 August before Williams pulled a goal back with a shot which went in off the post.
The presence of Ashley was significant.
The billionaire businessman is due to have talks with Bruce this week as the Magpies look to strengthen the squad to combat a lengthy injury list.
Newcastle were without 10 players for last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Wolves, a game which saw Paul Dummett and Dwight Gayle limp off with hamstring problems.
“He’s here for a day or two so we’ll meet up,” said Bruce on Ashley’s visit to St James’ Park.
“He’s been supportive since I walked in the door. If there’s someone there who can improve us, we’ll act. I think there’s been three deals so far in the Premier League so it’s difficult.”
Since Ashley took charge in 2007, six-time winners Newcastle have failed to go beyond the fourth round.
However Bruce, who guided Hull City to the FA Cup final in 2014, has openly said he wants a strong run in the competition.
‘I never worried about Joelinton’ – what they said
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce: “I never worried because I could watch Joelinton in training and you can see what he’s got.
“There’s an expectation on you and if you’ve got a big transfer fee and you’re young, sometimes it becomes difficult.
“Let’s hope it just gives him that bit of confidence. You saw the difference in him at the end.
“We can’t ask for more than a home draw in the next round. If we treat Oxford with the same respect we showed Rochdale in the first half we’ve got a chance.”
Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy: “We’ve had amazing backing from our supporters. The players were desperate to give them something to shout about in the second half.”
Familiar territory – the stats
- Newcastle have reached the fourth round for the fourth consecutive season. They have not reached the fifth round since 2005-06.
- Matty Longstaff has scored three goals in eight starts for Newcastle in all competitions this season. Only Jonjo Shelvey (5) and Miguel Almiron (4) have netted more for the Magpies in 2019-20.
- Newcastle’s Karl Darlow, who was involved in Miguel Almiron’s goal, became the second goalkeeper this season to register an assist in the FA Cup, joining Rob Tolfrey of Kingstonian, who did so against Macclesfield in the first round.
Newcastle switch their attention back to the Premier League when they host Chelsea on Saturday (17:30 GMT), while Rochdale are away at Wycombe Wanderers in League One on the same day (15:00).
Article courtesy of BBC Sport