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Allan Saint-Maximin unaware he made history, Blyth spirit and Newcastle vital FA Cup replay stories

Newcastle United have played their last FA Cup replay fixture after a decision from the game’s chiefs opted to make big changes to the rule book.

It means that United’s last ever FA Cup replay took place in a televised fourth round cracker against Oxford United when the minnows were finally beaten 3-2 after extra time and penalties looming following a stalemate at St James’ Park. Allan Saint-Maximin did not know it then, but he was writing himself into Newcastle folklore as the last player to score a goal in an FA Cup replay.

It was the 2019/20 season, just before Covid struck, that Newcastle needed the use of a replay twice to edge to the fifth round. Then boss Steve Bruce, in between a sigh of relief, saying: “We have made hard work of it against Rochdale and now Oxford but I think we thoroughly deserved to get through.”

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But those days are gone now. The replays were a safety net for Newcastle then of course but spare a thought for the non-league heroes of the game.

In these parts Blyth Spartans are part of the FA Cup’s rich tapestry because of the replay with fan account Green Army summing it perfectly today by posting: “No more FA Cup replays from Round 1 onwards next season. What an absolute travesty.

“Huge parts of Blyth Spartans’ history and some of the club’s greatest moments were forged in those FA Cup replays. Without those games, who knows where we would be today.”

Blyth famously got to round five of the FA Cup in 1978 after holding Wrexham before losing 2-1 in the last 16 in a replay which was staged at St James’ Park. Spartans also knocked out Bournemouth in 2008/09 after earning a replay on the South Coast before defeating the EFL side at Croft Park.

Newcastle’s most celebrated FA Cup replays of the modern era arguably took place at Ewood Park as wins at the second attempt in 1995, 1999 and 2000 helped the team on a cup run. Famous goals in those ties from the likes of Marc Hottiger, Lee Clark, Louis Saha and Alan Shearer (2) sent the Toon Army home happy.

United were more grateful for a replay in 1998 after being held 1-1 by Stevenage in a nervous fourth round tie that contained bad blood following a spat over safety concerns between Paul Fairclough and Kenny Dalglish. The replay saw Newcastle win 2-1 as Shearer scored twice but refused to swap shirts with the non-league players due to comments made in the build-up to both ties although the England captain did send one down to Hertfordshire later when tempers had cooled down.



Kenny Daglish the Newcastle manager looks on in disbelief as non league Stevenage celebrate holding his Premiership team to a one all draw at full time
Kenny Daglish the Newcastle manager looks on in disbelief as non league Stevenage celebrate holding his Premiership team to a one all draw at full time

An FA Cup replay in 1992 saw Newcastle lose on penalties for the first time in the competition against Bournemouth after 25,954 watched on at St James’ Park from the old Gallowgate End following a rematch between the then Second Division Magpies against a third flight Cherries team.

The third round in the 1988/89 season proved to be a remarkable affair when it came to replays as Newcastle were paired with Watford in round three. After the initial 0-0 draw in front of 24,217 it then took THREE replays to decide the outcome with Watford winning 1-0 at Vicarage Road!

Any modern manager would be pulling their hair out at the prospect of three extra games bolted on to January these days. Arguably the most controversial replay in the 1980s came between Newcastle and Brighton.

Having held the Seagulls at the Goldstone Ground, a replay on Tyneside saw Brighton win 1-0 but referee Trelford Mills disallowed two Newcastle goals! Even with replays abolished though it seems unlikely United fans will be allowed to forget that fateful day at Hereford when Ronnie Radford struck gold on a muddy field on fourth round day.

In front of 14,313, Radford’s goal in 1972 is arguably the most famous replay moment of cup history. Or at least the most replayed on TV screens every January.

The Magpies also needed replays on their way to winning the FA Cup in 1951, 1952 and 1955 so without them, history could look very different. Indeed, an FA Cup replay against York took place in front of 58,000 at Roker Park of all places as Newcastle won 2-1 to book their place at Wembley against Man City!

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/allan-saint-maximin-unaware-made-29018801

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