Josh Windass scored a brace to help Sheffield Wednesday produce one of the narrow football results of the weekend in the FA Cup. Newcastle suffered just their second loss in all competitions this season, at Liverpool in the Premier League on August 31. Wednesday, who are second in League One, delivered one of the biggest shocks in this year’s third round. With VAR not in use, Windass’ close-range goal gave the home team the lead in the 52nd minute even though the forward appeared to be in an offside position. Then, in the 65th minute, Windass calmly converted after breaking through to double Wednesday’s advantage. But only four minutes later, Newcastle got one back when Bruno Guimaraes, a replacement, tapped in a corner from close range while still appearing to be offside.
When Cameron Dawson made a wonderful save to punch away Alexander Isak’s header on his first appearance since September, Newcastle got their first taste of what might be in store for them. Isak once more required quick thinking from Dawson, who used his legs to block a low-drilled attempt from Isak after another deft ball from Javier Manquillo. But after some outstanding play by George Byers early in the second half, Wednesday unexpectedly regained the lead. Windass was then on hand to convert Dennis Adeniran’s cross home from close range.
Newcastle ought to have reacted right away, but Dawson made two excellent saves to prevent them: first, he alertly tipped over Jacob Murphy’s twisting long-range drive after a loose ball fell to the Newcastle midfielder eight yards away. These saves were crucial because the Owls extended their lead in the 66th minute. Michael Smith played Windass in, and he scored without error by shooting past Martin Dubravka to excite Hillsborough. However, Newcastle was able to respond right away this time since they were the ones who could appreciate the absence of VAR.
After Dawson had turned away Chris Wood’s header from a corner kick from Kieran Trippier, Guimaraes scored from close range while clearly offside. Wood blew a golden opportunity in the 82nd minute when Joelinton drove forward and set up the striker who, with the goal gaping, skied over to cap Newcastle’s night in South Yorkshire. The next 15 minutes were a barrage, save for Windass’ magnificent free-kick which struck the bar.
“Although we don’t have the deepest roster of any Premier League side, we feel that our quality outweighs our lack of numbers. Your level of discomfort will depend on your injuries. There were advantages and problems in the performances of the many players we have the chance to use who haven’t seen much action this season,” Newcastle boss Eddie Howe said. “You choose your team while considering upcoming contests. We play Leicester on Tuesday after a very quick turnaround and a late kickoff today (in the Carabao Cup). It was a fantastic performance, but I thought it would be foolish of me to select the same team for this game and Leicester as well. I felt I could see some signs of fatigue in the players at Arsenal.”
“It was a frustrating outcome for us because, in my opinion, we gave it our all right up to the very end. We also had opportunities to score but missed them. It was always going to be a difficult game coming here; we needed to get our noses in front and we didn’t, which made it very difficult; their goalkeeper played really well,” he added. “We were determined to win the game, and I started the game with a team that I believed was capable of doing so. In the first half, we had plenty of opportunities to take the lead, but we lacked finishing ability in front of the goal, and that continued into the second.”
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