Football: Newcastle held by minnows Rochdale as journeyman Wilbraham lights up FA Cup

Rochdale's Aaron Wilbraham celebrates after scoring during the English FA Cup match against Newcastle United.
Rochdale's Aaron Wilbraham celebrates after scoring during the English FA Cup match against Newcastle United.PHOTO: AP

LONDON (AFP) - Newcastle's wretched record in the English FA Cup continued as 40-year-old Aaron Wilbraham gave minnows Rochdale a 1-1 shock draw in Saturday's (Jan 4) third-round clash.

Magpies boss Steve Bruce had declared his determination not to lose to "bloody Rochdale" as he eyed a sustained Cup run for a club that have not won the competition since 1955 and last reached the final in 1999.

But Newcastle's recent Cup form is so bad that they have not gone beyond the fourth round for 13 years.

A succession of Newcastle managers have refused to take the competition seriously, sending out weak teams as they prioritised Premier League survival.

And once again they endured embarrassment as Rochdale, who took Tottenham to a fifth-round replay in 2018, recovered from Miguel Almiron's opener to earn a replay at St James' Park later in January thanks to a late leveller from old stager Wilbraham.

Despite dealing with a raft of injuries, Bruce, a three-time FA Cup winner with Manchester United, picked six players who started Wednesday's Premier League loss to Leicester.

Almiron was one of the holdovers and the Paraguayan midfielder opened the scoring with a fierce drive into the top corner from Christian Atsu's 17th-minute pass.

It was only Almiron's second Newcastle goal since his January move from Major League Soccer's Atlanta United after he broke his duck against Crystal Palace on Dec 21.

The Magpies were on top and should have scored again when DeAndre Yedlin picked out Yoshinori Muto, but his shot was too close to goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.

Nervous Magpies

In need of a lift, Rochdale, sitting 18th in League One, opted for experience over the promise of youth at half-time when they sent on Wilbraham to replace 16-year-old Kwadwo Baah.

The change revived them and Martin Dubravka had to make a good save to deny Oliver Rathbone before Ian Henderson hit the woodwork from close range.

Newcastle were looking increasingly nervous and Rochdale deservedly equalised in the 79th minute.

In the 674th game of his journeyman career, Wilbraham bagged only his second goal in the FA Cup with a close-range finish from 17-year-old Luke Matheson's cross.

Meanwhile, Burnley boss Sean Dyche made eight changes against third tier Peterborough and the stands-in took their chances in a 4-2 win at Turf Moor.

Jay Rodriguez put the Premier League side ahead in the eighth minute and Erik Pieters doubled the lead for his first Burnley goal seven minutes later.

Jeff Hendrick's shot went in on off Mark Beavers to make it three in the 23rd minute before Ivan Toney reduced the deficit in the 39th minute.

Rodriguez's confident finish in the 52nd minute ensured Burnley, who have not won the Cup since 1914 and last made the final in 1962, remain on the road to Wembley despite Ricky Jade-Jones' 76th-minute reply.

Elsewhere in the day's early third-round action, 2004 FA Cup runners-up Millwall beat fourth tier Newport 3-0 and Championship side Bristol City were held to a 1-1 home draw by League One outfit Shrewsbury.

In an all-Championship clash, Birmingham survived the sending-off of Ivan Sunjic with half an hour left and Blackburn's penalty equaliser just a minute later, to see off the visitors 2-1, thanks to Jérémie Bela's 90th-minute winner.

FA Cup holders Manchester City host Port Vale later on Saturday, while troubled Manchester United travel to Wolves looking to avoid a repeat of last season's quarter-final exit at Molineux.