MATCH REPORTS

Chelsea 3 Newcastle United 4

United celebrate Shola Ameobi's winner at Chelsea

By Dan King

A Newcastle side with ten changes from the team which beat Everton four days earlier shocked Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea in an extraordinary cup tie at Stamford Bridge.

Fabricio Coloccini was the only member of The Magpies' XI from Goodison Park to be named in Chris Hughton's side for this match in a competition which Chris Hughton has admitted is not top of his priorities this season.

But after this amazing victory, he may just revise that opinion - particularly with a host of big guns including Liverpool and Spurs joining Carlo Ancelotti's men in being dumped out of the tournament already.

Although top flight survival will remain United's main aim between now and May, a run in the Carling Cup suddenly looks a rather appealing - and realistic - option.

In a clash that had it all against a Blues side who themselves made changes but still fielded the likes of John Terry and Nicholas Anelka and had the likes of Solomon Kalou and Petr Cech on the bench, the home side took an early lead and a rout looked on the cards in the opening exchanges.

But then United surged ahead to lead at half-time, adding another after the break and missing chances to add to their 3-1 advantage - only for Chelsea to roar back and level the tie five minutes from time with a disputed penalty.

Then, in the 90th minute and with extra-time beckoning, Shola Ameobi grabbed his second of the game with a towering header in front of the travelling Toon Army to win the game.

Sol Campbell made his first-team debut for the black and whites, while young left-sided Academy product Shane Ferguson made his second senior start. Alan Smith captained the side and Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands started up-front - something neither has yet done in the league this term.

Tim Krul started in goal with Steve Harper injured - although he'd have probably been chosen for this game anyway, as he was in the win over Accrington in the previous round - and young Swedish keeper Ole Soderberg provided cover.

Chelsea named ex-England skipper Terry in defence and French ace Nicolas Anelka up front, while Yossi Benayoun, Yury Zhirkov, Daniel Sturridge and Paulo Ferreira were included too. The Blues also had a place for Patrick van Aanholt, who enjoyed a great loan spell at St. James' last season.

And it was the Dutch left-back who opened the scoring with six minutes played, as Nile Ranger lost possession on the edge of his own box and Zhirkov found the advanced Van Aanholt, who finished from close range despite the efforts of Holland under-21 colleague Krul.

The home side had pace up front and on the wings, particularly down the left, and looked likely to add to their lead as United found themselves under pressure early on.

But they absorbed it well, took the sting out of the game and, on 27 minutes, equalised with their first meaningful attack of the game. Northern Irishman Ferguson, who had a fine match, got forward from full-back to get over a great cross from the left and Ranger, at the far post, adjusted his body well to slide home the equaliser.

He then missed a great chance to double his and United's tally, this time from a Vuckic cross after good build-up from Ferguson and Jonas Gutierrez. But, from almost an identical position to where he had scored, he completely missed the ball eight yards out.

However, it didn't take Newcastle long to go in front. Five minutes after the leveller, Ameobi was felled on the very edge of the area and it appeared Taylor-made for Ryan of that ilk. He stepped up and fizzed the dead ball into the top corner of the net, with Newcastle fan Ross Turnbull helpless in the Chelsea goal.

And five minutes into the second half, The Magpies appeared to have the game sewn up when Portuguese international Ferreira's hopeless square pass was intercepted by Ameobi, who drove on and let fly with a low 20-yard strike which nestled sweetly in the net.

United were by now looking in control, and could well have made it four when the livewire Ameobi slipped in Lovenkrands, but on his wrong side, the Dane missed the target from the type of position he normally scores from.

On 70 minutes, though, Chelsea gave themselves a foothold back into the game as Anelka finished smartly from 12 yards following Van Aanholt's cutback. Again, United recovered well and regrouped, but five minutes from time, Chelsea were handed a harsh penalty and Anelka converted coolly, slotting right into the left-hand side of Krul's goal.

Now the momentum was completely with the home side, who so rarely lose at Stamford Bridge and had not suffered defeat in a cup-tie at their home ground during open play since Roman Abramovich took control of the club way back in 2003, and their fans sensed blood, be it in the remaining minutes or in extra time. Sturridge saw a shot cannon back off the post and teenage substitute Josh McEachran brought a good save from Krul before the final sting in the tail.

Showing every last ounce of determination, United forced a corner with the clock showing 90 minutes. Gutierrez floated in an inviting left-wing flag kick and the majestic Ameobi rose to plant a glorious header past Turnbull.

It is ten years this month since Ameobi made his United debut - ironically, against Chelsea - and it was a fitting way to mark the feat.

There were still six minutes of added time to hang on for, but Hughton's men did it to seal their second remarkable result on the road in the space of a few days.

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