Newcastle boss Eddie Howe said “you couldn’t script it” as Dan Burn’s first goal for his boyhood club sent the Magpies on their way to the Carabao Cup semi-final with victory over Leicester.
The Magpies, who sit third in the Premier League and are hunting a first trophy in more than 50 years, did not let a fervent and expectant St James’ Park down.
They wasted a host of chances before 6ft 6in defender Burn ran on to Joelinton’s pass, beat two defenders and slotted a shot into the bottom corner.
“Incredible moment for Dan Burn. I am so pleased for him,” said Howe. “This is his club and he has come back here and he is savouring every moment.”
Burn, who joined Newcastle from Brighton last year, said: “I used to sit in the east stand. You always want to score in front of the Gallowgate end. To do that in front of my family was amazing.
“I like to get forward and it’s entertaining watching a guy my size running into the box.”
The scoring was not finished, however, as Joelinton coolly netted from Miguel Almiron’s incisive pass to wrap up the victory.
A 5-0 win would not have flattered the Magpies, with Joelinton hitting the post and Sean Longstaff missing several chances.
Substitute Jamie Vardy missed two glorious chances to get Leicester back into the game but their performance merited nothing.
It was another miserable night for Brendan Rodgers’ side, who have only beaten MK Dons and Gillingham since the break in their season in November.
Can Newcastle end their trophy drought?
Howe, backed by the club’s rich Saudi owners, has got a new generation of Newcastle fans dreaming of title and trophy challenges.
The last time they reached a final was in the 1999 FA Cup. Their last trophy was the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. You have to go back to 1955 for their last domestic success, the FA Cup.
They have only reached the League Cup final once, losing in 1976. Since then Oxford United and Luton Town are among the teams to have lifted this trophy.
Howe’s side – who were back to full strength after the weekend’s FA Cup loss to Sheffield Wednesday – were wonderful from the off. Longstaff should have scored from Joe Willock’s cross after 40 seconds. Two minutes later Bruno Guimaraes fired wide.
By the time the clock hit 20 minutes, Callum Wilson had a shot deflected wide, Burn almost headed in, Guimaraes shot wide again and Danny Ward denied Longstaff.
When Joelinton’s shot was tipped on to the post by Ward seconds after the restart, you wondered if it was going to be one of those days. But soon the reward came as the Brazilian found Burn, who showed great composure before slotting in the opener.
The hosts maybe eased up slightly after Joelinton made it 2-0 but they never looked like letting the lead slip, and the full-time whistle was met by a huge roar from the home crowd.
Leicester’s woes continue
Unlike Newcastle, 2021 FA Cup winners Leicester have plenty of recent pedigree. This was their sixth cup quarter-final since Rodgers arrived in 2019.
The manager and goalkeeper Ward said they hoped to use that experience in their pre-match interviews. But there was no sign of that.
Leicester have failed to rediscover the momentum that had taken them up the league before the World Cup break – and there must be concern at King Power Stadium.
Their defending was shocking on Tyneside as they left space for waves of Newcastle attacks, and when they won the ball they failed to get up the field.
Marc Albrighton and Timothy Castagne both lost possession when trying to clear the ball in the move that led to the hosts’ opener.
Had Vardy not shot wide when unmarked near the penalty spot, they could have set up a grandstand finish. But 22-7 on shots and 9-1 on efforts on target tells a fair story of the game.
Back to the Premier League now for Leicester, who have less than half the points of Newcastle and sit two points above the drop zone.