Insurance Policy Fails to Pay off; United Facing Unwanted Replay after Reshuffle: Results in FA Cup Stalemate at Home Park

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), January 4, 2010 | Go to article overview

Insurance Policy Fails to Pay off; United Facing Unwanted Replay after Reshuffle: Results in FA Cup Stalemate at Home Park


Byline: Lee Ryder'

Plymouth Argyle .......0 Newcastle United .....0 in association with THE "long old poke" gags are probably starting to wear a bit thin and the only people smiling following this Devon stalemate were Paul Whitehouse, car insurance salesmen, the Plymouth board and homecoming Geordie boy and Argyle coach John Carver. There was certainly a somewhat subdued atmosphere as Flybe's Kevin Keegan plane touched back down on Tyneside on Saturday night with little progress made against the Pligrims.

But this was loyalty of the highest order by the Geordie public, who either braved a marathon coach journey - many not going to bed on Saturday night ahead of a 3am start - or shelled out their hard earned on an equally gruelling one-day plane trip.

However, as the dulcet tones of Whitehouse's mock Janner accent fill the airwaves of homes nationwide this month, with the insurance advert preparing for overdrive, it should be noted that the money spent by the Toon Army on this trip could secure the services of Dietmar Van Nostrilboy!

United are still no further forward in the FA Cup than they were when the draw was made before Christmas, with the gruelling 820-mile round trip hitting Toon fans in the pocket just a week after the festive stretch.

Many left Home Park feeling that had United fielded a full strength XI and gone that extra mile then Argyle's participation in this year's competition would be over.

Then again, had Fabrice Pancrate not misplaced his ability to produce such quality as his wonder goal against Watford last month then Plymouth would have been spared the monster journey back.

Instead both teams put their "concentrate on the league" lines on hold for at least another 10 days.

The now famous Paul Whitehouse advert will keep the Janners in the public domain ahead of an FA Cup replay that has left the creators of the commercial message barely believing their own luck, with reruns of the TV slot originally designed for United's Septmber Championship fixture already off and running once again.

Chris Hughton was probably cursing his own luck after his own insurance policy arguably backfired.

With several changes to his lineup he watched his side dominate the 90 minutes but once again fail to be able to find the killer touch. Though, yes, they did come close.

In a season in which United have been getting what they need rather than what they want - it could be argued that the Magpies got neither at Home Park.

They certainly did not want an extra game to add to the already heavy schedule for Hughton's paperthin squad - but that's what they've got after falling short.

Hughton wanted his side to stay in the FA Cup against Plymouth and they did exactly that, but it was the bit in the middle that proved the most painful as missed clear-cut chances went begging and the woodwork denied Newcastle for the second game running.

Much had been made about Hughton's team selection in a competition that is clearly second on United's priority list this season. …

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