ALAN Pardew admitted far too many players under-performed in Newcastle United’s FA Cup defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Pardew, without a clutch of key players because of injury, named an inexperienced side at the Amex Stadium.
And their inexperience told on the South Coast, though midfield pair Gael Bigirimana and Vurnon Anita won praise from Pardew.
“I thought we had inconsistencies from the players because they’re young,” Pardew said.
“Sammy Ameobi did some good things, but some naive things. Bigi and Anita were great.”
Defender Paul Dummett – who had been on loan at St Mirren – was sent on for his Newcastle debut after James Perch suffered a knee injury.
“Young Dummett came in, and we had to call him in as an emergency,” added Pardew. “He shouldn’t be with us. He should be gaining experience in Scotland.”
Nile Ranger was also sent on for the second half, and Pardew– who has been critical of the striker’s off-field discipline – admitted he would rather not call upon the 21-year-old, who is short of match fitness.
“We have Nile Ranger, who shouldn’t be playing,” he said. “We had Tav (James Tavernier) at centre-half, and when we had 10 men I thought we did reasonably well.
“We had a couple of chances, but the game was gone when Shola (Ameobi) was sent off.”
Newcastle’s tepid performance will have surprised few of the 1,978 travelling fans who made the long journey to the South Coast. The only surprise was that so many applauded Alan Pardew’s side off!
Few of the players deserved it.
Brighton worked harder, and played better football. Newcastle, by contrast, were listless and lifeless for much of the game, despite the best efforts of Bigirimana, one of the handful of players who was able walk off the pitch with his head held high.
From the start it was clear the Seagulls sensed an upset was on the cards when Dean Hammond fired a shot over the crossbar.
David Lopez then showed superb control to keep in a long pass before crossing to the far post. Gary Dicker was on hand to head the ball towards goal, but James Perch was able to clear and moments later ref Lee Probert ignored a penalty claim from Andrea Orlandi.
It was all Brighton as keeper Rob Elliot, making only his fifth appearances of the season, plucked a powerful shot from Lopez out of the air.
Finally the visiting fans were given something to appreciate, Gabriel Obertan expertly weaving his way into before Bigirimana tested Casper Ankergen with a rocket from 20 yards.
The match drifted into an uneventful period that was only broken when Orlandi fired Brighton ahead with a tremendous goal.
The sprinting Wayne Bridge skilfully collected a long pass from Gordon Greer and picked out Orlandi who took one touch with his left foot, turned and steered the ball into net with the outside of the same boot.
Newcastle replaced Mehdi Abeid and James Perch with Paul Dummett and Nile Ranger for the second half in an attempt by Pardew to wake his side form their lethargy.
But Brighton still looked comfortable, a fact underlined by Orlandi’s elusive run around the area with only the final shot letting the Spaniard down.
Little was going right for Newcastle and the dismissal of Ameobi for his second yellow card left them a man down for the last half hour.
Newcastle pressed for an equaliser, but they appeared to have run out of ideas as the final 10 minutes beckoned.
Instead, the second goal was delivered by Brighton with Lopez putting Will Hoskins one on one with Elliot and the substitute neatly tucked the ball home.
Brighton: Ankergren, David Lopez, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge, Bridcutt, Hammond (Crofts 83), Orlandi (LuaLua 60), Barnes, Mackail-Smith (Hoskins 71), Dicker. Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Dunk, Dobbie, Buckley. Booked: Hammond. Goals: Orlandi 33, Hoskins 87.
Newcastle: Elliot, Tavernier, Perch (Dummett 46), Williamson, Santon, Anita, Abeid (Ranger 46), Bigirimana, Obertan (Marveaux 71), Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi. Subs Not Used: Krul, Amalfitano, Ferguson, Campbell. Sent Off: Shola Ameobi (63). Booked: Abeid, Shola Ameobi.
Att: 21, 740 Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).