Chelsea 1 Newcastle Utd 0
CHELSEA: Cudicini, Geremi, Ricardo Carvalho, Terry, Del Horno,Joe Cole (Essien 77), Makelele, Lampard, Duff (Wright-Phillips 68), Drogba, Gudjohnsen (Crespo 77).
Subs Not Used: Cech, Huth.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Given, Carr, Elliott, Ramage, Babayaro (Moore 52),Solano (Emre 70), Bowyer, Parker, Dyer, Ameobi, Shearer.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Faye, Clark.
Looking at the team before the game, I feared another Brum/Liverpool 7-0. The prospect of Robbie Elliott and Peter Ramage, no disrespect, taking on Drogba and Gudjohnsen filled most of us with dread. And when the Blues hit the back of the net on four minutes, it seemed it was going to be a long ... long ... night.
But suddenly we saw the sort of spirit that took Glenn Roeder on a winning run following the departure of Graeme Souness, and at least the lads still had us hopeful of a draw right to the death. Who knows, with a referee who actually KNEW the rules of the game, we could still be in the cup!
Alan Shearer will go down in the history books as having beaten Wor Jackie's goalscoring record, but he will also look at his Newcastle career and wonder how it ended without a trophy or a winners medal. Milburn, on the other hand, brought home this very same trophy no less than three times (1951, 1952 and 1955).
Roeder was looking for fairytale Stanley Matthews-style happy, but those things only ever happen at Blackpool or Melchester Rovers. The ending proved unrealistic as his team simply did not have the fire power to out-shoot Jose Mourinho's double-chasers and the home side had the referee dangling from a string as they conned the the man from the first minute to the last.
John Terry scored the only goal in the fourth minute, catching United in a state of shock as it took them 20 minutes (and that goal) to get into some sort of system. Terry wriggled free of his marker Peter Ramage with a run to the near post, where he met Damien Duff's corner on the half-volley. Nolberto Solano, on the post, stuck out a foot but only succeeded in helping the ball past goalkeeper Shay Given across the goal and into the net.
Terry claimed it, as you would expect, and I'm sure Nobby is delighted he's got it.
We cannot say we were robbed, simply because I don't think we had a shot on target all night apart from a Lee Bowyer effort. Shearer is only half the player he was, and Terry (as well as putting the frighteners on poor Ramage at every dead-ball kick) had him in his arse pocket from kick-off. But it was the driving and cheating that got many of us, not so much the blatant way the Blues went about it ... the idiot in the middle of the park who let them get away with it! Referee Bennett must look back at the recording of this game and run and hide under the bed for a week.
Chelsea were on the rebound from a Premiership derby-day defeat at Fulham and questions were asked if they could bounce back. Meanwhile United had suffered two humiliations against the Mancs and the Scousers and was I only one to wonder if they could keep the score down to FIVE?
Mourinho had held an inquest this week to keep his players on track for their league and FA Cup double, and Roeder read the riot act to many of his players, too. Newcastle responded well with Scott Parker driving them on against his former club and Kieron Dyer back in the team, in the hole behind Shearer.
But Terry drew first blood, and then it was 'game on'. Lee Bowyer unleashed a drive which Cudicini could not hold and Chelsea were grateful for the awareness of Terry in defence. He beat Shearer to the rebound and bundled it behind, and Shearer's lunge for the ball only succeeded in clattering the England defender.
Solano went close from a free-kick and Shola Ameobi flashed a shot wide from long range.
Chelsea had chances to kill the tie, either side of half-time. Two minutes before the break, Ricardo Carvalho connected with an inswinging free-kick from Frank Lampard but his defensive instincts took over and the centre-half's wayward shot looked more like a clearance.
Joe Cole jinked past Celestine Babayaro after the break but Given stood firm at his near post to push the shot behind. The corner fell kindly for Asier del Horno but the left-back, in for the suspended William Gallas, failed to control his shot and it ballooned high into the Matthew Harding Stand.
Eidur Gudjohnsen and Cole went close again and Glenn Roeder sent on Craig Moore for his Newcastle debut in a bid to bolster his creaking back-line.
Given also produced an excellent double save to deny Drogba twice, before Moore was booked within seven minutes for handbags with Didier Drogba after a foul by Elliott on Cole. Elliott kicked Cole in the back when the England midfielder was on the floor, and it was probably this more than anything else, that eventually got Elliott a red card.
Bennett let him off, gave him a final warning, and then showed him a second yellow for an innocuous challenge on Shaun Wright-Phillips in the last minute when the pair didn't even touch! The Chelsea player, like so many of his team-mates before him, went down as though he had been hit with sledge-hammer.
Shearer's misery was completed when he was booked for arguing about the decision.