Sheffield Wednesday send Newcastle out of FA Cup with Josh Windass double | FA Cup

This was the sort of evening from which this competition has for so long earned a living. The sort of night when an old, somewhat unloved but far from unloveable mash of iron and concrete erupted twice courtesy of Josh Windass.

The sort of 90 minutes during which Premier League high flyers, perhaps guilty of underestimating their opponents, are continually wasteful, a malaise summed up by a woeful effort from Chris Wood. It drew wild cheers from one set of supporters and a barrage of expletives from the other.

From there it seemed clear that Newcastle would be exiting this competition early to lower-league opposition. Bruno Guimarães’s effort proved a mere consolation.

The credit must go to Sheffield Wednesday, though. Darren Moore’s remit for the season is very much about leaving League One at the right end, but a Cup run can only help. “A special night,” he said. “I’m really pleased we put that performance on in front of our fans. We asked them to be loud and vocal and they played their part tonight.”

Windass will get the headlines but it was also a stellar evening for the homegrown goalkeeper Cameron Dawson. He has never properly established himself as Wednesday’s first-choice but Moore’s decision to have him replace David Stockdale – who had already kept 11 clean sheets in the season – in mid-December is proving correct.

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    “It’s hard to single people out but he was excellent,” said Moore. “He made some really big saves so I’m really pleased for him.”

    Before the pre-match light show, photosensitive supporters were advised by Wednesday’s official website to “show caution before entering the stadium”. It is a message Eddie Howe ought to have relayed to Newcastle, who began shakily.

    Hillsborough itself would have shaken had Liam Palmer’s early drive not flashed wide. Jacob Murphy, who squandered possession with a poor touch, breathed a sigh of relief. Elliot Anderson was next to avoid Howe’s glances when a sloppy no-look back-pass had neither the weight nor the direction to reach Martin Dubravka. Windass arrived first but poked wide.

    In mitigation, Newcastle were much changed, with only three of those who began Tuesday’s draw at Arsenal starting here. Howe put the changes down to fatigue among his regulars and said: “It’s a team I thought was strong enough at the start of the match. We just weren’t clinical in front of goal.”

    Sheffield Wednesday's Josh Windass fires his side's second goal past Martin Dubravka in the Newcastle goal
    Sheffield Wednesday’s Josh Windass fires his side’s second goal past Martin Dubravka in the Newcastle goal. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images/Reuters

    One sight that buoyed the fans away was that of Alexander Isak. On his first appearance since September, the club’s record signing looked as dangerous as he was rusty during his 45 minutes of action.

    Early on he peeled away and nodded Javier Manquillo’s cross goalward. Dawson palmed away. The same pair combined again before the break, Manquillo cutting in from the right to play Isak in. The strike was straight at Dawson. Touch and movement both there, but instinct lacking. He was replaced at the break.

    But for all Newcastle’s possession, they lack fluency. Wednesday, themselves on an unbeaten 13-match league run to match their opponent’s, were attentive, industrious and just the right side of edgy.

    Their first came soon after the break, a moment of quality from George Byers earning him some space in the midfield. He found Palmer, who in turn found the recently introduced Dennis Adeniran. Windass, who was not properly attended by Jamaal Lascelles, finished. Had VAR been in operation the goal would not have stood.

    Anderson should have leveled immediately, Dawson again saving with his legs. Howe had seen enough. On came Guimarães, Joe Willock and Miguel Almirón.

    But the calvary failed to prevent Wednesday from doubling their lead. Windass was sent away by Michael Smith – a product of Tyneside’s famous Wallsend Boys Club – and curled a lovely finish past the helpless Dubravka.

    Moore was a picture of calm, unlike the majority of north Sheffield. “I think that’s Josh’s most complete performance, since I’ve been here,” he said.

    There was, though, a nervous ending. Joelinton, through sheer persistence, earned a corner. Howe used the break in play to introduce Kieran Trippier, whose corner was flicked on by Wood and tucked in by Guimarães. Had VAR been in operation the goal would not have stood. All square on that front then.

    Windass was a bar’s width from finishing the tie; Willock was a Mark McGuinness intervention from leveling it. Wood should have done better after more industry from Joelinton. Instead, from just inside the area he spooned high and wide. And so home supporters sang the blues.

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