NEWCASTLE United’s FA Cup dream is over for another year after Alan Pardew’s side went down 1-0 to Brighton and Hove Albion yesterday.
Will Buckley’s 76th-minute strike, deflected past Tim Krul by Mike Williamson, was the difference between the two sides in a bad-tempered fourth-round tie at the Amex Stadium.
And to make matters worse, midfielder Yohan Cabaye could be hit with a three-game ban after TV cameras caught a kick at Adam El-Abd that was missed by referee Lee Probert in the second half.
Pardew was without injured captain Fabricio Coloccini and James Perch was handed a rare start in central defence against the Championship side.
Otherwise, Pardew fielded the same team that had been beaten 5-2 at Fulham a week earlier.
Leon Best had two early chances, but the striker was unable to hit the target and Danny Simpson, on a raid from right-back, had a fierce shot blocked by Brighton’s highly-rated defender Lewis Dunk in the 35th minute.
Newcastle, backed by 2,500 fans at Brighton’s brand-new stadium, dominated the half, but they had nothing to show for their efforts by the half-time break.
Pardew sent out an unchanged team for what turned out to be an ill-tempered second-half, with a series of tackles angering both sets of players and fans.
Cabaye – who had been at the receiving end of two crunching tackles in the first half – appeared to aim a kick at grounded El-Abd and the 26-year-old could be hit with a Football Association charge.
Krul – who had been untested before the interval – pushed away a shot from Craig Mackail Smith in the 70th minute.
Brighton got their breakthrough in the 76th minute. Simpson, on a yellow card for an earlier foul, opted not to challenge on Buckley at the halfway line, allowing the winger to race towards the visiting box.
Buckley, a boyhood Newcastle supporter, shrugged off a challenge from Cabaye and took the ball on to his right foot, with his shot cannoning off Williamson and past a helpless Krul.
Pardew sent on Dan Gosling, Ryan Taylor and Shane Ferguson for the last seven minutes, but his team could not conjure up an equaliser.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION: Brezovan; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, El-Abd; Buckley, Sparrow (Navarro, 46), Bridcutt. Forster-Caskey (Harley, 65), Barnes; Mackail-Smith (Hoskins, 90). Subs not used: Ankergren, Vincelot, Agdestein, Hall.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Santon (Ferguson, 83); Cabaye, Guthrie (Gosling, 83); Ben Arfa (R Taylor, 83), Gutierrez, Best; Shola Ameobi. Subs not used: Elliot, Kadar, Obertan, Lovenkrands.
Goals: Buckley 76
Bookings: Sparrow 39, Simpson 57
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)