It was the stuff of dreams; a scriptwriter’s fantasy. The sort of story that has made the FA Cup so special, the very thing at the core of it enduring appeal. The goal stood.
Cambridge stood firm to hold on to their lead and celebrated wildly after the final whistle was blown. It was a joy to behold.
They rode their luck, every underdog does but also might have scored in the first half too when Matt Ritchie allowed Harvey Knibbs to get goal side of him on the edge of the area. The Newcastle captain was the last defender, right in the middle of the pitch when the ball found its way into the feet of the former Aston Villa Academy player.
Had he wriggled away from Ritchie, he would have had only goalkeeper Martin Dubrakva to beat, but Ritchie was clever, knocking him off balance. The first contact came outside the area, but Knibbs tried to win the penalty and referee Tony Harrington correctly waved the appeals away.
Newcastle gradually began to increase their control and chances followed. There were three brilliant saves from Mitov, two of them at full stretch, first from Jacob Murphy, diving to his left and then Allan Saint Maximin, diving to his right.
The best of the lot saw him somehow keep out Murphy’s first time shot, after he was picked out by Ryan Fraser inside the area. Murphy also hit the crossbar before the break with a volley and had a goal ruled out for offside just after it.
Cambridge’s goal changed everything. Newcastle fell apart and apart from Joelinton’s late header, they never really looked like scoring. They were booed and jeered as they left the pitch. Newcastle have much work to do this month, on and off the pitch.