Brighton 1-0 Newcastle: Daily Mirror match report
Published 21:08 29/01/12 By John Cross
Brighton hero Will Buckley missed out on a childhood dream – despite causing a major FA Cup upset.
Buckley was born and bred in Oldham but became a Newcastle fan due to his hero Alan Shearer and always wanted to play at St James’ Park.
The winger’s shot deflected into the net off Newcastle defender Mike Williamson at the Amex Stadium, depriving him of a trip to the North-East for a replay.
It was rough on Newcastle as they became the biggest Premier League scalp of the FA Cup fourth round.
But Buckley says he had mixed emotions – and even joked he tried to miss. “I feel a bit sorry for them,” he said.
“You could see I did my best to put it wide! I didn’t think I was going to score and then it went in. I didn’t really want to celebrate but I ran off and everyone just jumped on me!”
“I’ve heard it might go down as an own goal. I hit it as hard as I could across goal. It hasn’t been decided yet and I’ll do my best to claim. The dubious goals panel will decide but I want it.
“I’ve never played at St James’ Park – that would have been good – but with the number of games we’ve got coming up we needed to win first time around and I couldn’t be happier.”
Newcastle can feel hard done by because they did not deserve to lose but were punished for costly misses, including two first-half openings for Leon Best.
But after some miserable days growing up as a Newcastle fan in Greater Manchester, Buckley was pleased to enjoy a change of luck.
He said: “I was born in Oldham but started supporting Newcastle from watching Alan Shearer as a kid. I admired how he played, so that’s where the Newcastle connection came in.
“I was the only one in my family who supported Newcastle, just because of Shearer.
“I got a lot of stick from my mates because, coming from Oldham, they were all United fans. They always beat Newcastle so it wasn’t good.
“We were on the back foot most of the game but we always had that counter-attack in us and we used it well in the second half.
“They didn’t really look like scoring apart from two chances so we just tried to hit them on the break and that’s exactly what we did.
“Newcastle had a few players out. But we just tried to concentrate on ourselves. We fancy anyone at the Amex. I’d like Liverpool, but anyone now, to be honest.”
Newcastle started well but on top of missing Demba Ba, new signing Papiss Cisse – both still at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal – they were also without key defender Fabricio Coloccini.
They looked vulnerable at the back and wasteful up front.
Brighton changed tactics after the break, Gus Poyet ordered his side to get stuck in and it provided some meaty second-half bust-ups.
Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, victim of a brutal first-half foul by Matt Sparrow, kicked out at Brighton defender Adam El-Abd and referee Lee Probert might look again after missing it first-time around.