Newcastle biggest win this century saw them comfortably into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, and before anyone runs away with the idea that a Premier League side should be filling their boots against League Two opponents down to 10 men it ought to be stressed the visitors were four goals to the good before Toumani Diagouraga collected his red card.
The under-fire striker Joelinton had claimed two by that point too, though the Brazilian might find life easier in this country if he could play against backlines as generous as Morecambe’s every week. The Shrimps have managed to concede 12 goals in their past two matches, Newcastle’s tally being put into perspective by the fact Cambridge put five past them at the weekend.
“It was a really good performance. I liked our attitude,” Steve Bruce said. “We made a few changes but that’s what we’ve got a squad for. I remember the game in 1999 when we scored eight against Sheffield Wednesday, Alan Shearer scored five.”
Newcastle got off to an ideal start with a goal from Joelinton after five minutes. The striker has not always looked the part in the Premier league but when Miguel Almirón slid the ball invitingly across the six-yard line he could hardly miss. Nevertheless miss is what he did after another five minutes, or at least he opted not to take a touch on Jacob Murphy’s dipping cross from the right. Possibly he thought it was going in, but any sort of touch would have made certain, and the home defence ended up reprieved when the ball bounced back off an upright.
Though much changed, Newcastle enjoyed almost all the early attacking, and could have increased their lead when Almirón and Joelinton combined to set up a chance for Murphy, only for the winger to blaze wide with a clear sight of goal. The respite for Morecambe was brief, for midway through the first half Murphy slipped Almirón clear. He rounded Mark Halstead and scored with an emphatic shot from a narrow angle.
Things got much worse for Morecambe before the interval. Goals from outside the area from Murphy and Joelinton were bad enough, the former a low left-foot shot from the edge of the box and the latter a measured right-foot curler into Halstead’s top-left corner.
Just past the half hour Diagouraga was dismissed for a clumsy challenge that left Sean Longstaff in a heap. The midfielder had been one of the more combative Morecambe players, though it was the porosity of the defence behind him that ended any hope of a contest even before his red card.
The fourth goal came from a Morecambe clearance, simply headed back upfield by Jamaal Lascelles into the path of Joelinton. That fact was emphasised when Newcastle added a fifth in first-half stoppage time, Isaac Hayden receiving a short pass from DeAndre Yedlin before weighing his options and shooting right through Halstead from 25 yards. The goalkeeper should probably have done better but so should the home defenders who were supposed to be putting pressure on the ball.
Life did not get any better for Halstead when he was unable to keep out what looked a saveable header by Lascelles from Matt Ritchie’s corner at the start of the second half.
With half an hour remaining Andy Carroll joined the fray, yet apart from a wayward overhead kick and a late misdirected far-post header there was no further punishment for the home side from that quarter, just a cheeky backheel from Ritchie that went in off the unfortunate Sam Lavelle in the closing seconds.