The signing of England international Kieran Tripper failed to give Newcastle United the desired impetus to kick-start their season as they crumbled to a miserable FA Cup exit to League One Cambridge on Saturday evening.
Despite their new-found riches after a multi-million-pound takeover and an open transfer window, the Magpies continue to struggle to assert themselves, with their early FA Cup departure clearly posing questions about how they will get out of a slump that sees them in the Premier League relegation zone.
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World Cup 2018 star Trippier made his debut as Newcastle’s first signing since their Saudi takeover but the fans were left unhappy.
The Magpies have won just one match all season in all competitions and to be embarrassed by a side two divisions below them in front a full house at St James’ Park had many asking when they will see an upturn in results.
Joe Ironside scored the only goal 11 minutes into the second half as he swivelled to fire home from close range after a goalmouth scramble.
Newcastle had two goals ruled out and Joelinton was thwarted by a great save by Dimitar Mitov deep into stoppage time.
But they were shown no mercy by the disgruntled home fans at full-time as they now have to lift themselves to try and remain in the Premier League. The ignominy of relegation cannot be entertained by the new owners.
Elsewhere, sixth-tier Kidderminster overcame the 79 places separating them from Reading in the English football period to beat the Championship side 2-1.
George Puskas put the Royals ahead at the Aggborough Stadium, but Sam Austin levelled before Amari Morgan-Smith struck the winner eight minutes from time.
The full-time whistle sparked a pitch invasion from fans of both sides with some angry Reading fans confronting their own manager Veljko Paunovic.
Boreham Wood also upset a side two divisions above them with a 2-0 win over AFC Wimbledon.
Holders Leicester saw off an injury crisis and a power cut at the King Power to thrash Watford 4-1 with Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Marc Albrighton.
Crystal Palace came from behind to beat Millwall 2-1 in a South London derby marred by the home fans booing when the Eagles took a knee before kick-off.
Another Premier League team to take a sharp exit were struggling Burnley as Championship side Huddersfield Town came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Turf Moor.
Matty Pearson sent the away fans into a frenzy when he scored the winner in the 87th minute, rising highest to nod in from a corner-kick taken by winger Sorba Thomas.
Burnley took the lead in the 28th with Jay Rodriguez’s header before Josh Koroma got the visitors level in the 74th minute with a first-time shot after a cross from Thomas.
“I’m really pleased with the players. The game was balanced in the first half and then we played a brilliant second half,” Huddersfield coach Carlos Corberan said. “We played well from the back in the second half and we were more aggressive as a team, too.”
Crystal Palace secured a 2-1 comeback victory at Millwall with goals from Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta, while Derby County suffered a 1-0 defeat at Coventry City.
Hartlepool United beat Blackpool 2-1 and Middlesbrough won 3-2 at Mansfield Town in stoppage-time. Fulham defeated Bristol City 1-0 in extra time, thanks to a goal from Harry Wilson.
Looking ahead, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could be back on the touchline for Sunday’s FA Cup clash against Shrewsbury Town after missing their last game due to COVID-19, assistant manager Peter Krawietz said.
Klopp was isolating and was absent for the 2-2 Premier League draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Sunday after he tested positive for the virus on January 1.
“We hope he will be fine to be in tomorrow, yes,” assistant manager Krawietz said. “He is well so far, he feels fine but of course as well the regulations are how they are and for this he has to do tests as well.”
Liverpool reopened their training ground on Friday after it was closed this week following a COVID-19 outbreak among players and staff.
Krawietz said the club had a “bizarre” situation because of the outbreak, but added that they have a squad ready to face third-tier side Shrewsbury at Anfield.
“I can’t tell you exact numbers,” Krawietz said when asked how many players are available for selection. “We have a squad and a team, we will try to win the game.”