LONDON (Reuters) – Seasoned striker Aaron Wilbraham left the bench to give third-division side Rochdale a 1-1 draw against Premier League Newcastle United in Saturday's third round of the FA Cup.
Rochdale's Aaron Wilbraham celebrates his first goal. Reuters / Craig Brough
Newcastle dominated the opening phase in Spotland, Miguel Almiron shot it forward after 17 minutes.
But Rochdale, who fought for 18th place in the first division, looked different after the break. The 40-year-old Wilbraham, who came on at halftime, equalized in the 79th minute.
If that wasn't enough for the FA Cup romantics, it was 17-year-old Luke Matheson who signed Wilbraham for the second time in the FA Cup.
“We played football in the second half. We mixed it up well and were unlucky not to win the game, ”said Wilbraham, who played the 674th game of his career as a journeyman.
"Going to St. James' Park (for repetition) will be a great experience for the boys."
Newcastle, who had a strong lineup, struggled with Rochdale's direct style in the second half, and the hosts would have celebrated a famous victory if Oliver Rathbone hadn't had a glorious late chance.
The best Burnley went into the fourth round with a 4-2 home win against third-division team Peterborough United, while Tom Eaves scored a hat-trick for the championship teams Hull City and finished 3-2 with third-division team Rotherham United.
Birmingham City defeated Blackburn Rovers 2-1 in an all-championship duel. Newport County (4th place) lost 3-0 in Millwall, Shrewsbury Town (3rd place) drew after a 1-1 draw with the Bristol City championship team.
Rochdale, who gave Manchester United a 1-1 draw in the league cup this season before losing on penalties, should have been outnumbered by a win over Newcastle before half-time.
Christian Atsu terrorized her defense and it was his run and cut back that allowed Almiron to make a touch before shooting at the roof of the net.
Forward Joelinton took some good chances to get Newcastle to bed, and Rochdale took up the challenge.
When the home fans got their say, Rochdale had a few good chances, no less than when Rathbone's goalkeeper Martin Dubravka's shot was turned into Ian Henderson's shot.
Newcastle have not completed the fourth round since 2006 and will need to be repeated to reach this phase this season after Wilbraham has made a great move that takes local fans out into the wild.
"Thanks to Aaron Wilbraham – he's been around longer than me!" Said Newcastle chief Steve Bruce.
On Saturday, Manchester City will face Port Vale, while Manchester United will face Wigan Athletic at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Edited by Christian Radnedge