Sammy Ameobi offered Newcastle United hope at the end of a fairly wretched night in Lincolnshire when, deep in extra-time, his dribble, sharp cut inside and scorching 20-yard, right-foot shot secured Alan Pardew's side a cup victory they barely merited.
"Sammy's someone we're very excited about," said Newcastle's manager. "He's going to be a big player."
Late in normal time Ameobi, the rested Shola's younger brother, and then Haris Vuckic stepped off the bench, with Newcastle struggling so badly the home fans were singing "Are you Grimsby in disguise?"
Ultimately Ryan Taylor's equalising 80th-minute free-kick sent the tie into extra time but with Andy Barcham, Sam Togwell, Jimmy Ryan and Chris Dagnall all impressing, Alan Knill's side had never looked two divisions inferior to their guests. Indeed Pardew, who had Tim Krul to thank for some stunning saves, from Ryan especially, looked relieved the referee had blown for the end of normal time before Scunthorpe's Oliver Norwood's goalbound shot hit the back of the net.
As Joey Barton took "time and space" to ponder his mooted move to QPR – presumably hoping a bigger club would make an 11th-hour approach – his Newcastle team-mates were deservedly falling behind.
When Michael Nelson headed Togwell's cross on Demba Ba played Dagnall onside, permitting Scunthorpe's No9 to flick the ball beyond Krul. Showing six changes from the side that won at Sunderland last Saturday the low tempo visitors struggled to impose themselves on League One opponents, never seeming able to control the game.
There were far too many high, hopeful Newcastle balls aimed in the direction of Ba and Best but which Nelson, a centre half well used to such tactics, relished mopping up.
With Dan Gosling, finally fit again after serious knee trouble, struggling alongside the exciting Yohan Cabaye in central midfield, Scunthorpe sporadically threatened to extend their lead, never more so than when Krul performed wonders to repel Ryan's swerving goalbound strike.
"There were a lot of negatives," acknowledged Pardew, who saw Steven Taylor lucky to escape with a booking for a tackle on Eddie Nolan and Leon Best spurn several chances. "But it's ended with a few positives." Asked about Barton's position, he said: "Joey's got a very good offer from QPR but he knows he can come back and we'll take care of him."
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