Newcastle 2-0 Cheltenham Town
Newcastle United recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over Cheltenham Town in the ELF Cup second round tie at St James' Park.
Despite The Robins being arguably the better side in the opening period, Ayoze Perez gave The Toon Army an undeserved lead in first half stoppage time.
Perez then doubled the lead straight after the break as Rafa Benitez's side asserted their class on what was previously an evenly matched game.
Gary Johnson's men by no means disgraced themselves in a spirited performance against a team who were playing Premier League football last season.
Cheltenham created their first chance after 6 minutes when Dan O’Shaughnessy’s long throw was flicked on by Harry Pell, but Dan Parslow couldn’t get his header on target.
It was a strong start by The Robins who, after some slick passing in the build-up, carved out another chance as Pell let fly from the edge of the box – but his low shot was saved comfortably by Karl Darlow.
It was an evenly matched first half an hour as Newcastle had plenty of possession, but Cheltenham were looking much more dangerous on the break.
Jonjo Shelvey saw a couple of efforts from range go over the bar as Gary Johnson’s side remained well organised and frustrated their opponents.
In first half stoppage time though, The Magpies took the lead as an over-hit cross fell to Perez on the left hand side of the box, and his curling effort flew into the top right corner.
After the interval Newcastle doubled their lead almost instantly as Easah Suliman gifted the ball to Dwight Gayle, who squared the ball across for Perez to tap it into an empty net.
The home side took control of the game from that point as good chances came, and were missed, by both substitute Vurnon Anita and goalscorer Perez as the hour mark passed.
In the 67th minute it took a fantastic save from the feet of Griffiths to keep it at 2-0 when Perez looked destined to hit the back of the net as he was unmarked at the back post from a corner.
From that point on it was actually Cheltenham who pressed for a goal to get them back into the game, but they were only reduced to long range attempts such as Danny Smith's tame effort with ten minutes to go.
Whilst there were chances for Perez to get his hat-trick and Amari Morgan-Smith to pull a goal back, it remained 2-0 to Newcastle.
Newcastle United Line-Up: K Darlow, G Hanley, J Lascelles (C), J Gamez, J Sterry, J Shelvey, J Colback, A Perez, R Arrons (Y Gouffran, 28), M Diame, A Mitrovic (D Gayle, 38 – V Anita, 58).
Unused Subs: M Sels, P Dummett, I Hayden, C Mbemba.
Cheltenham Town Line-Up: R Griffiths, D Parslow (C), D O’Shaughnessy, E Suliman (J Smith, 67), J Cranston, A Hall, J Rowe, H Pell, J Dayton (K Arthur, 67), B Waters, D Wright (A Morgan-Smith, 77).
Unused Subs: C Kitscha, J Jennings, D Whitehead.