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Middlesbrough practiced penalties for cup match

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka says the team have been practicing penalties in training ahead of their Capital One Cup Quarter-Final match with Everton.

Boro won 3-1 in a penalty shootout at Old Trafford in the previous round to earn a famous win over Manchester United.

The Head Coach confirmed his team have been practicing spot kicks in training in case tonight's match at the Riverside goes to another penalty shootout.


Match report: Crystal Palace 5-1 Newcastle

Palace were too good for Newcastle. Credit: PA

Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace inflicted a hugely damaging 5-1 defeat on his old club Newcastle to heap yet more pressure on beleaguered Magpies manager Steve McClaren.

Yannick Bolasie struck twice as Palace claimed their first Premier League win over Newcastle at Selhurst Park, with the visitors a structureless, defensive shambles.

James McArthur's brace and Wilfried Zaha's strike completed the hosts' goal glut as the Eagles rammed home just why Pardew chose to trade Newcastle for the south Londoners in January.

Papiss Cisse bagged a goal on his first Newcastle start since September, but this capitulation to former boss Pardew only serves to underscore McClaren's widespread problems at St James' Park.

McClaren tore into his failing Newcastle charges in a midweek training-ground altercation following the 3-0 home drubbing by Leicester: that rant had singularly zero impact on his abject squad.

Newcastle were poor. Credit: PA

The visitors slipped back into the relegation zone with a seventh defeat in 11 Premier League games, leaving owner Mike Ashley under pressure to splash yet more cash in the January transfer window.

Newcastle shelled out £13million on Aleksandar Mitrovic in the summer, but the former Anderlecht striker has fired just two goals in 14 turns for the Tyneside club.

The north-east outfit remain toothless in attack despite Cisse's early goal, leaving the close-season decision not to sign QPR's Charlie Austin all the more baffling.

Neither Newcastle nor Palace seized the chance to snaffle Austin in the summer, and so the man who claimed 18 Premier League goals in a relegation season stayed put at Loftus Road.

The 26-year-old's current QPR deal expires in the summer, making Premier League suitors hard pushed to rival the kind of contracts that will be on offer for Austin as a free agent.

Zaha scores Palace's third. Credit: PA

Just as pressing as the front-line shortcomings, however, are Newcastle's rearguard woes, allied to a defensive midfield cordon more sieve than shield in front of the calamitous back four.

Cisse handed Newcastle the perfect start, and the kind of front-line play so missing for the majority of the campaign.

The Senegal hitman ghosted onto Daryl Janmaat's chipped ball into the box, and nodded past the stranded Wayne Hennessey.

Just when the visitors thought they could cling to Cisse's foothold opener, their defence and midfield evaporated in alarming fashion.

First Fabricio Coloccini's poor misread allowed Connor Wickham to feed McArthur, the midfielder's shot looping home via a huge deflection off Paul Dummett's back.

Then Wickham's poor, trickling attempt at a low cross somehow bobbled past Newcastle's six statuesque defenders, gifting Bolasie Palace's second goal.

And on the stroke of half-time the hosts capitalised on yet more horrendous Newcastle defending, Chancel Mbemba diving in horribly to allow Wickham to float a deep ball right across the box to Zaha.

The former Manchester United winger kept his shape to stay over the top of the ball, but so much so that his strike bounced straight off the turf - and past the hapless Rob Elliot.

Pardew's men turned around three goals to the good, and with Wickham claiming all three assists by little more than default thanks to Newcastle's ineptitude.

The second half was hardly under way when Palace captain Damien Delaney headed former Newcastle star Yohan Cabaye's free-kick into Bolasie's path.

The Democratic Republic of Congo forward tiptoed round Newcastle's porous defence and prodded home, ending any shred of a Newcastle comeback.

And at the death McArthur tapped in his second after Elliot's weak parry gifted him the chance to seal Palace's rout.


McClaren 'enjoyed' training ground atmosphere

Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren says he 'enjoyed' the atmosphere at the club's training ground amidst reports of bust-ups between players and staff.

It's understood McClaren and his coaching team were caught up in a row with several players on Monday in the aftermath of last weekend's 3-0 home defeat to Leicester City.

The Magpies travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.

Aspin appointed as Gateshead boss

Gateshead have appointed Neil Aspin as the club's new manager Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Gateshead have named former Hartlepool United and Darlington defender Neil Aspin as the club's new First-Team Manager.

The 50-year-old joins the Heeds on an 18-month contract and takes over from Malcolm Crosby, who was sacked last weekend after a poor run of results.

It is Aspin's first managerial post since leaving National League side Halifax Town in September.

Apsin, who was born in Gateshead, said:

This means a great deal to me. I was born here and left to pursue my football career and it's fantastic to come back.

– Neil Aspin, Gateshead FC Manager

Aspin began his managerial career with Harrogate Town half-way through the 2004-05 campaign. He remained at Wetherby Road for four-and-a-half years, guiding the club to a series of top-half finishes before being appointed Halifax boss in 2009.

Karanka: Players shouldn't focus on Championship Table ahead of Huddersfield

Middlesbrough Boss Aitor Karanka says his players shouldn't take too much notice of the Championship Table as they head for Huddersfield on Saturday. Boro will start as huge favourites because they're 3rd top and their opponents are 3rd bottom. Karanka also admitted he was delighted to get back to winning ways last week and he's proud of his team's remarkable defensive record.

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