Alan Pardew will be glad to see the back of Brighton and Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet for at least another season as his lethargic Newcastle United team went down to the determined Seagulls 2-0. Pardew has never beaten Brighton as a manager in his eight attempts and it was definitely Albion who came away with the bigger smiles again.
An exquisite controlled flick by Andrea Orlandi that nestled in Rob Elliot's net and a neat finish from substitute Will Hoskins was enough to leave Alan Pardew and his young squad with a lot to think about on their 345-mile trip home.
The game taught us a lot about the mindset about both sides. The noticeable difference between the two, apart from the division they are playing in, was the hunger that the seaside team displayed. When the visitors were in possession, Brighton showed a perseverance and drive that Newcastle just couldn't compete with and it caused the game to flow only one way for almost the entirety of the 90 minutes.
Whether or not Pardew underestimated Brighton or the players simply did not turn up can be argued both ways, but for the fans that made the lengthy trip to witness a weakened side serve up a performance so poor is an insult.
Albion enjoyed 63% of the possession in the FA Cup tie, and I really do mean enjoy. Although not a great deal was created by either team, Brighton popped the ball around at their own pace and stretched a Premier League side at will while being clinical with the chances they did get, and despite the Seagulls currently being just short of a play-off place in the Championship, they certainly looked more of a Premier League side than Newcastle did.
The one negative for Gus Poyet leaving the Amex was that the secret was well and truly revealed regarding the ability of Liam Bridcutt. In front of the ITV cameras he put in a display nothing short of spectacular. Now you may be asking why that is a bad thing for Gus Poyet, but you now get the feeling that he will be taking the step up to the topflight at the end of the season, with or without his current club.
Despite his 5ft 7 frame, Bridcutt is an incredibly strong and solid midfielder who deploys his stocky frame as an anchor just in front of the back-line. He has a remarkable knack of reading the game which allows him to constantly be a few seconds ahead of the opposition. His awareness on the ball makes it easy for him to contribute to the sexy style-of-play that the Uruguayan boss has stamped on the club, but he is also partial to the scrappier part of the game. His perfectly-timed block to deny Sylvain Marveaux an equaliser towards the end of the game summed up Bridcutt's determination to keep his side in the lead.
Another positive for the Sussex side is the apparent ease in which Gary Dicker slipped back into the midfield after largely being a bit-part player since his leg break last season. The Irishman has the technique of a La Liga star and can change the game with one swift pass, yet despite being about as quick as Jo Brand chasing a bus, his movement and visibility makes him stand out whenever he appears on the pitch.
Something else that can be taken from the win is the clean sheet. It was becoming all too common for the Albion to concede needless goals, but since the turn of the New Year they have shut out the opposition in both of their fixtures. They came into this game on the back of a rampant 3-0 victory away at Ipswich so the confidence was always going to be flowing, but with the added quality they would come up against and a run out for 3rd choice goalkeeper Casper Ankergren it naturally raised some questions. Adam El-Abd did what he does best and frustrated Shola Ameobi with a range of nudges, pushes and sneaky trips and the only thing the bulky striker finished the game with was an early bath after he was sent off for a second booking for a soft foul on David Lopez.
A job well done by Brighton and they will already have their eyes set on their league game with Derby next week, while Newcastle will be...well it's probably best we don't talk about them, eh?