CHRIS Wood spared Newcastle’s blushes as a second-string Newcastle side hit back from a goal down to see off League Two Tranmere 2-1 in the Carabao Cup.
A slick passing move ended with Elliott Nevitt slotting beyond Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow, one of 10 changes from the 3-3 Premier League draw against Manchester City as only Joe Willock was retained.
But Jamaal Lascelles and Wood scored either side of half-time from set-pieces to hand Newcastle a hard-fought second-round win at a raucous Prenton Park in the first match between these clubs since February 2000.
While Eddie Howe made wholesale changes following a spirited result at the weekend, there was still enough quality in Newcastle’s line-up, with £25million January signing Wood leading the line in his first start of the season.
It was Tranmere, who have collected just four points from their first five league fixtures, who settled quickest as they took a shock 21st-minute lead thanks to a one-touch passing routine that would not have looked out of place in the top flight.
Newcastle’s defenders were dragged out of position and Lee O’Connor’s clever through ball allowed Josh Dacres-Cogley to burst into the box before squaring for Nevitt to get beyond Lascelles and score.
The visitors’ mood would not have been improved when Emil Krafth had to be stretchered off in the 39th minute but his replacement Kieran Trippier made an instant impact.
Moments after being introduced, the England full-back’s corner to the back post saw Lascelles equalise at the second attempt, coolly netting on the rebound after his initial header was blocked on the line.
Another Trippier corner in the 52nd minute, this time to the near post, was glanced beyond Tranmere custodian Mateusz Hewelt by Wood to the delight of a sizeable travelling contingent.
Joelinton, Sven Botman and Bruno Guimaraes were introduced to try to nullify Tranmere, who unsettled Newcastle towards the end without creating anything to really trouble their opponents.
Botman had a header tipped over but it mattered little as Newcastle maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign.
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