A TRIO of injuries added to Carlo Ancelotti’s woes as the Chelsea manager saw his side suffer a shock exit in a pulsating contest decided by Shola Ameobi’s last-minute header.
Youngster Patrick van Aanholt put the Blues in front after just five minutes but Newcastle turned the game on its head with goals from Nile Ranger, Ryan Taylor and Ameobi.
Two late strikes from Nicolas Anelka dragged Chelsea level and beckoned extra-time, only for Ameobi to grab a last-gasp winner and earn the Magpies a fourth-round place.
Defeat was Chelsea’s first home loss since March but Ancelotti was more concerned by injuries to Salomon Kalou, Yossi Benayoun and Gael Kakuta. “We will know more tomorrow but they don’t look good,” said Ancelotti. “They will miss the next few games. These things can happen in football.
“I am disappointed with the result but happy with the performance. The Carling Cup is not our priority. We have a very big game this weekend. I am not so disappointed.”
Both sides made 10 changes from the weekend, although neither were without a string of familiar names, not least Sol Campbell, making his Newcastle debut. But the veteran defender will not savour re-runs of Chelsea’s opener, which came when he collided with goalkeeper Tim Krul, the visitors failed to clear and Gael Kakuta squared for Van Aanholt to sidefoot home.
Ranger equalised in the 27th minute when Peter Lovenkrands narrowly missed a deep left-wing cross and the former academy striker tapped in on the volley at the far post.
Moments later the visitors were in front when Blues youngster Jeffrey Bruma fouled Ameobi and Taylor’s exocet missile of a free-kick flew into the top corner. Improbably, Chelsea went further behind just after the break when Ameobi capitalised on a loose ball and finished with a curling low shot from 25 yards.
Despite then going a man down when Yossi Benayoun limped off, Ancelotti’s side hit back with 20 minutes left, Anelka applying a precise finish from Van Aanholt’s cross.
Dramatically Anelka then levelled from the spot after Phil Dowd controversially blew for a foul on Alex and the Frenchman slotted the coolest of penalties.
Incredibly there was one more twist remaining and it came in the last minute when Ameobi glanced home a corner.