Sadly they weren’t and Pardew’s side will face Norwich next weekend, having lost nine of their previous 11 games, knowing a further defeat could leave them in the bottom three.
Pardew made no attempt to disguise the crisis, insisting the club is in danger of going down and delivering a clear message to his employers that urgent action is needed during the January transfer window.
He had a point. Stretched by a succession of injuries to senior players and depleted by the departure of Demba Ba to Chelsea together with Pardew’s decision not to risk aggravating minor knocks to Papiss Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini, Newcastle’s second-string side barely looked second rate against their enterprising Championship opponents.
The display spoke volumes and reinforced Pardew’s view that his squad currently lacks the depth to prosper. Mathieu Debuchy, the right back, has been brought in from Lille but it is clear more names need to be added quickly or the progress of last season will be little more than a blip.
“The injuries have been unprecedented in my time,” said Pardew.
“We’ve got to keep a steady head but we’re frustrated because we want to put out a better side than we did. We are working round the clock to get players in and players back, because there is no doubt about it, the form we are in and the momentum we have got, we are in a fight. We’re fighting to stay in the Premiership. I make no bones about saying that.”
Debuchy will face Norwich, but James Perch will be absent after injuring his knee while Shola Ameobi is suspended after being dismissed for a second yellow card in the 61st minute when Brighton were leading through Andrea Orlandi’s outstanding 33rd minute goal.
“I think I would have liked to have brought one more player in,” Pardew added. “I thought Debuchy was going to get done, fortunately that is now done and he is going to be available for Norwich.
“That is going to strengthen us, because that has been a problem position for us. He [Debuchy] will definitely start. If he can play in two positions, we would. ”
New faces will help strengthen the squad but an injection of confidence is also required. Tellingly, Newcastle improved after Ameobi’s dismissal, freed from expectation.
“When you go down to 10 you have nothing to lose, you just keep pressing forward and try to do our job and try and be diligent and try and nick one,” said centre back Mike Williamson.
“But it just didn’t happen for us. I don’t think it wasn’t due to lack of effort, the lads worked their socks off.”
Will Hoskins wrapped up Brighton’s deserved victory three minutes from time, continuing manager Gus Poyet’s impressive record against Newcastle in the cup. This was a repeat of Albion’s victory of 12 months ago and Poyet, as a player, scored twice against the Magpies for Chelsea in a semi-final 13 years ago. “I wish I was always playing Newcastle. I always seem to do well against them. But we were lucky because Newcastle’s best players were not on the pitch,” said the manager.
“They had eight or nine missing, but when you have an opportunity you have to take it. For my players it was an opportunity to show they can do well against teams we would like to be playing every week in the Premier League, and to show they are brave enough to play in both boxes, but today it was difficult to measure.’’
BRIGHTON (4-1-4-1): Ankergren 6; Lopez 7, Greer 7, El-Abd 7, Bridge 9; Bridcutt 8; Barnes 6, Hammond 7 (Croft 82,6), Dicker 6, Orlandi 8 (LuaLua 60,6); Mackail-Smith 6 (Hoskins 70, 6).
Subs: Kuszczak, Dunk, Dobbie, Buckley.
NEWCASTLE (4-5-1): Elliot 6; Tavernier 5, Perch 5 (Dummett 46,6), Williamson 6, Santon 6; Obertan 4 (Marveaux 70,7), Anita 6, Abeid 4 (Ranger 46,6), Bigirimana 7, Sammy Ameobi 6; Shola Ameobi 4.
Subs: Krul, Amalfitano, Ferguson, Campbell.
Referee: Lee Probert