Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe admitted Blackburn Rovers made it 'really tough' for his side after forcing the FA Cup fifth-round tie to penalties.

Martin Dubraka was the hero for the Magpies as he saved Dom Hyam's decisive spot-kick to send the Premier League side through to the quarter-finals. It was a tough blow for Rovers who thought valiantly and pushed Newcastle every step of the way.

The Newcastle goalkeeper made a string of important saves in normal time to ensure Rovers didn't progress, with Aynsley Pears then doing the same in extra-time.

Reflecting on the match, Howe conceded Newcastle weren't at their best and was frustrated with how they allowed Rovers back into the game after taking the lead.

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"It was a really tough game, a really tough game," Howe said. "We knew it was going to be.

"Blackburn made it difficult for us, they packed the back line and packed midfield. They made it very congested in central areas.

"I think there is only one emotion and that is relief. Both sides gave everything to get the win and didn't give an inch but we are delighted to be in the hat for the next round. I think when you see the season we have had and the situation we are in, this was never going to be an easy cup tie.

"I thought there were so good bits and some not good bits. Martin (Dubravka) made some really important saves during the 90 minutes and so did their goalkeeper.

"There were a lot of chances despite only two goals. We're very pleased to get through and it is a big moment in our season.

"The two penalty saves were huge for us. But in open play, and we needed him to. The best save was in the build-up to their goal when he pushed it onto the bar and they scored a rebound. 

"That was probably the most frustrating thing on the night because we worked so hard to lead and you hope one will be enough but letting them back in the game was a kick at the time.

"We are disappointed because we worked so hard to create chances, it was never going to be a high-scoring game, it was obvious in the first half, a game of minimal margins.

"I think we were the better team in extra-time and we did have gilt-edged chances to win the game and we didn't. It was a lottery in the shoot-out."