The ‘Match of the Day’ – 27th January 2018

The ‘Match of the Day’ – 27th January 2018

Newport County 1- Amond (‘36)
Tottenham Hotspur 1 – Kane (‘82)
Newport are going to Wembley,
but not quite for the occasion that is expected with this phrase. Instead of fighting for the FA Cup final or play-off victory they’re travelling to north-west London for a replay in order to earn a spot in the fifth round of the FA Cup, with the possibility of playing Millwall or Rochdale in February. Not a glamour tie, but I’m sure the possibility to beat Spurs will be good enough, and it’s probable that a few thousand Welsh supporters will be in Wembley next Wednesday to see whether a giant-killing will occur.

The first 90 minutes of the tie at Rodney Parade on Saturday was something to behold, starting with the incredible purple sky over South Wales, then the opening goal, a header by Padraig Amond, followed by Harry Kane’s equaliser only eight minutes from time after Spurs laboriously worked to get back into the tie and were desperate to win it right until the final whistle. It can be said that they were very uncomfortable with the fact that Rodney Parade is also the home of the Gwent Dragons with a torn-up pitch and tiny changing rooms; a huge contrast to Spurs’ temporary home stadium at Wembley, which is only 11 years old compared to 140, which makes the Exiles’ home the second oldest in the Football League.

Much can be judged by the line-ups in FA Cup games like these and Pochettino showed respect for Newport when selecting a very strong team, with Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth the only unfamiliar names in the starting 11. But, despite this, they really struggled to score one goal, never mind two, and this gave Newport the opportunity to show their might in front of potential adversity, and it can be suggested that surviving in League Two at the end of last season was harder than playing Spurs, who face Juventus in two weeks in the Champions League. For the Exiles however, Tuesday night offered a 3-1 defeat to Lincoln away, with games against Colchester, Forest Green and Mansfield coming up soon.

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