We look back at the start of our Emirates FA Cup run, as part of our review of November.
After finishing October on such a high note, the Exiles were determined to keep their run of form going and put further distance between themselves and the bottom two as the season headed towards the busy Christmas period, starting with the first round of the FA Cup against Brackley Town.
Sunday 8th November 2015 – Brackley Town (A) – Drew 2-2 – Replay required
Despite Brackley Town being in the National League North, two divisions below County, many pundits were eyeing this fixtures as a potential cup shock. This looked to be way off the cards however when Lenell John-Lewis gave County the lead from the penalty spot and Scott Bennett doubled the advantage a few minutes before half time to give the Exiles a 2-0 lead going into the break. The second half was a different story though and after Brackley pulled a goal back through Luke Graham on the hour mark, a nervy last half an hour was in store. County looked as though they were going to hold on as the game entered added time, only for ex-Exile Curtis McDonald to head home in the fifth minute of added time to set up the replay at Rodney Parade.
Saturday 14th November 2015 – Accrington Stanley (A) – Drew 2-2 – 21st position – 14 points
Sandwiched between the two FA Cup fixtures was a trip to Accrington Stanley who were flirting with the automatic promotion places but had to twice come from behind at home against a resurgent County side. Yan Klukowski put Newport ahead when he headed home Barnum-Bobb’s cross, only for Billy Kee to equalise four minutes later. Scott Boden drove home a vicious strike with a little over twenty minutes to go to restore County’s lead, but once again the home side were level after a lucky bounce off the post fell kindly to Matt Crooks and Newport left with their second 2-2 draw in a row.
Tuesday 17th November 2015 – Brackley Town (H) – Won 4-1 – Through to FA Cup 2nd Round
Newport couldn’t have wished of a better start in their FA Cup replay against Brackley Town when Lenell John-Lewis slotted the ball home after just 31 seconds following a weak back-header and Yan Klukowski doubled the lead a quarter of an hour later with a superb free kick that buried itself into the top left corner of the net. The tension rose slightly again when Aidan Hawtin pulled a goal back for Brackley five minutes before half time but after an Alex Rodman goal on 63 minutes and a Hawtin own goal twenty minutes from time gave County an unassailable lead to set up a second round tie away at Barnet.
Saturday 21st November 2015 – Yeovil Town (H) – Drew 0-0 – 21st position – 15 points
It was 21st against 23rd at Rodney Parade when Newport welcomed Yeovil Town to Rodney Parade to play out a very uninspiring 0-0 draw. Newport dominated the match, limiting their visitors to only a single shot on target, but were unable to score themselves and put further distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
Tuesday 24th November 2015 – Oxford United (A) – Drew 1-1 – 21st position – 16 points
A tough away fixture at second placed Oxford United lay in store for Newport County who once again threw away a lead that they had gained just before half time when Lenell John-Lewis fired in a spectacular 25 yard effort. It was the home side who were the more dominant though as to be expected from the team in the automatic promotion places and they were able to equalise mid-way through the second half through Pat Hoban to share the points. County though were happy with two points from two tough away fixtures this month, and would assure a month unbeaten when Luton visited Rodney Parade.
Saturday 28th November 2015 – Luton Town (H) – Won 3-0 – 21st position – 19 points
A debut hat-trick for Oliver McBurnie gave Newport a brilliant 3-0 win over Luton Town to push themselves seven points clear of the bottom two. The 19 year old came onto the field on 58 minutes and had put County ahead just five minutes later when he tapped the ball home from a low cross. His second came ten minutes from time when Alex Rodman’s shot was fumbled and he score his hat-trick when Mark Tyler the Luton Town keeper made a mistake and McBurnie was able to slot the ball home.
An unbeaten run for Newport County throughout the entirety of November had put distance between themselves and the relegation zone and with an exciting prospect of a huge club in the FA Cup 3rd round just around the corner should they beat Barnet in their first December fixture, John Sheridan’s side were hopeful of an extended run of good results throughout the festive period. Whilst December brought an end to this run the atmosphere around Rodney Parade was very upbeat and there was excitement in the air about what was to come.
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