An outstanding performance was required in the “big battle” with Cambridge United to secure a 2-0 victory in the Emirates FA Cup, according to Exiles defender Mickey Demetriou.
County captain Joss Labadie scored both goals at Rodney Parade, including a cool finish from four yards within the opening two minutes of the game.
That was followed by a scintillating volley with eight minutes to go, as County made it to the Third Round for just the second time in 32 years.
Demetriou himself also had a vital part to play in the victory. He headed away every delivery into Joe Day’s penalty area and was perhaps unlucky not to get a goal for his hard-work and determination throughout the game.
Post-match, he spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about the Cambridge victory, the solid defensive display in South Wales and the League 2 clash with Carlisle on Saturday.
On the Cambridge game…
“A very difficult game and it was a big battle.
“We played well as a team and I think we deserved to win after that performance.
“Cambridge created a couple of good chances because they are a very good side.
“They came and played against us, they didn’t sit back and hope for a result. They took the game to us, we matched that, got an early goal which probably settled the nerves for everyone and brilliant finish from Labz for his second.
“It is really nice to get through to the next round of the Emirates FA Cup and it gives the fans something to cheer about. They haven’t really had so much to cheer about these last few months so hopefully that’ll do them well, and we get a good tie in the draw.
“I think we deserved it, the keeper had to make a few saves as-well, the defenders made a few blocks so all in all a good result.”
On the defensive display in the game…
“I think we deserved the clean-sheet.
“I don’t think Joe had much to do – the only thing he did have to do was clear up after he slipped.
“We’ll take the clean-sheet, I’m not sure how many that is now but I’m sure Joe will know if I asked him. I think it’s around 10 or something like that.
“As a back five we are happy to keep the clean-sheet because that’s our main job at the end of the day.
“And if we keep a clean-sheet then we are likely to score at the other end. Thankfully we did, and we look to see who we get on Monday.
“I’d just like to say as-well a big congrats to Dan Butler. He’s just become a dad, so Summer and baby Dolly are all doing well he’s said and he’s off home now to go and see them.”
On Joss Labadie’s match-winning display…
“I think there’s a bit of confusion with the yellow card system!
“The programme says I’m on five when I’ve only had four, so we had a bit of confusion whether for Labz it was over 19 games or 20 games.
“But the main thing was he was able to play today, and he just proved what a big player he is for us.
“His runs into the box show that he deserves both goals. I don’t think he has scored too much lately so I thought his performance today was brilliant.”
On the Emirates FA Cup draw…
“Whilst at Shrewsbury I played Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, so we had them and Manchester United at home.
“I’d like Chelsea again obviously being a Chelsea fan. But look, whatever really.
“Do we want a top six team to get a bit of money for the club then yes that would be brilliant. But do we want to get one of the so-called teams where we have a better chance of winning and have a better chance of getting into the Fourth Round.
“We’re not too sure who we want so we’ll just have to wait and see who we get.”
On potential finances for the club…
“They said it in the press the other week that if we get a big draw away from home then they want to invest in certain things.
“Obviously, a new training ground has been mentioned and that would set the club up for the future. It’s not about the now, it’s about the future so I’m sure if we do get a big ground then the gaffer may want a few more people in and strengthen it in January.
“We’ll see what happens because we may not get a big draw. We’ve just got to go again and try and get in the Fourth Round.”
On the Carlisle game next Saturday…
“We take every game as it comes.
“It’s a great win today but we probably have a more important game coming up in the league on Saturday against Carlisle.
“We can’t dwell on the wins and we can’t dwell on the losses. I’ve said that plenty of times – if we do make a mistake and lose a game then we need to get over it and bounce back.
“We did that last week against Swindon, we’ve followed it up with a good result today.
“It’s a big month ahead of us now, obviously things happen during the Christmas time so hopefully we can get a few more wins under our belt and go from there.
“They are still a very good side. I’m not too sure where they are in the league, but one man doesn’t make a team. Yes, they lost their top scorer, but they have plenty of other people who can score goals, so we need to train well during the week and look at how they are playing.
“I’m sure Wayne Hatswell and the gaffer will tell us how they like to play, how they don’t like to be played against. We’ll work hard this week in training and go from there.”