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PREVIEW | County start their Carabao Cup exploits at Cambridge United

13 August 2018

Newport County AFC will be looking to maintain their good recent record against Cambridge United when they travel to the Abbey Stadium on Tuesday night. The Exiles will also be looking to build on Saturday’s opening victory of the season against Crewe, whilst the home side will be searching for only their second Carabao Cup victory in sixteen years.

Here, read all the facts and statistics ahead of this Carabao Cup First Round encounter.

 

How they’ve fared at the start of the season

Maybe not exactly the same score lines, but County and Cambridge United both have three points in League Two following similar results in the opening two games of the season.

The U’s did mirror what County could manage on the opening day as they suffered a 3-0 away defeat to Port Vale.

Ricky Miller made the perfect start to life with the Valiants when netting a first-half free-kick on his debut, before veteran striker Tom Pope scored twice in the second-half to complete a resounding home victory.

Cambridge made up for that defeat on the opening day, however, and sent out a real statement of intent when shocking League Two promotion favourites Notts County in a 3-2 success at the Abbey Stadium.

Enzio Boldewijn’s first-half wonder strike put the Magpies in at the break ahead, but two goals from Ade Azeez turned the game on its head as Cambridge finally looked to be getting going in competitive fixtures following a very good pre-season.

Richard Duffy put a stop to that encouraging period of possession when equalising from a corner, but Barry Corr came off the bench to employ a real super-sub story when heading in the winner during stoppage time.  

 

Summer incomings / outgoings

Cambridge United have brought in the least amount of additions out of any League Two side this summer as only three players walked through the door at the Abbey Stadium.

They started by securing the signature of Louis John from Sutton United on a free transfer. The defender came off the bench for his debut on Saturday and is also an England ‘C’ international.

The U’s also moved quickly to bring in the experience of Reggie Lambe. The midfielder – who enjoyed a stint in the MLS earlier in his career – joined the club on a two-year contract.

Cambridge’s incomings were completed when they re-signed George Taft following his release from Mansfield Town. The centre-back had spent three spells on loan in Cambridgeshire, and also penned a two-year deal.

In terms of outgoings, those have also been kept to a minimum but include the departure of Uche Ikpeazu. The striker scored 22 goals from 80 appearances at the Abbey Stadium but decided to leave for pastures new and join Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.

Ex-Exile Medi Elito has also left the club and joined Barnet, Leon Legge went to Port Vale and Piero Mingoia jumped up a division to move to Accrington Stanley. Some young players have also left the club on loan to gain match experience.

 

Team-News

Cambridge United have a couple of injury concerns to contend with ahead of welcoming County to the Abbey Stadium.

Manager Joe Dunne may also take the opportunity to rotate his squad should he be focusing his attention more on the league campaign, although the Irishman wouldn’t be drawn on his thoughts following Saturday’s win over Notts County.

Should he be planning to implement some changes, the likely absentees from Saturday’s squad will be Jabo Ibehre and Brad Halliday. The U’s duo both returned on Saturday following their respective injuries, so Dunne may choose to protect them on Tuesday night.

Another player that may be given a rest is David Amoo. Dunne confirmed on Saturday that he knew his winger couldn’t complete the full 90 minutes against Notts County, so may again have one eye on the season as a whole when making his decision.

In terms of the actual injury concerns, one player the U’s will be missing is defender Greg Taylor after he picked up a muscle injury in training. Dunne said: “There’s some positive news on him, it’s not as bad as we first thought but he’s out.”

There are still question marks as to what part goalkeeper David Forde can play on Tuesday night. He sustained a hit to the head in training and may still be showing early signs of concussion.

Dunne confirmed midfielder Jevani Brown returned from his injury concern on Thursday when partaking in his first training session, but he may not be up to match speed just yet, while the match may also come too quickly for Harrison Dunk.

Cambridge United team vs Port Vale (4-2-3-1): Forde, Davies, Taylor, Taft, Carroll, Maris, Deegan, Amoo (Osadebe 72’), Lambe (O’Neil 82’), Dunk (Corr 64’) Azeez

Cambridge United team vs Notts County (4-2-3-1): Mitov, Halliday (Davie 64’), Taft, Darling (John 81’), Carroll, Amoo (Corr 72), Maris, Deegan, Lambe, Azeez, Ibehre

 

One to Watch – Barry Corr

Barry Corr will certainly be looking to hit the ground running this season after playing limited games in the previous two campaigns following a serious knee injury.

He has already found the net on one occasion so far this season, his stoppage time header crashing in off the crossbar to secure victory on Saturday against League Two promotion favourites Notts County.

In what has been a stop-start career for the 33-year old since that injury in January 2016, Corr joined Cambridge United initially for the start of the 2015/16 season and scored twice on his debut against the Exiles.

Corr scored 12 goals in that opening season and will welcome County having netted on 19 occasions for the U’s, with the Cambridgeshire outfit the sixth club he has appeared for.

Having started his career in his native Ireland, the striker was quickly picked up by the scouting system of Leeds United, although he moved straight on to Sheffield Wednesday without making an appearance at Elland Road.

That saw him make his competitive debut on 10th September 2005 in the Owls’ defeat to Leicester City, although it wasn’t until 1st November 2006 that he scored his first professional goal whilst on loan at Bristol City against Leyton Orient.

He didn’t feature too much for the club after that, however, and went out on loan again that season to Swindon Town before signing permanently at the Robins after helping them secure promotion into League One.

Corr spent two seasons as a permanent fixture with the club before joining Exeter City, spending one season at the club before swiftly moving on to Southend United. 

The 33-year old became a mainstay in the Southend side in the five seasons he was there, including being top scorer in his first season and helping them secure promotion into League One in 2015.

But the knee problem that has plagued him in recent years was still evident during his time at Roots Hall – forcing him to miss the entirety of the 2011/12 campaign – so he left the club after the promotion and joined Cambridge United.

 

Previous Carabao Cup results

Following their relegation from League Two in 2005, Cambridge United didn’t participate in the Carabao Cup for nine years until their Football League status was regained with a victory over Gateshead in the Conference play-off final.

They haven’t had the best success in the competition since then, however, as they have only been able to progress past the First Round on one occasion.

On 12th August 2014, the U’s were knocked out at the first hurdle by Birmingham City. Ryan Donaldson’s equaliser on the night did at-least take the tie to extra-time, but goals from Clayton Donaldson, Paul Caddis and Mark Duffy sent the Blues through.

Cambridge didn’t fare too much better in the following season either and were swiftly eliminated away at Rotherham United. Just the one goal on this occasion, Jordan Bowery – who is now at Crewe – netting in first-half stoppage time for the Championship outfit.

The 2016/17 campaign was a notable one in terms of Carabao Cup performance as they won their first tie in the competition since 2002 by defeating Sheffield Wednesday.

Lucas Joáo gave the Owls the lead midway through the second-half, only for Piero Mingoia to take the tie into extra-time when equalising at the death. Luke Berry then popped up to fire in the winner on 118 minutes and send Cambridge through.

The Second Round was as far as they could get, however, as goals from Hélder Costa and Jed Wallace saw Wolverhampton Wanderers to a 2-1 victory at Molineux, ex-Exile Medi Elito scoring on that occasion for Cambridge.

Last season, the U’s again fell at the first hurdle but this time it was quite a thumping defeat. Uche Ikpeazu scored as they at-least hit the target at the Memorial Ground, although Bristol Rovers easily ran out 4-1 winners.

 

Stadium – The Abbey Stadium

Supporters of Cambridge United rejoiced towards the back end of last year with the news that the name of their stadium would be reverting back to the Abbey Stadium.

The news came after key club sponsor Cambs Glass, who originally owned the naming rights of the ground, allowed the club to embrace its heritage and moved its sponsorship into other aspects of the club.

It has been home to Cambridge United since 1932 and has a current capacity of 8,127 - although a record for the stadium came in 1970 as 12,000 fans saw the friendly with Chelsea.

Away fans will be housed in the Marston’s Smooth South Stand behind one of the goals. It is an all seater stand and will be able to accommodate up to 1,500 away supporters.

Some recent away attendances from a County perspective start on the opening day of the 2015/16 campaign when 339 supporters travelled to Cambridgeshire. It wasn’t the best of days, however, as Medi Elito missed a penalty and the Exiles suffered a 3-0 defeat in Terry Butcher’s first match in charge.

The games that have followed since then certainly weren’t without their drama as in the past two encounters at the Abbey Stadium, both sides have scored a stoppage time winner.

Ryan Bird’s double on 18th February 2017 seemingly put the Exiles in command, only for Cambridge to fightback and complete an unlikely comeback thanks to Mark Roberts’ attempt after 93 minutes. 153 Exiles supporters made the trip that day.

There were ten less supporters last season, but the ones that were in attendance would have seen County steal all three points at the death. Shawn McCoulsky’s first half effort was cancelled out by Jevani Brown, but Joss Labadie – or more so his knee – popped up in the dying stages to divert David Forde’s attempted clearance back into his net.

 

Meetings between the clubs in the 2017/18 campaign

Newport County AFC and Cambridge United met each other on three occasions last season and the Exiles came out on top every single time by scoring twice on every occasion.

Remarkably as the sides did face off on three occasions, the first of those meetings was in the Emirates FA Cup Second Round at Rodney Parade on 3rd December 2017.

County were out of the traps from the off and took the lead inside two minutes, captain Joss Labadie reacting quickly to Matty Dolan’s free-kick to beat the offside trap and calmly side foot an attempt into the top corner.

Cambridge United weren’t about to be knocked out of the cup that easily, however, but were caught on the counter-attack late on after throwing everything towards Joe Day’s goal.

Padraig Amond started the textbook County counter-attack with a superb looping pass into Frank Nouble’s path. The striker resisted the temptation to play the ball early, instead allowing Labadie to position himself perfectly to volley home from 12 yards.

Read the full match report from the cup clash at Rodney Parade.

The two sides met again just 13 days later at the Abbey Stadium, but even though the U’s this time managed to find the net, County still did enough to secure another victory.

Despite spending the majority of the first-half without the ball, the Exiles were the side to strike first when Shawn McCoulsky reacted quickest to a save from David Forde to bundle home the opener.

Cambridge created a whole host of opportunities throughout the contest and it was only a matter of time before they levelled. Jevani Brown was the man to get it, curling a 25-yard attempt straight into the top corner as Joe Day could merely stand and watch the unstoppable shot hit the back of the net.

Just as it looked like County might have to do with a point from their away trip, captain Joss Labadie popped up in stoppage time to again inflict pain on the U’s. Dolan’s free-kick bounced off Forde onto Labadie’s knee and into the net, sparking pandemonium amongst the County fans behind that goal.

Read the full report from the Abbey Stadium.

County and Cambridge met for the third time towards the end of the season and the Exiles finished their home campaign off in style with another victory on 28th April 2018.

No goal for Labadie on this occasion unfortunately, but the Exiles were in-front early on when Mickey Demetriou fired home from close range after Ben Tozer’s lethal long throw had caused havoc in the penalty area.

That lead was extended on the hour as Aaron Collins worked the line well to set-up his strike partner Frank Nouble, the cross a sublime one into the area for Nouble to emphatically volley home from an acute angle.

Cambridge made a game of it when George Maris curled a long-range attempt into the bottom corner late on, but the Exiles once again held out for a victory against the Cambridgeshire outfit.

Read the full report from Rodney Parade.

 

Officials:

Referee: Andy Davies

Assistant Referee 1: Timothy Wood  

Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Leach

Fourth Official: Neil Hair

Davies is currently embarking on his seventh season as a Football League referee having officiated his first game in League Two on 18th August 2012 as Morecambe secured a convincing 3-0 away victory at Exeter City.

He is also on the list of referees in the Championship, with Davies having refereed both of his matches so far this season in the second tier.

The first of those came on the opening day of the season when Paul Hurst celebrated his first game in charge of Ipswich Town with a stoppage time equaliser against Blackburn Rovers in the 2-2 draw. Five yellow cards were given out in total at Portman Road.

On Saturday, Davies was the man in the middle for another draw, this time heavily favoured Stoke City being held to a 1-1 stalemate with Brentford at the Bet365 Stadium. Only two yellow cards were given on that occasion.

Those statistics from the first two matchdays of the season follow on from the 31 matches in which Davies officiated in the 2017/18 campaign, a season that saw him brandish 104 yellow cards and six red cards.

 

County Connection

Davies has refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on seven previous occasions in League Two, the CheckaTrade Trophy and the Emirates FA Cup. He is not the luckiest of omens, however, as the Exiles have only managed two wins and five defeats in matches officiated by Davies.

It has been nearly two years since he has refereed a match involving the Exiles, although it was one of those wins in a 2-0 success over AFC Wimbledon in the CheckaTrade Trophy on 8th November 2016. Tom Owen-Evans and Joss Labadie were booked for County amongst four yellows in total.

He officiated one other County match in the 2016/17 campaign and that also came in the CheckaTrade Trophy. Jordan Green scored to give County the lead on 30th August 2016, but Plymouth Argyle ultimately fought back for a 4-1 victory. Paul Bignot received the only yellow card.

Home Park was again the destination for the Exiles in the next game presided over by Davies, although it was another victory for Plymouth in a 1-0 success on 29th August 2015. No yellows awarded to either side. 

He was also the man in the middle when Jay Simpson’s late penalty gifted Leyton Orient a narrow success over County on 26th January 2016. Mark Byrne, Medi Elito and Yan Klukowski were all cautioned on that occasion.

Next comes the 1-0 home defeat to Mansfield Town on 3rd March 2015, a game in which the Stags eased their relegation worries thanks to Reggie Lambe’s late match winner. No cards brandished by Davies at Rodney Parade.

The remaining two matches can be found in the 2013/14 campaign, starting with the 1-0 victory for the Exiles in an Emirates FA Cup replay against Braintree Town on 19th November 2013. Robbie Willmott’s free-kick was enough to send County through to the Second Round of the competition, whilst Danny Crow was booked.

Davies’ list of County matches is completed by the 2-1 defeat to Mansfield Town on 8th March 2014. Rene Howe equalised in the game and was also booked, alongside yellow cards for Byron Anthony, Andrew Hughes and Chris Zebroski. 

 

Other first-round ties that involve League Two sides (All 7:45pm kick-offs unless stated)

Nottingham Forest vs Bury FC (7:30pm kick-off)

Bristol Rovers vs Crawley Town

Carlisle United vs Blackburn Rovers

Cheltenham Town vs Colchester United

Crewe Alexandra vs Fleetwood Town

Exeter City vs Ipswich Town

Grimsby Town vs Rochdale

MK Dons vs Charlton Athletic

Macclesfield Town vs Bradford City

Mansfield Town vs Accrington Stanley

Middlesbrough vs Notts County

Norwich City vs Stevenage

Oldham Athletic vs Derby County

Port Vale vs Lincoln City

Preston North End vs Morecambe

Swindon Town vs Forest Green Rovers

Tranmere Rovers vs Walsall

Wycombe Wanderers vs Northampton Town

Yeovil Town vs Aston Villa

 

  

Can’t make the match? 

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat (OfficialExiles) and Instagram pages.

As the game is a cup match, no live showing of this fixture will occur on iFollow Exiles. However, commentary by Tim Thraves can be found at the Match Centre from 7:30pm.

An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the Club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to iFollow Exiles.


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