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PREVIEW | County host League One Oxford United in the Carabao Cup Second Round

27 August 2018

Newport County AFC will be looking to make it through to the Third Round of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 1962 when they entertain Oxford United at Rodney Parade. The Exiles also have a perfect home record to defend against the League One side, whilst the visitors head to South Wales with some momentum having achieved their first league victory at the weekend.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this Carabao Cup Second Round encounter…

How they’ve started in League One

A first win of the League One campaign on Saturday but it will take a lot more results like that to stop this becoming a tricky season for Oxford United.

In fairness, they had arguably the toughest fixture of the season on the opening day and they were swiftly brushed aside 4-0 at Barnsley. Mamadou Thiam scored twice early on to get the ball rolling for the Tykes, whilst Bradley Potts and Ayomide Adeboyejo completed a comprehensive victory.  

After defeat in his first game as a manager, Joey Barton rejuvenated his Fleetwood Town team and they compiled more misery on Oxford in a 2-0 victory at the Kassam Stadium – Ched Evans and Paddy Madden scoring.

Scoring goals was clearly a problem for Oxford and in their third game of the league season, they had to rely on Portsmouth to score it for them in a 4-1 reverse. Jack Whatmough’s own goal made it 3-1, but Portsmouth strolled to victory thanks to a double from Jamal Lowe, Gareth Evans and a Rob Dickie own-goal.

Gavin Whyte became the first player to score in League One for Oxford as he opened the scoring against Accrington Stanley, but the U’s somehow found a way to lose the game even though they had the lead twice.

Cameron Norman scored an own-goal to level proceedings before Marcus Browne restored the advantage – yet Billy Kee scored twice late on to give Stanley a credible away victory.

On Saturday, had Oxford last, it would have been their worst start to a league season for 26 years. Crisis somewhat averted then after a 3-1 triumph over Burton Albion, but they will need to use the momentum from that result to springboard their season as they still reside in the relegation zone.

John Mousinho, James Henry and Ricky Holmes were the players to find the net at the Kassam, with Marvin Sordell’s strike ultimately proving in vain as Oxford kick-started their league campaign.   

 

How they got into the Second Round of the Carabao Cup

 After a stuttering start to the season, Oxford United put their league worries behind them when overcoming fellow League One outfit Coventry City in the Carabao Cup First Round.

In a match at the Kassam Stadium, the U’s weathered an early storm and took the lead just before half-time when Marcus Browne headed home his first goal since joining on loan from West Ham. 

There was an assist for James Henry in the first goal – and the Oxford midfielder was at it again early in the second-half when he played Gavin Whyte through to slot past Coventry shot stopper Liam O’Brien.

A comfortable win for Oxford then in-front of their home support – securing themselves a spot in the Second Round of the competition for the third time in four seasons.

Oxford team vs Coventry City (4-2-3-1): Mitchell, Norman, Dickie, Mousinho, Garbutt, Brannagan, Browne (Smith 63’), Whyte (Mackie 74’), Henry (Lopes 74’), Baptiste, Obika

 

Team-News

Oxford United have several injury concerns to contend with ahead of making the trip to Rodney Parade on Tuesday night.

The major injury news concerns winger Rob Hall. The 24-year old winger is out until the new year having sustained a knee injury which will also require surgery.

Hall said on the layoff: “It is so frustrating because I had worked so hard to get fit again. The good thing I guess is that we have diagnosed exactly what the problem is and know what needs to be done. The Gaffer and the medical staff have been brilliant, it’s just one of those things and I know I will come back stronger from it.”

Goalkeeper Simon Eastwood remains unavailable after dislocating his finger in the warm-up against Fleetwood Town earlier this month, but his time frame for a return is shorter than Hall’s. Midfielder Samir Carruthers is also out.

There are question marks over what part Ricky Homes will play at Rodney Parade. The winger scored on the weekend but has been plagued with a back injury, and after having injections recently to help ease the problem, may not be risked against County.

Striker Jamie Mackie is another to have received injections, so he may also miss out, whilst West Ham loanee Marcus Browne won’t complete the full ninety minutes as he continues to recover from a hamstring complaint.

Always difficult to anticipate how a side will treat their cup exploits, but after winning their first league game on the weekend, manager Karl Robinson may look to build momentum at Rodney Parade.

Oxford team vs Burton Albion (4-2-3-1): Mitchell, Norman, Nelson, Mousinho, Ruffels, Hanson, Brannagan, Whyte, Henry, Browne (Holmes 67’), Smith (Mackie 65’)

 

One to Watch - John Mousinho

The tough tackling, no nonsense defender has been a revelation since arriving at the Kassam Stadium at the start of the previous campaign.

That is shown by the fact he was appointed club captain within three months following an injury to teammate Curtis Nelson, although the fellow defender is now back in the first team fold and has taken back the captaincy.

Since his arrival, Mousinho has featured on 47 occasions and scored twice – both of which came at home – against Rochdale last season and on the weekend past former side Burton Albion.

Speaking before that tie with the Brewers, Mousinho said: “The experienced lads need to draw on what they’ve done in the past. Inevitably they will have faced similar situations, maybe not at the start of the season, but certainly through the season.

“The young lads need to take heart from some of their performances and keep going. I can guarantee if they keep performing like that, they will get their rewards.”

 A highly experienced defender with over 450 competitive appearances under his belt, Mousinho has spent the majority of his career in the Football League.

The 32-year old started off his professional career with Brentford after impressing whilst studying and playing in the United States. That saw him make his debut in October 2005, coincidentally playing against Oxford in a Football League Trophy contest.

Interestingly, having made his Football League debut two months after that appearance, Mousinho played in goal for 75 minutes of their 2-2 draw with Gillingham – after being put forward following the dismissal of shot stopper Clark Masters.

He was then sent on various loans midway through the 2005-06 season – Woking, Slough Town and Yeading respectively – before featuring more regularly for Brentford in the following seasons.

At the end of the 2007/08 season, Mousinho was transfer listed by then manager Andy Scott who said he did not feature in his plans and would therefore find game time hard to come by.

Mousinho joined Wycombe and secured promotion to League One in his first season, but they were relegated in their first season in the third flight. That saw the 32-year old reject a new contract and join Stevenage – a team he featured for over two seasons before then joining Preston North End.

He struggled for game time there, however, and loan spells at Gillingham and Stevenage were followed by a permanent move to Burton Albion.

In four seasons, Mousinho secured back-to-back promotions from League Two to the Championship, but left the club via mutual consent on 31st August 2017 and joined Oxford later that day.  

 

Manager – Karl Robinson

It’s not been the easiest of tenures so far for Karl Robinson after his appointment at Oxford United earlier this year. After the U’s went nearly two months under the caretaker stewardship of Derek Fazackerley, Robinson was finally appointed on 22nd March 2018.

Just three days later Robinson was leading his new side out for the first time away at Portsmouth, but he got a rude awakening to the task at hand as they were comfortably beaten 3-0 at Fratton Park.

Robinson went a further four matches before getting his inaugral victory at the club, seeing off Southend United 2-0 at the Kassam Stadium on 14th April 2018.

In the remaining matches that season, Oxford picked up a further six points as they secured wins against Doncaster Rovers and Rochdale – ending the season steady in 16th position.

To help with a potential promotion push this season, Robinson brought in 14 new faces, but they currently reside in the League One relegation zone after a stuttering start to the campaign.

This spell at Oxford is Robinson’s third managerial position of his career – having taken charge of MK Dons from 10th May 2010.

At just 29-years of age, Robinson became the youngest manager at the time in the Football League as he was entrusted with the guidance of the club having previously been assistant manager to Paul Ince.

In his first two seasons in charge, the Dons finished fifth both times and lost in the play-off semi-finals to eventual promotion winners Peterborough United and Huddersfield Town respectively.

The 2012/13 season saw his side narrowly miss out on the play-offs, while it was another difficult season in the following campaign as they could only finish in 10th place – the worst since Robinson took charge.

But they used that as inspiration as the Dons had an unbelievable season in 2014/15. After dismantling Manchester United 4-0 in the Carabao Cup, the Dons finally secured promotion to the Championship when finishing in the automatic spots and just behind champions Bristol City.

It was an immediate return to League One in the next campaign, however, as they could only muster 39 points and were relegated alongside Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic.

It that off-season, Robinson turned down Massimo Cellino’s advances to take the hot seat at Leeds United. And he may have lived to regret that decision as he was sacked as MK Dons manager just a few months later after a poor start to the season.

That saw him appointed as Charlton Athletic’s manager in November 2016 and he guided them to a steady 13th place finish during that campaign.

The Addicks had a much better start last season, Robinson leading them into the play-offs for the majority of the campaign, but left on 22nd March 2018 and joined Oxford on the same day.

 

Last time the two sides met

Newport County AFC and Oxford United have met on 20 previous occasions in the Football League and its associated cup competitions, but Tuesday’s meeting will be the first time the sides have met since the 2015/16 campaign.

The scores were exactly the same in both games as County managed to remain unbeaten against the side who eventually secured promotion in 2nd position, starting with the encounter at the Kassam Stadium on 24th November 2015.

The Yellows controlled proceedings early on during the Tuesday night encounter but were ultimately caught on the break by a moment of pure brilliance from Lenell John-Lewis. County’s striker led the breakaway before firing home spectacularly from 25 yards just before half-time.

Oxford’s dominance had to be rewarded at some point, however, and Pat Hoban secured his side a point when turning his man before firing into the bottom corner after 72 minutes.

That was how the scoring finished as a resurgent County secured a vital point on the road under John Sheridan, preventing Oxford from going top of the table by getting a result.

Read the match report.

It was honours even again later on that season when the two sides met at Rodney Parade on 19th April 2016.

As they creeped towards promotion, Oxford were the side to strike first in South Wales when now Crewe striker Jordan Bowery tapped home from close range after just 13 minutes of action.

County were level within a minute as they refused to give up following the early setback, Medi Elito getting his first and only goal of his County career when beating Benjamin Buchel from distance.

That point was good enough for the Exiles to all but confirm their survival for another season – nine points clear of the drop-zone with three matches remaining – whilst Oxford continued to stutter over the line having only won one of their last five games and dropped to third.

Read the match report.  

 

Officials

Referee: Scott Duncan

Assistant Referee 1: John Flynn

Assistant Referee 2: Samuel Lewis

Fourth Official: Brett Huxtable

Duncan is currently embarking on his 10th season as a referee having taken charge of his first match on 25th August 2008 as York City and Barrow played out a 1-1 draw in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

He spent his first three seasons learning his trade at that level and has risen through the leagues since then, officiating as high as the Championship on a regular basis for the past six seasons.

Despite officiating in League Two since the 2012/13 campaign, Duncan has never been involved in a Newport County AFC fixture – whether that be as a referee, assistant referee or fourth official.

So far this season, he has presided over five matches, starting with Leeds United’s 3-1 victory over Stoke City on the opening weekend of the Championship season. No cards awarded at Elland Road.

He produced two yellow cards the following week as Sheffield United secured an away victory at Queens Park Rangers, whilst his first cup game this season came in the First Round of this competition as Nottingham Forest edged out Bury FC 10-9 on penalties following a 1-1 draw. A total of six yellows and one red card were brandished at the City Ground.

Duncan returned to Championship action on Tuesday 21st August as Frank Lampard’s Derby County side secured a comfortable victory over Ipswich Town. Four yellows produced on that occasion.

On Saturday, as it was a derby game, Duncan dropped down two divisions to officiate Lincoln City’s 3-1 home victory against neighbours Notts County. Only the one yellow awarded.

Those statistics follow on from giving out 113 yellows and eight reds last season, 113 yellows and ten reds from 38 games in 2016/17, whilst in 2015/16 Duncan brandished 97 yellow cards and four red cards from 37 matches.

 

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

Blackburn Rovers vs Lincoln City

AFC Bournemouth vs MK Dons

Brentford vs Cheltenham Town

Fulham vs Exeter City

Walsall vs Macclesfield Town

Wycombe Wanderers vs Forest Green Rovers

West Bromwich Albion vs Mansfield Town (8pm kick-off)

 

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 Charlie Brown and Richard Shepherd 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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