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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Exiles head to Wembley for an Emirates FA Cup replay with Tottenham Hotspur

6 February 2018

Match Previews

PREVIEW | Exiles head to Wembley for an Emirates FA Cup replay with Tottenham Hotspur

6 February 2018

Newport County AFC will be just the second League Two team to trial the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system when they travel to Wembley to take on Tottenham Hotspur. The Exiles will be searching for their first ever win over Spurs during the game, while the home side will be looking for the first trophy of the Mauricio Pochettino era.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round replay at Wembley.

Results since the 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade

Like County, Tottenham Hotspur have played two matches since the first game in South Wales.

And you would have to say that based on the level of opposition they have faced in the intermittent period, the four points they have accumulated from the games is certainly a superb haul.

The first game since our encounter came on Wednesday as Manchester United visited Wembley.

And such was the positive start from Spurs that they scored the third fastest goal in Premier League history as Christian Eriksen opened the scoring after just 10.4 seconds.

It came from a long ball down the field, with the ball falling kindly to the Danish international to curl past David De Gea and send the majority of a Premier League record crowd (82,000+) into pandemonium.

Spurs were desperate for a win against the Red Devils as they looked to keep their top-four hopes alive and the points were secured before half-time as Phil Jones inadvertently sent the ball into his own net.

They followed that result by gaining a credible point at Anfield in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

Mo Salah scored yet again to give the Reds a half-time lead, before a stunning final ten minutes saw two penalties awarded and three goals scored.

Victor Wanyama thumped home an equaliser with a delightful finish, before Harry Kane missed the chance to get his 100th Premier League goal by missing an 87th minute penalty.

It looked like Kane would be left to rue that missed opportunity when Salah scored again in stoppage time to all but seal the points for Liverpool.

But Spurs showed their fighting spirit by finding an equaliser with the last kick of the game as Kane dispatched his second opportunity from the spot to secure a share of the points.

That took Kane up to a century of goals in the top division, only Alan Shearer doing it in faster time by taking just 124 games to achieve that feat in comparison to Kane’s 141.

The point edged Spurs closer to the Champions League places whilst remaining in 5th position, trailing Chelsea by just a point although the Blues do have a game in hand.



Spurs still have a few injury concerns to contend with before our game although it won’t be as many as at the first game in South Wales.

Defender Toby Alderweireld is still expected to be unavailable with a hamstring injury, while left-back Danny Rose has yet to return to the Tottenham team following a knee injury.

January signing Lucas Moura is ineligible for this fixture. 

Harry Winks and Serge Aurier were deemed fit enough to make the bench for the Liverpool game on Sunday after recovering from ankle and calf complaints respectively, so may make their return to the starting side for our game.

Mauricio Pochettino made no changes to the side from the Man Utd and Liverpool games, and may be tempted to do the same on Wednesday after naming a strong side at Rodney Parade as he seeks his first trophy as Tottenham manager.

Tottenham team vs Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Davies, Vertonghen, Sanchez (Lamela 71’), Trippier, Dier, Dembele (Wanyama 79’), Alli, Son (Llorente 90+2), Eriksen, Kane


One to Watch – Christian Eriksen

 Certainly a player that Spurs missed at Rodney Parade, Danish international Christian Eriksen has now recovered from his recent illness and will provide a constant threat up-front if selected to start against Newport County AFC.

He is on target for his highest goal scoring return since joining the London club in August 2013 for £12.5 million, netting 14 goals already this campaign.

That includes most notably a sensational hat-trick against Ireland in the World Cup qualifying play-off round, while he has also been on target against the likes of Man City, Man Utd and Real Madrid.

The 25-year old set a season high of 18 goals last season, meaning that overall for Spurs he has scored 50 goals from 198 appearances.

Spurs are the second professional club that he has plied his trade for, after getting promoted from the youth side at Ajax in the January of 2010.

Eriksen won four successive titles with the Dutch outfit ahead of his move to England, those coming as a reward after scoring 27 goals from 122 appearances.

He started his career with his hometown team Middlefart in his native Denmark, before joining Odense Boldklub as a 13-year old.

Ajax paid just under £1 million for his services after fending off interest from Europe’s biggest clubs, after it was reported that Eriksen had trials with clubs including Man Utd, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona and AC Milan.

The 25-year old has also been capped at all age grades by Denmark and is a certainty to represent them in the World Cup next summer.

He has scored 21 goals from 75 appearances for his homeland, winning the Danish footballer of the year award on four occasions in the past five years.  


Stadium – Wembley Stadium

By far and above the biggest stadium that Newport County AFC will play in this season, Wembley Stadium is the biggest sporting stadium in terms of capacity in the United Kingdom at 90,000.

Designed by Populous and Foster and Partners, it includes a partially retractable roof and the 134-metre-high (440 ft) Wembley Arch. The stadium was built by Australian firm Multiplex at a cost of £798 million pounds.

It will be the third time that County have played at the prestigious venue, and this one could set a record for the highest attendance at a Newport County AFC match, the last one also being set by Spurs in the 1959 FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane.

Away fans will be located within blocks 113-122 on Level One of the stadium. Block 116 will be a dedicated family zone, while the ground will be capped at 51,000.  

Newport County AFC have sold 7,200 tickets for this fixture. 

The stadium has also hosted notable boxing matches, including George Groves vs Carl Froch and Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko, while also hosting high profile American Football matches in recent years.

This match will also be the first domestic one at Wembley to use Video Assistant Referees (VAR,) following the use of the system at the friendly between England and Germany.


Last visits to Wembley Stadium 

Newport County AFC 2 - 0 Wrexham

Saturday 5th May 2013

Newport County AFC returned to the Football League following a 25-year absence with a 2-0 win over Welsh-rivals Wrexham in the Conference Play-off final.

But you would have to say on the balance of the first-half that Wrexham would have felt aggrieved not to find an opening goal.

Veteran striker Brett Ormerod and Johnny Hunt both came within a whisker of an opener early-on, before Ormerod somehow miscued another attempt with the goal at his mercy.

Having been second best for the first 40 minutes, County twice came close to breaking the deadlock in the closing minutes of the half through Christian Jolley and Lee Minshull.

Ormerod was at the centre of the action again midway through the second period as he fired over from close range after player/manager Andy Morrell had seen his original shot saved.

Johnny Hunt forced Lenny Pidgeley to parry his effort to safety in the 63rd minute with the clash finely poised heading into the closing stages.

And the Exiles made sure that they would make their Welsh-counterparts pay for their misfiring by taking the lead with just four minutes to go.

Andy Sandell’s long ball could only be headed back towards his own goal by now Crewe manager David Artell, with Jolley stealing in to intercept and calmly curl the ball past Chris Maxwell in the Wrexham goal.

It seemed like all the Wrexham chances were falling Ormerod’s way as they searched for an equaliser, this time the striker narrowly missing a flick-on from a corner as time began to run out for the side.  

And substitute Aaron O’Connor ensured it would be County heading back into the Football League with a late second for the Exiles.

It came from a swift counter-attack as Wrexham threw everything at County trying to find an equaliser, Maxwell powerless to prevent O’Connor from smashing home the goal after making a good save with the original attempt.

That meant County secured their first ever win at Wembley in-front of an attendance of 16,346, moving back into the big time in the process.

Justin Edinburgh said: “It’s the best moment of my career. As a player you have a chance to affect it but as manager it’s all or nothing. This win means so much to so many people. This is life-changing for me and I have accomplished what I set out to do. I’m so proud.”

County team that day: Pidgeley, Pipe (C), James, Yakubu, Anthony, Gilbey, Minshull, Flynn (Donnelly 74’), Sandell, Crow (O’Connor 62’), Jolley



Newport County AFC 0 - 2 York City

Saturday 12th May 2012

York City won the FA Trophy title for the first time in their history by securing a 2-0 victory over Newport County AFC.

But it was actually County who had the key chance in the first-half, that coming after just nine minutes when Romone Rose broke quickly from a corner, only to fire the attempt straight at Matt Ingram when in one-on-one.

Neither side could settle into a rhythm and it was a further quarter of an hour until the next chance occurred, Minstermen midfielder Patrick McLaughlin's well-struck 20-yard half-volley deflecting agonisingly past the right-hand post.

Nat Jarvis fired narrowly wide on a further two occasions for County as they were showing no signs of fearing a first ever trip to Wembley, Rose again coming close with a 30-yard attempt.

The second-half was also a closely fought contest in-front of 19,844 spectators in the capital, but it was York who would win the competition after two well-worked second-half goals.

Ashley Chambers dinked a clever ball between the County centre halves and striker Matty Blair ran through to lift it over Glyn Thompson from 18 yards in the 65th minute.

Man-of-the-match Lanre Oyebanjo added a second in the 72nd minute to take the game away from County, Chambers again the provider by drilling a ball across the area for Oyebanjo to tuck home.

County continued to press to try and force a way back into the game, Ismail Yakubu agonisingly hitting the crossbar in-front of the County supporters, while Gary Warren fired just over on the half-volley during added-time.

But York held on to secure their first of two wins at Wembley that season, beating Luton Town in the play-off final just eight days later.

Justin Edinburgh said: “Obviously we’re disappointed to lose in a final. We didn’t take our chances when they came along today and that is what has cost us. The players gave it everything they had but when you get those kinds of chances you have to bury them.”

County team that day: Thompson, Warren, Yakubu, Hughes, Pipe, Rose (Buchanan 69’), Evans, Porter (Knights 80’), Foley, Jarvis (Harris 69’), Minshull.


Last time out vs Tottenham Hotspur

Newport County AFC 1 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday 27th January 2018

Newport County AFC secured themselves a dream Emirates FA Cup replay at Wembley after holding Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur to a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade.

And it was County who took a deserved lead back with them to the dressing rooms after a dominative first-half was finished off with Padraig Amond’s opener on 38 minutes.

Ben Tozer’s long throw was only half-cleared to Robbie Willmott just outside the area, who took a touch to compose himself before sending an inviting delivery into the area for Amond to head past Michel Vorm from eight yards.

Frank Nouble missed a big chance earlier on in the half as the Exiles controlled proceedings in-front of the BT cameras, with Spurs only having one shot from Harry Kane deflecting off the post to show for their first-half exploits.

But the away side certainly had the better of things in the second-half following the introductions of Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli, the former seeing an attempt well saved by the leg of Day.

Spurs continued to pile on the pressure as they looked to avoid an unlikely exit from the competition, eventually finding their equaliser with eight minutes to play.

Son was again involved, deftly flicking a corner-kick towards the far post where Kane had peeled away from his marker to tap home his 30th goal of the current campaign.

Kane could have broken County hearts in the second minute of added time with a shot that was just about blocked wide, before Alli failed to connect to a looping cross with just ten seconds left.

That meant County held on for what was a deserved draw at Rodney Parade, securing themselves a third ever trip to Wembley in the process as they seek a spot in the fifth round for the first time since 1949.

Mike Flynn said: “They gave me their all today. It’s my 50th game today and I’m very proud of everything we’ve achieved in those 50 games.It was always going to be tough second-half, but they really have made me the proudest manager in the country today.”

Mauricio Pochettino added: “I think the team (Newport) was very good. Of course, very good performances individually from some players but all the team impressed me to be honest. They were so, so good and they showed me a fantastic physical level. I think a big congratulations must go to them because they fully deserve this result and to go to Wembley.”



Referee: Stuart Attwell

Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt

Assistant Referee 2: Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: Kevin Friend

Video Assistant Referee: Graham Scott

Additional Video Assistant Referee: Darren Cann

Attwell is currently part of the select group of referees for the Premiership. 

Interestingly, he became the youngest Premiership referee when he took charge of a 1-1 draw between Blackburn Rovers and Hull City on 23rd August 2008 at just 25 years of age.

Attwell spent the years August 2008 – February 2012 in the English top division, before dropping to the Football League until another promotion in October 2014.

He has taken charge of 20 games so far this season, the last of which came at Old Trafford on Saturday as Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal for Manchester United in their 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town.

Six yellow cards were brandished that afternoon, taking his season tally to 69 yellow cards and one red card from the 20 matches.

That follows on from his record last season which reads as 90 yellows and eight red cards from a total of 27 matches.


County Connection 

Attwell has refereed three previous games involving Newport County AFC.

And the Exiles have a pretty decent record in games officiated by Attwell, after winning two and losing just one of the three matches.

It has been nearly 27 months since Attwell last refereed a game involving County, that coming on 17th November 2015 in an Emirates FA Cup first-round replay with Brackley Town.

Lenell John-Lewis, Yan Klukowski, Alex Rodman and an own-goal from Aidan Hawtin set the Exiles on their way to a comfortable victory at Rodney Parade, while Hawtin also scored at the other end to give Brackley a consolation.

Four yellows cards were awarded on the night – Scott Boden the only offender from a County perspective.

He also refereed one County game in the 2014/15 season.

But that didn’t go so well for the Exiles on 17th January 2015 as they suffered a 4-0 defeat at Cambridge United.

Cameron McGeehan scored twice on his debut to set the U’s in motion, before Sullay Kaikai and Liam Hughes made it a game to forget for the Exiles.

Four yellows were brandished by Attwell that day – Ryan Jackson, Aaron O’Connor and Chris Zebroski the players booked for County.

That just leaves the first County game officiated by Attwell.

It was 12th April 2014 and the Exiles beat Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 at Rodney Parade thanks to goals from Chris Zebroski and Christian Jolley.

No yellow cards were given to County players that day.



Heading to Wembley?

An incredible 7,200 of you are making your way to Wembley tomorrow.  Click here for the Away Supporters Guide! 

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 but the game will be live on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD from 19:15pm. Commentary of the game by Tim Thraves and Glyn Neale can also be found at the Match Centre from 7:30pm.

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