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PREVIEW | County continue their Emirates FA Cup adventure at Wrexham AFC

30 November 2018

Newport County AFC will be hoping to reach the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the third time in four years when they travel to Welsh rivals Wrexham AFC tomorrow. The Exiles will go to the Racecourse for the first time in six years to face a side who have only lost there once so far this season.

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

 

How Wrexham AFC reached the Second Round Proper of the Emirates FA Cup

To earn the opportunity to host County in the Second Round Proper of the prestigious Emirates FA Cup, Wrexham AFC have already had to contest three matches in the competition.

Starting their Emirates FA Cup adventure on 20th October, Wrexham AFC had to contest a replay in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the competition after a 0-0 draw away at Harrogate Town. The home side had the better chances but couldn’t find the target at Wetherby Road.

Meeting at the Racecourse three days later, Akil Wright scored his inaugural goal for the Dragons in a 2-0 success against their National League counterparts. Luke Young doubled the lead as Wrexham AFC reached the First Round for the first time since 2014.

In the First Round proper, the Dragons navigated a potentially tricky tie in comfortable fashion with a 2-0 away success at Weston Super Mare. Luke Summerfield and Stuart Beavon both netted in the second-half to set up tomorrow’s tie with County.

 

Emirates FA Cup Record of Wrexham AFC

Wrexham AFC still have a long way to go if they are to match their best ever run in the Emirates FA Cup as they have reached the Quarter Finals on three separate occasions.

The first time they got that far in the competition came way back on 9th March 1974 when they fell to First Division side Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor. The Welsh side actually dominated the majority of the contest, but ultimately lost to a deflected shot late on.

Watch the highlights.

In their next attempt at getting through the last eight, Wrexham AFC this time suffered a 3-2 home defeat to Arsenal in-front of a sell-out 25,000 at the Racecourse on 11th March 1978.

Malcolm Macdonald opened the scoring for the Gunners in the first-half, but they were soon pegged back after a rare Pat Jennings error allowed Dixie McNeil to equalise. Arsenal ramped things up in the second-half and goals from Alan Sunderland and Willie Young were enough to see them through. Graham Whittle got a late consolation for Wrexham AFC.

Watch the highlights.  

Their most recent failing at the Quarter Final stage came just over 20 years ago as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Chesterfield at Saltergate on 9th March 1997.

Former Premier League referee Mike Riley was in charge on the day as Chris Beaumont scored just before the hour mark to send the Spireites through in a rare ‘all third-tier’ Quarter Final tie.

Watch the highlights.

 

One to Watch – Stuart Beavon

Described as a ‘massive’ game by the striker himself, Stuart Beavon is certainly looking forward to his first Welsh derby and heads into the contest with a wealth of experience.

Currently on a season-long loan deal from League One outfit Coventry City, the 34-year old has four goals to his name this season from 22 appearances – after netting against Aldershot, Ebbsfleet United, Barnet and in the last round against Weston Super Mare.

Speaking about the tie, Beavon said: “The FA Cup is very special. I am not getting any younger, so this is a massive game. First and foremost, we have got a heck of a game on Saturday but hopefully, we can go out and get a win.”

Beavon will know more than most of the Wrexham AFC players in terms of how important an Emirates FA Cup run can be after helping the Sky Blues to promotion last season having used the confidence from reaching the fifth round of the competition.

He’s had several good cup runs across his 15-year career that has mostly been spent within the Football League – winning three trophies in the process.

The 34-year old has played as high as the Championship with Burton Albion and has also featured for further clubs including Wycombe Wanderers and Preston North End.

His best season came with the Chairboys during the 2011/12 season, the striker netting 25 goals from 45 appearances in all competitions.

 

Manager – Sam Ricketts

It’s certainly been a blistering start to life in management for former Swansea City defender Sam Ricketts as he has won more than 50% of his games in the Wrexham AFC hotseat.

Taking over at the Racecourse on 2nd May, Ricketts has used his contacts in the footballing world to put together a really competitive squad and they start this break from the National League in 3rd position.

The 37-year old has only tasted defeat at the Racecourse once since he took charge – that coming against a former County manager in Justin Edinburgh during a 2-0 reverse to Leyton Orient a week ago.

He is currently completing his UEFA pro license alongside current County assistant manager Wayne Hatswell.  

Speaking about the game, Rickets said: “It is a game which will be live on TV, it is a game which many people will take notice of and watch, and therefore it is an opportunity to showcase how good they are as individuals but more importantly as a team.

“We have lost three in 25 games which is excellent by anyone’s standards. We are doing well in the league and averaging virtually two points a game which is right up there with anyone in this country.

“We are buoyant knowing that we are capable of winning the game, but they certainly come here as favourites. We have to trust ourselves and try to replicate our performance levels.”

 

Stadium – The Racecourse

One of the more historic stadiums in Wales, County will once again be making a familiar trip to the Racecourse tomorrow.

Originally built in 1807 but not used for football until over 50 years after its inception, Wrexham AFC have resided at the North Wales venue since 1864.

For football, the capacity is capped at 10,771 but the record ever attendance is over three times that figure. On 26th January 1957, most of the 34,445 spectators in attendance would have gone home disappointed after Wrexham lost 5-0 to Manchester United in the Emirates FA Cup.

Reaped in history, the Racecourse has been used a multi-functional stadium and has played host to nine Welsh Rugby League internationals and a couple of Rugby Union internationals as well.

Welsh band Stereophonics headlined a concert there back in 2016, whilst Motorhead and UB40 have also performed at the North Wales venue.

On matchday, County fans will be housed in the Mold/University End of the Bkoncepts Stand which runs alongside one side of the pitch.More ticket news can be found here.

PLEASE NOTE: No tickets will be available to purchase at the Racecourse.

It is a stadium that has hosted County on numerous occasions, but it will be the first time in six years that the Exiles have travelled to Wrexham AFC. A total of 341 Exiles supporters were there on 1st September 2012 as County lost their previously unbeaten start to the season in a 2-0 reverse.  

 

Last meeting between the two sides

Newport County AFC 2 - 0 Wrexham AFC

Saturday 5th May 2013

Wembley Stadium

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 at Wembley.

The Dragons controlled most of first-half proceedings and probably should have scored with the host of chances they mustered. 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.

It just wouldn’t go in for Wrexham and the Exiles made sure their Welsh-counterparts paid for their misfiring by winning the contest in the closing minutes.

Andy Sandell’s long ball was misread by David Artell, with Christian Jolley stealing in to intercept and calmly curl the ball past Chris Maxwell in the Wrexham goal.

County wrapped promotion up in the dying embers when capitalising on Wrexham throwing everything at finding an equaliser. Aaron O’Connor smashed home a rebound in-front of the delirious County fans after Maxwell made a good save with the original attempt.

That meant County secured - to date - their only 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

 

Officials

Referee: Craig Hicks

Assistant Referee 1: Richard Wild

Assistant Referee 2: David Avent

Fourth Official:  Sebastian Stockbridge

Hicks is currently embarking on just his second season as a Football League referee having officiated his first game in League Two on 12th August 2017 as Wycombe Wanderers battled to a 3-2 away victory at Port Vale.

He has refereed 21 games so far this campaign, brandishing 70 yellow cards and four red cards, including a season high seven yellow cards on the opening day of the season as Doncaster Rovers secured an away victory at Southend United.

Not a single fixture has passed without Hicks going to his pocket, with the lowest figure of one yellow card being brandished on just one occasion – Colchester United’s home victory over Yeovil Town on 2nd October.

Those statistics follow on from the 38 matches in which Hicks officiated in the 2017/18 campaign, a season that saw him brandish 124 yellow cards and six red cards.  

 

County Connection

Hicks has refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on three previous occasions in League Two so this will be the first time he has presided over an Exiles cup match. Something must give tomorrow as County have won one, drawn one and lost one of the previous encounters.

All the previous County matches officiated by Hicks came last season, starting with the 26th September 2017 as a pair of Mickey Demetriou headers were enough for a 2-1 away victory at Crawley Town. Five yellow cards were given out in this fixture - Dan Butler, Joss Labadie and Ben Tozer all given a caution from a County perspective.

Next comes the 3-0 reverse at Notts County on 28th October 2017 as a stunning individual display from Nottingham Forest loanee Jorge Grant saw the Magpies to victory. Dan Butler was dismissed but it was then rescinded, alongside yellows for Frank Nouble and Demetriou.

The last time Hicks oversaw a Newport County AFC fixture was 17th March 2018 as Josh Sheehan traded goals with Dan Potts in the 1-1 draw with Luton Town at Rodney Parade. Mark O’Brien and Matty Dolan were the only two players booked.

 

Other Emirates FA Cup Second Round ties involving League Two sides (All Saturday 3pm unless stated)

Accrington Stanley vs Cheltenham Town

Lincoln City vs Carlisle United

Maidstone United vs Oldham Athletic

Bury vs Luton Town (Sunday 2pm)

Chesterfield vs Grimsby Town (Sunday 2pm)

Swindon Town vs Woking (Sunday 2pm)

Tranmere Rovers vs Southport (Sunday 2pm)

 

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 1 from 19:30pm.

Commentary of the game by Tim Thraves can also 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 #iFollowExiles.


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