Josh Sheehan heaped praise on the Newport County AFC supporters for their support and encouragement which helped the Exiles into the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup thanks to a 1-0 victory over Maldon & Tiptree FC.
The Exiles passed up numerous opportunities throughout the game to give themselves an easier passage through a tricky tie, but they never let their heads drop and eventually got their reward through Padraig Amond’s stoppage time header, something Sheehan credited to the vociferous away support in Essex.
It means County are into the Third Round for the fourth time in five seasons and they will find out their opponents in Monday evenings draw, with the tie to be contested on the opening weekend of January.
Here, you can read what Sheehan exclusively told iFollow Exiles following the conclusion of the game.
On the victory over Maldon & Tiptree FC...
“Fair play to Maldon & Tiptree FC, I thought they were a very good side and the way they play football was very impressive, the midfielders were good and you could see why they beat Leyton Orient in the previous round.
“Thankfully we managed to do the job. The main point is we’re into the Third Round but we were looking for a performance as well because the last few weeks haven’t been up to the levels we want.
“In the first half we probably could have killed the game off. Tristan knows in himself that he should have scored a couple but that happens in football.
“Some fans may have been thinking that it wasn’t going to be our day but we knew, and said at half time, that if we kept going and going that we’d take one of the chances eventually.
“We felt like it was eventually going to pay off because going into the last 20 minutes, we were the fitter and stronger team. We train every day whereas they don’t train every day so it was going to come and thankfully when the chance came it fell on Podges head.”
On Padraig Amond becoming the second most successful player in Emirates FA Cup history...
“Podge loves it, doesn’t he? When it falls on his head, I’d back my house on him to score because he scores all the time with his head.
“He played in more of a midfield role so he wasn’t going to get as many chances as normal but he pops up at the right time and that’s why we’ve won the game.
“I’m pleased with my overall performance and contribution to the team because I thought I did well driving with the ball, which is what I wanted to bring into the game. I felt that I could get into the game by getting the ball and driving with it so I’m happy with my performance - but the main thing is the win.
“That’s probably why this game was on the TV because they felt there could have been an upset. We heard all the rumours through the week with people thinking that but we knew deep down that if we turned up and performed professionally then we’d win.
“Fair play to the supporters, they were unbelievable. For them to travel all this way, we know it costs money and this game was on TV as well. They could have used that as an excuse but they didn’t, they chose to support us and it really drove us on in the last few minutes to score the goal.”
On continuing cup momentum against Brighton U21s on Tuesday night in the Leasing.Com Trophy...
“When you’re playing games, you want to win every single of them you’re playing in regardless of whether it’s League Two, FA Cup, Carabao Cup or the Leasing.Com Trophy.
“We just want to go into the game with Brighton U21s and win it to take the momentum of the two cup games into the weekend against Bradford.
“I’ve played at the Amex before when I was with Swansea U23s and it was a lovely stadium, one of the better ones in terms of its a modern stadium.
“A lot of the boys will enjoy the experience, especially if there’s a few young boys who travel with us as well. It’ll be a big step for them to see the big grounds of the Premier League but everyone will be looking forward to it.
“We’re disappointed with our league form because we feel like we should have picked up more points than we have - we haven’t performed to our levels in the past few weeks but we’ll be looking to take some cup form back into the league.”