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Match Previews

PREVIEW | County continue their Emirates FA Cup adventure when hosting Middlesbrough

4 February 2019

Newport County AFC will be looking to reach the Fifth Round of the Emirates FA Cup for just the second time in their history when Middlesbrough come to Rodney Parade on Tuesday night. The incentive is there for the Exiles as Manchester City lie in wait for the victors, but Middlesbrough also have that opportunity when heading to South Wales and they will be looking to build upon a statement result from the weekend.

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

 

What’s happened since the original tie 

County have contested two League Two fixtures since the initial draw at the Riverside. The Exiles were held at home by Port Vale on Tuesday evening, before suffering defeat at Grimsby Town last time out.

Read the full match report from Rodney Parade.

Read the full match report from Blundell Park.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, have played once since the initial tie and that was the statement 3-2 victory at fellow Championship play-off hopefuls West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Striker Britt Assombalonga came off the bench to score twice late on to overturn a 2-1 deficit, George Saville opened the scoring and West Brom’s goals came from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle.

Manager Tony Pulis said post-match: “It's a great result and I'm pleased for the lads. It's a fabulous football club with a great group of supporters and that showed again today. For them to turn up today and support the team the way they did is superb.”   

Middlesbrough team vs West Bromwich Albion (5-4-1): Randolph, Friend (C), Fry (Assombalonga 65’), Flint, Ayala, Shotton, Saville, Besic (Howson 54’), Obi Mikel (van La Parra 75’), Wing, Hugill  

 

Emirates FA Cup record of Middlesbrough FC

Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough still have a long way to go if they are to match or eclipse their best ever run in the competition.

One of the higher profile teams never to have lifted the Emirates FA Cup trophy, Middlesbrough have been runners up on one previous occasion in the 1996/97 campaign – a season they also lost the League Cup final.

Starting off in the competition at the Third Round stage, Middlesbrough – then managed by former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson – brushed aside Chester City, Hednesford Town, Manchester City and Derby County to reach the semi-finals.

With replays not scrapped at the semi-final stage until 1999, Middlesbrough took two matches to see off Chesterfield – beating the Spireites 3-0 in the replay at Hillsborough after a 3-3 draw in the initial tie at Old Trafford.

That put them through to the final, but they fell at the final hurdle as Ruud Gullit’s Chelsea secured a 2-0 victory at Wembley Stadium on 17th May 1997. Roberto Di Matteo scored after just 42 seconds before Eddie Newton ensured Chelsea won their first major trophy for 26 years. The official attendance was 79,160.

Middlesbrough team that day vs Chelsea (4-4-2): Roberts; Blackmore, Pearson, Festa, Fleming; Stamp, Emerson, Mustoe (Vickers 28’), Hignett (Kinder 74’); Juninho, Ravanelli (Beck 23’).

 

One to Watch – Lewis Wing

The midfield architect of most of the Middlesbrough opportunities in the initial meeting at the Riverside, 23-year old Lewis Wing is starting to establish himself as an integral first-team player at the Teesside outfit.

He was one of the Middlesbrough goal scorers in their emphatic victory over Peterborough United in the previous round of the competition, one of three goals this season from 23 appearances, after netting at Birmingham City and in the Carabao Cup victory over Premier League Crystal Palace.

Signed at the start of the previous campaign, Wing found first-team opportunities limited to just two appearances in the Carabao Cup during his debut season, so headed out on loan to Yeovil Town in January.

He featured for the Glovers when County won at Huish Park 2-0 in March, one of his 23 appearances, and he found the net on three occasions against Swindon Town, Grimsby Town and Chesterfield.

Those appearances must have alerted manager Tony Pulis towards his potential and he was handed his inaugural league start for Middlesbrough on the second matchday of the season in the victory over Sheffield United – and he hasn’t looked back since.

 

Manager – Tony Pulis

One of the greatest managers ever to grace the English game, Pill born Tony Pulis has managed over 1,000 competitive matches and has been inducted into the League Managers Association Hall of Fame.

After a playing career that included a spell with the Ironsides, Pulis took his first steps into management at AFC Bournemouth in 1992, before moving on to Gillingham and winning promotion from the Football League Third Division – equivalent of League Two – in 1996.

Tough spells at Bristol City and Portsmouth then followed, before his first spell at Stoke City included a relegation escape in 2002/03 that was very similar to County’s own heroics in 2016/17. Pulis still rates this achievement as one of his best in football management.

A short stint at Plymouth came before a change in ownership meant a return to Stoke for Pulis and this is, without question, his best tenure as a football manager.

In the seven years he was there, Pulis secured them promotion to the Premier League in 2007/08 as Championship runners-up, took them to the FA Cup final in May 2011 and played Europa League football in the subsequent campaign before defeat to Spanish giants Valencia in the knockout stages.

Countless times Pulis masterminded victories both home and away against what is today dubbed ‘the Premier League big six’ and those kind of results were repeated in his tenures as Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion manager.

Pulis joined Middlesbrough on Boxing Day 2017 and alongside trying to carve out a positive Emirates FA Cup run this campaign, he’s got them on the cusps of a potential promotion to the top-flight and they currently reside in a play-off position.

 

Why do we need a replay?

Middlesbrough 1 – 1 Newport County AFC

Saturday 26th January 2019

Newport County AFC substitute Matty Dolan ‘socked’ it to Middlesbrough at the Riverside – but only after a scrupulous fourth official almost denied him the chance of revenge against his former side.

After initially cutting his socks to feel more comfortable on the pitch, Hartlepool born Dolan incorrectly taped them back up meaning he was sent back to make an alteration and ultimately didn’t take to the field until the 87th minute.

But, if anything, that only added to the excitement and drama on Teesside as Dolan thrilled the 1,200 away supporters – 40 of whom were composed of his friends and family – by passing into an empty net in the third minute of stoppage time to cancel out Daniel Ayala’s header earlier in the second-half.

It was nothing more than County deserved for a tough, resilient and brave performance against their Championship counterparts, who they matched throughout the entirety of the game.

You really couldn’t tell that there were 56 places separating a team within the Championship play-offs and the other in the bottom half of League Two.

County’s insistence on taking the game to their opposition was enough to secure Tuesday’s Fourth Round replay at Rodney Parade – with both sides knowing reigning Premier League champions Manchester City await in the Fifth Round – a stage of the competition County haven’t reached since 1949. 

Read the full match report at Rodney Parade.

Read Mike Flynn’s and Nick Townsend’s thoughts of the game.

Watch the official first-half here or the second-half here

 

Officials

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Assistant Referee 1: Ian Hussin

Assistant Referee 2: Marc Perry

Fourth Official: Andy Davies

A highly regarded official, Stuart Attwell is part of the select group of Premiership officials having taken charge of his first top-flight match on 1st November 2014 when West Bromwich Albion secured a narrow away victory at Leicester City.

This season, Attwell has officiated 20 matches thus far – 13 of which have come in the Premiership, giving out 68 yellow cards and two red cards, including four yellows in his first game as Sheffield Wednesday drew with Hull City in the Championship.

Four games have passed this season without Attwell going to his pocket, three of those in the top flight, as Man City beat Fulham on 15th September, Liverpool smashed Cardiff on 27th October and Man City saw off AFC Bournemouth on 1st December.

A referee that doesn’t like to brandish needless cards of any colour, Attwell’s record number of yellow cards for a single fixture this season stands at eight, that coming as AFC Bournemouth won at West Ham United on 18th August.

That follows on from refereeing a total of 29 games during the 2017/18 campaign, a season in which Attwell brandished 99 yellow cards and three red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.

 

County Connection

Attwell has refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on four previous occasions. Something will have to give in this Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay at Rodney Parade, with County winning two and losing two of the previous matched officiated by Attwell.

He took charge of just the one game last season and that came at this very stage of the competition as County lost 2-0 against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on 7th February 2018. Victor Wanyama was the only player booked.

You then must go back 27 months for the next time Attwell officiated the Exiles. It again came in this competition as County dispatched of Brackley Town 4-1 on 17th November 2015. Scott Boden was the only County player booked.

Attwell has also refereed two League Two fixtures involving the Exiles, the first of which came on 17th January 2015 when they suffered a 4-0 defeat at Cambridge United. Ryan Jackson, Aaron O’Connor and Chris Zebroski were all cautioned.

The other league fixture was much better for the Exiles as they beat Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 at Rodney Parade on 12th April 2014. No yellow cards were given to County players that day.

 

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 4KUHD from 19:30pm.

Commentary of the game by Richard Shepherd and Charlie Brown can also be found at the Match Centre from 19:30pm.

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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