Three things are certain in life: death, taxes and Padraig Amond scoring in the Emirates FA Cup.
The Irishman – the Emirates FA Cup’s star man at the moment – opened the scoring early in the second half before captain Joss Labadie made sure of their progression in stoppage time for a 2-0 victory over League Two rivals Grimsby Town.
Manager Michael Flynn elected to make eight changes to the side which secured Leasing.Com Trophy qualification last week with a thrilling 7-4 victory at Cheltenham Town.
Only Nick Townsend, Corey Whitely and hat-trick hero Tristan Abrahams retained their place as Flynn wrung the changes in a 4-4-2 for a competition which he described as special in the build-up to the game.
The first half wasn’t exactly the most inspiring as referee Darren Handley was a bit quick to ball the whistle and inhibit either side building some momentum, there were 16 fouls before half time, including over 55% in favour of the visitors.
Visiting midfielder Jordan Cook was the standout player in the early exchanges, he should have scored on six minutes but wasted the chance and drilled wide, then he hit the crossbar on 31 minutes with a header, but the flag was up anyway for offside.
In response, Ryan Inniss powered a header straight at James McKeown from a corner, but it certainly wasn’t the glut of chances like last week in Gloucestershire as both teams struggled to get going.
The contest needed some inspiration and who better to provide it than the current Emirates FA Cup golden boy, Padraig Amond, who opened the scoring on 50 minutes.
Whitely was simply sublime against Cheltenham in the last outing and he was back to his free-flowing best from a Grimsby Town corner, sprinting clear of the defence in a swift counter attack before setting up former Mariner Amond to tap past James McKeown.
County’s defensive effort was remarkable as Grimsby didn’t really muster anything in response, Ahkeem Rose shot for a comfortable save for Nick Townsend but that was about it in terms of the Mariners’ output.
There was enough time in stoppage time for County to make sure of their cup progression. Grimsby threw everything forward to try and find an equaliser but to no avail, the Exiles again broke, and captain Joss Labadie make sure of things via the crossbar.
A confident, if not glamourous, performance was enough to send County through to the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup where they will travel to eighth tier Maldon & Tiptree a week on Friday, a game live on TV.
Newport County AFC (4-4-2): Nick Townsend, Ryan Haynes, Ryan Inniss, Mark O’Brien, Robbie Willmott, Corey Whitely (Jamille Matt 74’), Joss Labadie (C), Josh Sheehan, Scot Bennett, Tristan Abrahams (Dominic Poleon 90+3’), Padraig Amond (Matty Dolan 90’)
Subs not used: King, Howkins, Nurse, Maloney
Grimsby Town (4-4-2): James McKeown, Harry Davis, Luke Waterfall, Mattie Pollock, Liam Gibson, Jordan Cook, Elliott Hewitt (Elliott Whitehouse 82’), Ethan Robson, Ahkeem (Harry Clifton 79’) Rose, Jake Hessenthaler, Matt Green (Harry Cardwell 56’)
Subs not used: Russell, Starbuck
Referee: Darren Handley
Attendance: 2,053 (93 AWAY)
Next up for County: Oldham Athletic (23rd November 2019) HOME