Padraig Amond became the second most successful player in Emirates FA Cup history as he scored a priceless stoppage time winner to see Newport County AFC into the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Maldon & Tiptree FC.
Amond’s pinpoint header meant he scored for the eighth successive round of the competition which is the second best of any streak in the history of the competition, only prestigious Blackpool striker Stan Mortensen has a better record with 12 successive rounds. That’s Podge’s next target.
It was heartbreak for the eighth tier side but nothing more than County deserved on reflection of the game as a whole, they were professional from start to finish and ultimately got the result they came to Essex for.
Michael Flynn elected to make four changes from the side which suffered a narrow home defeat to Oldham Athletic at Rodney Parade six days ago.
Due to some injury problems, County switched to a 3-4-1-2 formation as Josh Sheehan returned from suspension and Dom Jefferies, Matty Dolan and Kyle Howkins all came back in place of captain Joss Labadie, Scot Bennett, Danny McNamara and Corey Whitely.
It was no exaggeration to say that County could quite easily have been five up at half time such was their dominance all over the pitch, but they couldn’t find the target, which in part could be credited to a good defensive output from Maldon & Tiptree FC.
Josh Sheehan was quite simply a class above anyone else, covering every blade of grass in the opening 45 minutes, the main architect of all the good play from County and also doing some great defensive work to help neutralise the pace of the Maldon front three.
After Padraig Amond had fired a shot straight at the goalkeeper Ben McNamara five minutes in, it was Sheehan’s shot on seven minutes that first caused a danger, it was spilled and Mark O’Brien wastefulness shot over the top.
Matty Dolan was next to try his luck on the 14 minute mark, again McNamara got away with one as he unconfidently tipped it just about past his near post.
Maldon’s greatest opening of the first half came just after the quarter of an hour mark. County afforded the Jammers too much room to move it through midfield, Kojo Awotwi broke clear but Nick Townsend came off his line quickly and spread himself to snuff out the danger.
Tristan Abrahams was useful in working off the shoulders of the two centre halves, he was caught offside twice, but mostly it was a tactic that worked and he saw a shot saved on the turn just before the half hour.
Next it was O’Brien’s turn to see another shot blazed over the crossbar from a Ryan Haynes pinpoint delivery, before the Exiles missed a glorious opportunity to finally break Maldon’s resistance on 33 minutes.
McNamara was hesitant to deal with a high ball into his six yard box from Haynes, he fell under the pressure of Abrahams which left the attacker with the goal at his mercy, but he went for power over placement and ended up seeing the shot blocked by Lance Akins.
A nasty looking clash of heads between Charlee Hughes and Kyle Howkins caused a temporary halt to processing’s on the hour, the County centre half taken off as a precautionary measure, and the tempo wasn’t great either side of that incident.
On 77 minutes, Townsend was forced into a smart save to keep out Stephane Ngamvoulou from 25 yards. The ball swirled and dipped amid the Essex nightlife but Townsend was aware to it and followed it all the way before leaping to tip it over the top.
Townsend spared County’s blushes two minutes from time with another smart save to deny Ngamvoulou who had made a marauding run through the heart of the field.
It was always going to be a dramatic finale and Amond made sure his name was up in lights again by grabbing the priceless winner exactly on 90 minutes.
The Irishman hadn’t had many opportunities throughout the afternoon but he only needed one, powering a header back across goal from a perfect George Nurse cross to set himself another milestone and ensure County booked their place in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Maldon & Tiptree FC (4-2-1-3): Ben McNamara (C), Robert Girdlestone (Al-Amin Kazeem 80’), Lance Akins, Quba Gordon, Kojo Awotwi, Laste Dombaxe, Stephane Ngamvoulou, Tyrique Hyde, Jorome Slew, Charlee Hughes, Danny Parish
Subs not used: Cracknell, Kaid, Coombes, O’Reilly
Newport County AFC (3-4-1-2): Nick Townsend, Mark O’Brien (C) (Dominic Poleon 59’), Ryan Inniss, Kyle Howkins (George Nurse 66’), Ryan Haynes, Josh Sheehan, Matty Dolan, Dom Jefferies, Padraig Amond, Jamille Matt
Subs not used: King, Whitely, Collins, Hillier, Woodiwiss
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Next up for County: Brighton U21s (AWAY) - 3rd December 2019