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FIVE OF THE BEST | Michael Flynn's wins as manager

17 October 2020

Manager Michael Flynn celebrates his 40th birthday today, so we've decided to rewind the clock and take a look back at his five best wins during his time in charge of Newport County AFC.

Flynn has enjoyed three years in charge of his hometown club and has led his team through some of the biggest fixtures in County’s history from the FA Cup fifth round to the Sky Bet League Two play-off final.

1. Newport County AFC vs Notts County

When Flynn was first appointed caretaker manager of Newport County at the end of the 2016/17 season, relegation from League Two was seemingly inevitable, being 11 points adrift and it looked like there was no way back.

Before the final game of the season, Flynn’s men had won six out of 11 games with one final hurdle to jump, as a sea of amber welcomed Notts County to Rodney Parade on the final day.

In a must-win game, Mickey Demetriou opened the scoring but the Magpies managed an equaliser in the 61st minute, leaving County with just under half-an-hour to find the winner, or they were sunk.

Then, a curling cross into the box from David Pipe found Mark O’Brien who chested the ball down and fired home in the 89th minute to keep Newport County in the football league and re-write the club’s history.

Flynn achieved the impossible through the same passion and fight that his side became known for when they embarked on an historic FA Cup run just a few months after the Great Escape.

2. Newport County AFC vs Leeds United

Eight months after Flynn had earned a two-year permanent contract at his boyhood club, his men were lining up to face Championship outfit Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup on home soil.

Leeds struck first through Gaetano Berardi, but a mistake from Conor Shaughnessy brought County level.

In the 89th minute, a familiar setting, Shawn McCoulsky found the back of the net with a climbing header, sending the amber army into euphoria and his team into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1978/79.

The giant killer status had been claimed and Flynn’s side have lived up to the title ever since.

3. Newport County AFC vs Leicester City

A year later, Flynn had yet again guided his team to the third round of the FA Cup, but this time to take on former Premier League champions Leicester City and there was a buzz around the whole of Newport in anticipation for the tie.

An early goal from Jamille Matt and a composed penalty conversion from Padraig Amond sent County straight into the fourth round draw with the biggest clubs in the country.

Flynn beamed with pride as the changing room celebrations were broadcast live on BBC One, a memory that makes Newport County AFC unforgettable to the masses.

4. Newport County AFC vs Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough was next. After Matty Dolan secured a draw in extra time at the Riverside Stadium, yet another Championship club prepared for a trip to South Wales in the FA Cup.

Robbie Willmott picked up the ball in his own half and set off on an unbelievable run which finished with a stunning strike from outside of the box to give County the lead.

And then, Amond doubled the scoreline in the 67th minute with a superb effort from a clever set piece, ensuring he’d scored in every round of the 2018/19 FA Cup.

This impressive victory led to a draw against footballing giants Manchester City, a fixture that was very well deserved by a team and manager whose passion can never be questioned.

5. Mansfield Town vs Newport County AFC

As well as producing FA Cup magic, Flynn ignited the hope of promotion in March 2019 when his team began an unbeaten run of 12 games and found themselves occupying the final League Two play-off position.

Managing a 1-1 draw at home to Mansfield in the play-off semi-final, 1,118 County fans travelled to Field Mill (now known as the One Call Stadium) all with the same dream of a trip to Wembley.

With neither side able to find the net over 120 minutes, a penalty shoot-out would decide Newport’s fate.

Joe Day saved Tyler Walker’s spot-kick and Dan Butler, Amond, Demetriou and Regan Poole all converted, meaning it was down to Dolan to win it.

Some covered their eyes whilst others turned their backs, then the sound of the ball smashing the net sent the travelling fans into delirium. County had made it to Wembley for the fourth time in just over seven years.

The quality of football Flynn has inspired on the pitch is undeniable upon reflection of his time spent so far at the helm of his boyhood club.

The Newport-born and bred manager has guided his men through the highs and lows, successfully making club history on his way and being able to take a lion’s share of the credit for where the Exiles are today.


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