This Saturday afternoon, we welcome National League promotion contenders Barnet to Rodney Parade.
The FA Cup is the oldest cup competition in the world, and it holds a special place in the hearts of football fans. While naysayers insist the magic of the cup is fading, you only need to experience the match-day buzz at a League Two ground on a cold afternoon at the start of December to know that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The tournament is all about romance; it’s about minnows rising from the bottom of the pyramid, fans travelling the length and breadth of the country to stadiums they’ve never visited before and may never visit again, and David smashing a last-minute winner against Goliath in front of a jubilant terrace.
The second-round is special because it has fans dreaming of a place in the third. The chance to visit the Theatre of Dreams or to smash a goal past Liverpool in front of the Kop. At Newport County, we’ve had our fair share of cup runs over the years, and for this special edition of From the Archive, we are going to look back at some of our most memorable second-round wins from recent seasons.
Barnet 0-1 Newport County - 2015/16
What better place to start than with a trip to North London and our last FA Cup encounter with Saturday’s visitors, Barnet?
John Sheridan was our manager at the time, and it was a blisteringly cold afternoon at the Hive Stadium. After a slow first half, we grabbed the lead in the 59th minute when Scott Boden met Andrew Hughes’s cross and headed it past Jamie Stephens in the Barnet goal.
We sat 21st in League Two at the time, while Barnet was beneath us, staring relegation right in the face. The third-round draw served up a tie with Blackburn Rovers at home.
Newport 2-0 Cambridge - 2017/18
Newport’s FA Cup in the 2017/18 season is the stuff of local legend. Our late goals against Leeds and Tottenham in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, are two of the most iconic moments to have taken place at Rodney Parade.
Neither of those would have been possible, however, had it not been for our professional performance against Cambridge United in the second round.
The team had fans dreaming of a big tie early on when Joss Labadie fired past David Forde in the Cambridge goal in the second minute. Despite pressure from the visitors, we would hold strong, and Labadie would double his total in the 82nd minute, firing a superb volley home from a Frank Nouble cross to book our ticket in the third round.
The next round would serve up a tie with Leeds United at home, and there’s not an Exile in South Wales who doesn’t know how that game ended.
Newport County 4-0 Wrexham - 2018/19
We’ve saved the best until last. Our trip to STōK Cae Ras in the second round of the 18/19 FA Cup had ended 0-0, meaning that our friends in the North had to make the trip down to Rodney Parade on a cold Tuesday night.
Rodney Parade can be an unforgiving stadium to visit at the best of times, but Wrexham fans really would have wished they hadn’t bothered that evening.
After a cagey opening ten minutes, Luke Young received a red for the visitors following a wreckless challenge on Mickey Demetriou. Wrexham were still able to hold their own for the first half, though, with the game going in 0-0 at the break.
Whatever Michael Flynn said to the team at half-time clearly worked, as the team returned to the field with a fire in their eyes. The 6,700+ inside Rodney Parade were not expecting the next 45 minutes to play out as they did.
In the 49th minute, a ball was swung into the box and met by Fraser Franks at the back post, who headed back across the goal to our regular FA Cup hero, Padraig Amond, who headed home to get the party started.
Things would get even better ten minutes later when Jamille Matt arrived in the box to score the second of the evening.
The Exiles were full of confidence now, and they added a third in the 65th minute. Some nice build-up play saw Padraig Amond fire a volley across the face of the goal, with Wrexham defender Mark Carrington putting the ball past Rob Lainton.
As the clock approached full-time, we still had time for one more. Dan Butler went into his business for himself, firing a spectacular effort home from the right to wrap up what was a spectacular early Christmas present for the home fans.
Secure your tickets for this weekend's clash with Barnet HERE.