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Match Report | Newport Forced to Settle for FA Cup Replay with Eastleigh

6 January 2024

Club News

Match Report | Newport Forced to Settle for FA Cup Replay with Eastleigh

6 January 2024

Newport County were forced to settle for an Emirates FA Cup third-round replay against Eastleigh after a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade.

James Clarke's opener was cancelled out by a Chris Maguire penalty late in the second half, forcing Newport to settle for a replay in Hampshire later in the month.

Manager Graham Coughlan named an unchanged starting XI for the third game in a row for our FA Cup clash with Eastleigh, with Aaron Wildig and Lewis Payne both returning to the bench from illness and injury.

The opening five minutes set the tone for what was to be a very physical first-half. The first chance of the game fell to us on the six-minute mark, with Scot Bennett swinging a delightful cross onto the head of Seb Palmer-Houlden, with the striker heading inches wide of the post. 

We would create another chance just two minutes later. A ball across from the left went through the area and found Will Evans in space in the area, but the striker was unable to keep his effort down. 

Our attack on the Eastleigh goal continued, and we would have two chances within a minute of one another at the quarter-of-an-hour mark. First, a Shane McLoughlin corner caused chaos in the box, ending in a James Clearke header taking a slight deflection and going narrowly wide. 

The resulting corner then came agonisingly close to being converted, with Scot Bennett meeting it at the near post, only for it to go to the wrong side of the post. 

Eastleigh's physical approach reaped few rewards in the opening 25 minutes, but the Spitfires did have their first opportunity in the 28th minute. Chris Maguire swung a free-kick in which was flicked goalwards by Paul McCallum, but the resulting effort caused no trouble for Nick Townsend. 

Less than sixty seconds later, the ball was nearly in the net at the other end. A great run from Lewis Payne down the right finished with him swinging the ball in for Palmer-Houlden, only for the on-loan Peterborough striker's effort to be headed just over the bar. 

The visitors were reduced to ten men in the 37th minute when George Langston fouled Harry Charsley on the edge of the area and was given a straight red. 

Newport looked to make the man-advantage count before the half-time whistle, and they came close to grabbing the opener on the 45-minute mark. Lewis Payne swung a ball into the back-post, with Will Evans narrowly heading over in what would be the last notable moment of the half. 

Half time 

County started the second half with intent. Shane McLoughlin, looking to add to his three goals already scored in this year's FA Cup, fired a vicious strike at Eastleigh keeper Joe McDonnell, who could only parry it back out. 

The visitors give us a scare a minute later, with a long ball catching the defence out and allowing Chris Maguire through on goal. He fired a vicious volley at goal, with the post coming to our rescue. 

We continued to mount the pressure on the Eastleigh defence. A dangerous ball from Payne in the 55th minute caused confusion and was nearly met at the back-post by Evans, only for the outstretched leg of Bailey Clements to flick it wide for a corner. 

The resulting corner would finally see us break the deadlock. Shane McLoughlin played the ball low into the area, with James Clarke meeting it on the edge of the six-yard box and smashing it past Joe McDonell to put us 1-0 ahead in the 56th minute. 

We looked to double our lead four minutes later. Lewis Payne and Seb Palmer-Houlden had some lovely link-up play down the left before playing it inside to Bryn Morris on the edge of the area. The midfielder took a touch before firing a strike directly at McDonell in the Eastleigh net. 

Coughlan went to his bench in the 65th minute, replacing Lewis Payne and Harry Charsley with Matty Bondswell and James Waite, respectively. Bondswell's lively presence instantly forced a corner, which James Clarke came close to heading home at the back post. 

Bondswell then nearly grabbed his first-ever FA Cup goal in the 70th minute. The ball dropped to the on-loan defender on the edge of the box, with his long-range effort being dramatically put over by the diving head of Eastleigh defender Luke Croll. 

Against the run of play, Paul McCallum was brought down in the area, with the referee pointing to the spot. Chris Maguire stepped up to convert the resulting penalty for the visitors with ten minutes left on the clock. 

Despite a sustained spell of pressure in the closing moments, Newport were unable to turn it into any clear-cut chances, with the final whistle confirming the tie would go to a replay at the Silverlake Stadium later in the month. 

Newport County: Townsend, Payne (Bondswell 65'), Delaney (C), Clarke (Rai 86'), Baker, McLoughlin, Bennett, Morris, Charsley (Waite 65'), Evans, Palmer-Houlden (Wildig 86'). 

Substitutes: Maxted, Bondswell, Waite, Wood, Rai, Sanca, Lewis, Wildig, Bright.

Eastleigh FC: McDonnell (GK), Atangana (Nwabuokei 75'), Taylor (c) (Harris 75'), McCallum, Boldewijn, Langston, Hodson (Francillette 45'), Croll, Maguire, Clements (Clampin 75'), Quigley.

Subs: Scott, Clampin, Martin, Francillette, Barlow, Nwabuokei, Panter, Rutherford, Harris.

Attendance: 4,966 (1,000 away supporters)


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