County’s cup runs end but there’s plenty more to come

          Newport out of the cups but into our hearts

          2021/01/11 16:11
          Connor Andrews

          FA Cup third-round weekend is a highlight of the season for many, as Premier League teams join the fray and the threat of cupsets start to circulate, and in a season without fans, the action still didn’t disappoint.

          The networks are accused of picking games with well supported Premier League teams rather than potential thrillers, but this time BT Sport got things right, rounding off the weekend’s action by filling their late slot with cupset kings Newport welcoming Premier League strugglers Brighton.

          And the match more than lived up to the billing, both sides sharing some fantastic chances before Brighton broke through in the last minute, only for the game to be sent to extra time after an Adam Webster own-goal.

          One of the most enjoyable shoot-outs the competition will likely see resulted in a Brighton win after an enormous six saves between the goalkeepers, and it sees Newport’s cup exploits over for 2020/21, but what a journey it has been.

          Since Michael Flynn became Newport manager in 2017, only Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have picked up more FA Cup and League Cup wins than the Exiles 16, an extraordinary achievement for a club in the fourth tier.

          Brighton are the second Premier League team this season that Newport have taken to penalties, with County only narrowly losing to Newcastle in the League Cup back in September after shock wins against Championship sides Swansea and Watford took them all the way to the competition’s last 16.

          Top sides have been nervy of Newport for a long while now, with the Welsh club knocking out Leicester, Leeds and Middlesbrough in the past two seasons since Flynn took over, alongside taking Tottenham to a replay.

          ©Getty / Michael Regan
          For many EFL teams, these kinds of cup successes often distract from, and damage league form, for Newport it’s been quite the opposite.

          The Exiles sit second in the fourth tier, a point behind Carlisle but with a game in hand, and they impressively boast the feat of being the only team in England’s top four tiers to score in every game this season, finding the back of the net in all 20 of their league games.

          It’s been one hell of a journey for Newport since Flynn’s arrival, helping them escape relegation from the football league, to beating the best teams in the country alongside a playoff final, all since his wife told him he would be “mad to take the job.”

          But with Flynn achieving what he set out to do, restoring pride to his local team and then some, Newport have been put firmly on the map for fans not just across Britain but also Europe, and look well placed to continue upsetting the odds for years to come.

          Michael Flynn
          NameMichael John Samuel Flynn
          Born1980-10-17(40 -yrs-old)
          Job RoleManager


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