OPPONENTS Newport County 
DATE Saturday 27th January 2018
VENUE Rodney Parade
Newport County  SQUAD 1.  Joe DAY
2.  David PIPE
3.  Dan BUTLER
4.  Joss LABADIE
6.  Ben WHITE
7.  Robbie WILLMOTT
8.  Matt DOLAN
9.  Padraig AMOND
10.  Frank NOUBLE
12.  Ben TOZER
13.  Marlon JACKSON
14.  Jazzi BARNUM-BOBB
15.  Shawn McCOULSKEY
17.  Scot BENNETT
18.  Jay FOULSON
19.  Tyler REID
21.  Lewis COLLINS
22.  Emmanuel OSADEBE
24.  Momodou TOURAY
25.  Mark O'BRIEN
27.  Sean RIGG
28.  Mickey DEMETRIOU
30.  James BITTNER
31.  Josh SHEEHAN
34.  Tom HILLMAN
36.  Owen TAYLOR
39.  Paul HAYES
45.  Aaron COLLINS
PREVIEW Having knocked Leeds United out in the last round, Newport County, on their home turf, are no push-overs.  The fact that there is now some turf on the Rodney Parade pitch might help Spurs, as last year's mud-heap would have been the traditional FA Cup leveller, but the surface will still not be what they are used to with rugby still being played on the pitch, as that club own the ground.

It will be a test of Tottenham's pedigree to get through this tie, as I have seen them go away to lower level teams in the past and not roll their sleeves up and get stuck in, because that is what the opposition will do.  They will think that if they get some "reducers" in early in the match, the Spurs players won't fancy it.  We came very close to being undone by Wycombe Wanderers last season, so will need to be approaching the game properly this time to ensure that they go into the hat for the Fifth Round.  They have seen off lower league teams before and need to have the same mind set to come through.

One of Wycombe's players is now among the Newport squad and Paul Hayes will be hoping to replicate his scoring feat of last season, so hopefully Tottenham will be aware of his presence around the box and former Tottenham Hotspur Foundation graduate Emmanuel Osadebe, who played against us in the League Cup for Gillingham, is at Newport on loan.  Of the rest of the squad, there is little top flight experience, with Ben Tozer appearing for Newcastle United twice and Frank Nouble with 13 games for West Ham.  Nouble is one of the main scorers, with former Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Joss Labadie and Irishman Padraig Amond, with the man who scored the winner over Leeds - Bristol City loanee Shawn McCoulsky - leading the way with 11 goals. 

The County back four of David Pipe, Mickey Demetriou, Mark O'Brien and Dan Butler are solid defenders, with Ben White likely to come back in at centre-half, while the midfield will work hard in front of them to close down space and the Spurs players on the ball to try and get them to turn over possession.  The tempo and the movement off the ball will be important to Spurs to overcome this pressing.

Joe Day could be in for a busy day, with Tottenham surely aiming to test him at every opportunity with quickly taken shots, with former caretaker manager James Bittner the reserve keeper.  Also among the Newport County squad are Michael Flynn (the manager is still registered as a player, but I don't think he will feature on Saturday), a young professional called Lewis Collins and the marvellously named Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, who was born in Enfield, so might be hoping to put one over his local side if he gets anywhere near the match-day squad.

They are on a run of seven league games unbeaten and they are a big physical side, who are good at set-pieces.  Mike Flynn will have them psyched up to get into Tottenham, being organised at the back and not giving away chances easily, but the stamina issue might kick in later in the game, with Spurs aiming to make them chase the ball by passing it around the home players, rather than trying to go through them.  Ever keen to get among the goals, Pochettino might start with Harry Kane and might even play Llorente up top too, although it didn't work too well against Wimbledon.

The team proved against Wimbledon that they have the right approach to these games, but they must make sure they have the winning mentality from the start of the game. 

PREDICTION Newport County    1        Tottenham Hotspur    3
Midfielder Joss Labadie and Matt Dolan are likely to return, as could Brighton loanee Ben White, but The Exiles will be without Sean Rigg (hip) and  Tom Owen-Evans (dead leg) will miss the Spurs cup-tie. 
Harry Winks (ankle),  Danny Rose (ankle), Serge Aurier (calf), Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and  Erik Lamela (gluteus maximus) are likely to all miss the game.  Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris (flu) are doubtful.

BT Sport - (live coverage)
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Newport County  1 (1)  

FA Cup Fourth Round
Saturday 27th January 2018
Rodney Parade
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Kick off 17:30
Amond 37m 23s Kane  81m 50s
Labadie (foul on Kane)  32 

Foyth  (Foul on White)  88


Crowd :   9,836 Weather :  Cold, windy
Referee : Roger East (Wiltshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. G. Beswick; Mr. H. Lennard
Fourth Official :  Oliver Langford  
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Sytner end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Newport County : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Joe DAY

  2  David PIPE
  6  Ben WHITE
  3  Dan BUTLER

12  Ben TOZER
17  Scot BENNETT

  7  Robbie WILLMOTT
  Josh LABADIE  (c)       (  8  Matt DOLAN  84)
  Frank NOUBLE

  9  Padraig AMOND    (15  Shawn McCOULSKY  74)

Unused subs: 
31  Josh SHEEHAN
25  Mark O'BRIEN
19  Tyler REID
39  Paul HAYES

  13  Michel VORM

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
1  Juan FOYTH     
  Kyle WALKER-PETERS  (  7  Heung-Min SON  46)

15  Eric DIER
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (33  Ben DAVIES  81)

12  Victor WANYAMA
7  Moussa SISSOKO

10  Harry KANE 
18  Fernando LLORENTE (20  DELE Alli  66)

Unused subs: 
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
42  Anthony GEORGIOU


Manager :  Mike Flynn Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Mr. Tom Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  FBT Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

An organised and muscular display by Newport County took them to within 12 minutes of a famous giant-killing over Spurs, but their first half lead from a Padraig Amond header was heart-breakingly cancelled out by Harry Kane's late equaliser and the two sides will have to do it all over again at Wembley.  As the results came in before Tottenham's kick off, some lower league victories came in, most notably Wigan Athletic's win over West Ham United London, so the reminder was there to put in the effort to make sure it didn't happen to us. 

Unfortunately, in the first half, that is just what Tottenham didn't do.  Moaning about the physical approach that Newport employed to get the ball off our players and not looking at home on a gluepot of a pitch still clearly bearing the rugby markings from the previous match at Rodney Parade.  The old ground has had a few improvements since we last played there, but the temporary stand made the attendance greater than it would have been and added a bit more atmosphere, which was pretty hyped up by the time the game kicked off.  Spurs did so, with Kane and Llorente in tandem up front, a selection that wasn't hugely successful against AFC Wimbledon and with a number of players missing or rested, Kyle Walker-Peters came in at left back, Wanyama paired up with Dier in front of the back four, with Mousa Dembele in midfield with Sissoko for company.  

The start of the match showed that Spurs were clearly not up for it.  Josh Labadie, more noted for two biting bans he had received playing in non-league than he footballing achievements, ran the first half and by that I mean ran it.  Covering from box to box and getting in amongst the Tottenham players, who were too slow on the ball, created an early chance for Nouble that he made a real mess of.  The pitch looked heavy after the heavy rain and after three minutes, the pressing by County on Eric Dier by Labadie saw him win the ball and pull it back across the box, but Nouble skied his effort from 15 yards out with nobody but Vorm in front of him. The attacking style at the start saw them throwing the ball into the box, but Labadie again took the ball of a Spurs player – this time Wanyama – to strike through the ball from 30 yards, but it was straight at Vorm, who took the ball head high.

A long throw from Tozer caused problems with Demetriou flicking it on and Bennett hooking the ball wide of the far post. Tottenham’s first shot came in the 12th minute when Llorente set Kane up to shoot way over the bar following good build-up including Sissoko.  The Newport fans were cheering every tackle and header they won and booing Harry Kane whenever he touched it. The pitch and the wind were not making things easy and Spurs were being forced into mistakes.  A free kick from close to the dead ball on their left was whipped into the near post and while no amber shirt got near it, Moussa Sissoko did get the lightest header on it and the ball was uncomfortably grabbed near his shoulder by Michel Vorm. Every time the ball went out, Tozer got a towel from a ball-boy and it took an eternity to throw the ball in. Tottenham’s movement off the ball wasn’t great, so there were few options when we were moving forward with the ball.

Just after the half hour, SIssoko pulled a pass from Llorente back into the box and Kane got there first, striking his shot against the post. The keeper didn’t touch it, but the ref gave a corner. Nothing was created from it, but in the second phase, Kane was fouled by Labadie in the 33rd minute and he was booked. Harry took the free-kick but hit it a couple of feet over the top from 25 yards out.

Over the first half, Newport were nominally the better side attacking wise, as Spurs failed to string much together. And the effort they put came to fruition when another long throw was weakly headed out by Vertonghen and Willmott crossed it back in to the far post and Amond rose above Trippier to head the ball inside Vorm’s right hand post to give them the lead five minutes before the break. Spurs hadn’t looked solid and were too loose and not pressing hard enough, so it wasn’t a surprise when it happened.

It could have been two, as Newport had another opening when Willmott's run down the right ended with a poorly cleared cross and Amond hit a volley back at goal from a tight angle on their right and Vorm had to get down to his near post to block the ball low down.  The half-time break brought hope that we couldn't play as badly in the second half as we had in the first.  However, with Newport a goal up and the wind at their backs, it would be a tough task to get two goals to go through.  It was something we were capable of doing, but the home side would have had something to say about it.

In the first minute of the second half, substitute Heung-Min Son, on for Walker-Peters, linked with Vertonghen on the left and Jan put a good cross into the box, but nobody had read it. Son got on the end of a move started by Foyth stepping out with the ball, but Kane’s pass to the winger was slightly behind him and the chance went begging. Jan linked with Son for another overlap, but the cross was too high for Fernando in the box. When Tozer threw long into the box, it was won unchallenged at the near post. Luckily, the flick on was defended well by Tottenham, but the pressure was putting Spurs players in the mind that they had to play the ball off first time and this led to them losing the ball too often.

A shirt pull by Labadie on Dembele gave Tottenham a right wing free kick and Trippier’s ball in cleared, but his second ball was nodded over by Kane, but a free-kick was given for a foul by Harry. He had another shot shortly after, when Jan picked off a pass and Sissoko set Kane up, but the shot was blocked and came off him for a goal kick. 
Spurs had not been hurting Newport although they had been passing the ball better in the second half, as the final touch or pass was not good enough. Wanyama and Sissoko played the ball nicely and Harry got the ball around the penalty box, but he was crowded out, as Newport players were getting close around him.

Dele came on for Llorente, to try and make things happen. Immediately, Kane and Dele set up Son for a right foot shot from Son on the left, but his shot was low and the keeper got the ball over the bar. The passing was starting to open the Newport defence up, with Kane striking a shot on the turn that was deflected wide.  Tottenham’s build-up was too tentative and when they did find space, sub Davies’ cross was punched out and it came to Kane, whose volley was blocked for a corner. From it, Son flicked the ball on with his heel at the near post and it went to the far post, where Harry Kane was unmarked to side-foot home from a yard out to level the scores. Pochettino’s tactical change when Davies came on for Dembele paid off with Dier pushing into midfield and Jan moving into the middle of the back four.

A late long throw by Demetriou was left by Foyth and Vorm cleaned out Vertonghen as he put it off for a corner, but he was a little more assured with the catch from that, although it dipped on him and he had to go low to take it cleanly. When McCoulsky lost the ball halfway inside the Spurs half, Trippier moved it quickly up to Kane, who lobbed it over a defender and shot off a defender for a corner. Kane swung in a cross but he just failed to get it onto Dele’s head and the referee gave a goal-kick, which gave Newport some time to kill, as added time was running out.

With Kane’s goal, the game swung Tottenham’s way, although they couldn’t force a winner and the game goes to Wembley, but at least we are still in the competition. It was a first half performance that lacked all the things that have made Spurs successful and the partnership with Llorente failed to click once more.  Wanyama and Sissoko didn't have the greatest of games, when we needed to match Newport in midfield, while Dembele was getting frustrated by not being able to get away from the amber shirted opponents.  Kane hadn't done a lot, as he was being very tightly marked, but he showed that he only needs one opportunity to hit the back of the net.  He had others, but the defence was blocking everything that was heading towards goal. 

Apart from a couple of mis-placed passes, Foyth looked in control, Jan settled down in the second half and Trippier and Davies were more prominent in the second half, as Newport dropped back towards their own goal.  Vorm did OK, with not a great deal to do, but his handling was sound, but he needed to boss his defence a bit more to reduce uncertainty.  Eric Dier had a difficult afternoon, but once Poch has reshuffled the side, his forward runs from midfield were more effective, while Kyle Walker-Peters struggle don the left, with no support to get forward. 

So, it's all back to Wembley and it will be a dream for Newport, but perhaps Spurs might feel a bit more at ease in familiar surroundings, it's just that the fixture will probably have to be fitted in between the Arsenal and Liverpool matches, which is less than ideal.  butt hat is the price of success (hopefully).

Gary Sampson




Newport County are not the county team of Gwent, the honour of which falls to nearby Rogerstone.  Ironically, Roger Stone was a goalkeeper for the Exiles in the 1930s.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Yeovil Town 0 Manchester United 4 Friday
Sheffield Wednesday 3 Reading 1 Friday
Middlesbrough 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Saturday
Millwall 2 Rochdale 2 Saturday
Huddersfield Town 1 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
Peterborough United 1 Leicester City 5 Saturday
MK Dons 0 Coventry City 1 Saturday
Southampton 1 Watford 0 Saturday
Sheffield United 1 Preston North End 0 Saturday
Notts County 1 Swansea City 1 Saturday
Hull City 2 Nottingham Forest 1 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 2 West Ham United London 0 Saturday
Liverpool 2 West Bromwich Albion 3 Saturday
Chelsea 3 Newcastle United 0 Sunday
Cardiff City 0 Manchester City 2 Sunday


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.


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