Pep Guardiola will take his Manchester City side to Newport County’s Rodney Parade in the FA Cup fifth round after the Exiles produced a magnificent performance to beat Middlesborough 2-0 in last night’s fourth-round replay.
Robbie Wilmott and Padraig Amond were the goalscoring heroes for the League Two side who dominated their championship visitors from start to finish.
It is only the second time in the clubs history that they have gone so far in the competition with the victory coming exactly seventy-years since they last achieved the feat with a win over Huddersfield Town.
The latest shock result in South Wales comes after Michael Flynn’s men beat Premier league Leicester City in the third round. The cup run could be transformative for a club that folded in 1989 and was ninety seconds from being relegated out of the football league in 2017. The Exiles could earn more than £1 million from their cup exploits this season.
There was more drama at the end of the match as Newport goalkeeper Joe Day sprinted off the field at the final whistle to rush and join his wife who had gone into labour.
The Club shared the news this morning that Day’s wife Lizzie gave birth to twin girls last night with mother and daughters all well and healthy. Day missed the game at the Riverside when Newport forced a replay with a stoppage-time equaliser because his wife was expecting the birth of the twins.
Manchester City will surely find it a massive culture shock playing in the tight confines of Rodney Parade in front of what is sure to be a loud and raucous crowd on a pitch that will be more difficult than they are accustomed. Delighted Newport boss Michael Flynn was already relishing the challenge of facing the reigning Premier League Champions. He told Sky Sports: “We have had Mauricio Pochettino, Claude Puel, Thomas Christiansen, they are all fantastic managers, but this is the crème de la crème.”
“He [Pep] is a master, somebody that I just idolise and probably the best in the business, along with Jurgen Klopp, because I am a Liverpool fan.
“I’ve been very nervous about this, not because of the game because I knew what it meant for the whole football club, the whole city. These supporters deserve everything because these supporters have been through the mill. It’s a club that I love. What this means to this football club is absolutely huge.”
Padraig Amond, who has now scored in every round of the competition best summed up the euphoria around the occasion, tweeting “What a night! Bring on Man City.”
I though the feeling after Leicester was good but this tops the lot. Unbelievable performance from every player last night. What a night! Bring on Man City https://t.co/zP9bWEutcO
— Padraig Amond (@padraigamond21) February 6, 2019
The Exiles fans shared his enthusiasm singing “Manchester City, we’re coming for you,” as the final whistle approached.
What a night for Newport County. They won’t care that Pullis made five changes from the team that beat West Brom on Saturday and in the process sticking up two fingers to the competition.
Newport fans will remember this night for the rest of their lives. Football is about glory, not just Premier League millions and Newport deserve their time in the limelight.
What is crucial for the club is the money it will earn from the FA Cup. If spent wisely, this windfall could move the club on a level and secure its immediate future.
It proves once again that however much apathy there is in the Championship and Premier League towards the world’s oldest club competition it remains massively important to clubs outside the games top two divisions.