Newport County v Leicester City

Sunday 6th January 2019   k.o 4:30pm

FA Cup 3rd Round 

 

Report from Mark Vickery at Rodney Parade

 

Newport County 2 (Matt 10, Amond pen 85)

Leicester City 1 (Ghezzal 82)

 

Attendance: 6,705

 

Form:

Newport County        LWdLLWLLdL

Leicester City            WWDLLLWWLW

 

 

For Fuchs sake that’s some win!

 

 

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
Leicester have made seven changes to their side with Jamie Vardy surprisingly left out completely. County need to keep in game and with their starting line-up take their chances.

CONDITIONS
Mild, partly cloudy dry and little breeze. Pitch in good condition despite showing some wear

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Brave, bold, persistent and worked like Trojans to protect the early lead

TURNING POINT
Not one significant but Leicester will look back on missed first half chances as key.

THE MATCH
County were forced into one change with left back Dan Butler suspended but County had a card up their sleeve with loan signing from West Ham Vashon Neufville taking his place. There were another couple of changes from the Stevenage game with Matt Dolan making a welcome return in midfield in place of Tyreeq Bakinson who was on the bench. County also made a positive statement with Antoine Semenyo coming back into the side up front and Mark O’Brien was sacrificed but was substitute. County reverted to 4-3-3 that has served them well in the Rodney Parade cauldron but Leicester made the more accomplished start with some moves right side to test Neufville. On 5 minutes, Okazaki snatched a loose pass by Neufville and drove forward with snappy run and threaded a good pass to Ghezzal in space on the right side of the area. He adjusted well to blast a decent effort which County keeper Joe Day did well parry to safety. County were snappy coming forward with Willmott eager for the ball right midfield and he did well moments later linking with Semenyo only to see his shot from 20 yards well blocked by Morgan. Leicester continued to look dangerous when they swept forward and went close again on 7 minutes from a slick move from deep. Okazaki showed his prowess with an eye for goal with a shot on the turn from 25 yards down the middle which Day held well low down. County made efforts to work the left flank with Semenyo doing well retain possession and link play final third. County created some good patterns but Leicester broke up play well and pick holes with some direct play to test County. On 9 minutes, Evans played a precise long pass from deep inside his own half pinpointing the run of Albrighton and he swept past Forbes cutting a neat pass inside for Ghezzal who struck a first time effort from the edge of the area which Day marshalled well. County stunned Leicester moments later when they switched play well from left to right with Matt at the heart of the move which was initiated by his pass into Willmott run right side. His strong run took him outside left back Fuchs and he cut back a superb cross from the right corner which Matt anticipated well rising about Morgan to head in off the left post from 6 yards. Leicester made efforts to respond immediately turning in from the flanks to deliver some quick crosses into the area to pinpoint Iheanacho but County were alert to the threat getting the ball safe. County continued to use their left side well with some searching passes which Semenyo did well to make stick and Leicester were anxious on times allowing ball to drop deep in the final third. On 17 minutes, Semenyo did well across the face of the Leicester box to pinch the ball off Morgan and Simpson bowled him over to concede a foul. Dolan took the free kick curling a decent effort towards the top left corner which former Liverpool and Welsh international Danny Ward got his hand to and claim at the second attempt. Leicester persisted with some quick direct balls from deep especially down the left side and went close moments later when Fuchs pick pocketed Willmott deep inside his own half. He cut back a vicious cross which Albrighton met with a low first time volley but Demetriou reacted to make a brilliant divert a certain goal. County kept asking questions on the break with Semenyo and Matt linking well and they were rewarded with a couple of long throws and corners left side. On 20 minutes, a corner from left side was taken short catching Leicester napping with Amond caressing a neat pass for Dolan and his low powerful effort from 16 yards was saved by Ward. Leicester kept persisting with direct play often bypassing the midfield and Ghezzal was close again from a free kick in a threatening position right side of the area which fizzed over the bar. The County front three worked hard on and off the ball chasing down some lost causes. On 30 minutes, it nearly paid dividends when Amond made a determined run to retrieve the through pass by Neufville. He cut back a decent cross to the front post which Matt burst a gut to get to ahead of Morgan but his low effort was saved by Ward. County were little tentative on times with their clearances and nearly gifted Leicester a goal on 32 minutes when Forbes was short with his pass. Fuchs gobbled up possession and drove down the left flank before squaring a neat pass for Albrighton to run onto and his swerving effort from 25 yards was held well by Day. On 35 minutes, another neat corner by County on the left side saw County work it low and Willmott struck a venomous low effort from 16 yards which Ward couldn’t hold and Semenyo was unfortunate to be just offside when he followed up to finish. Leicester kept plugging away with Okazaki a nuisance with his supporting runs and his snapshot from another Fuchs cross on 40 minutes was well blocked by Demetriou. Okazaki let out some frustrations on the stroke of half time catching Dolan late with a tackle from behind and he was booked.

Leicester made a surprise early change at half time replacing Okazaki with Maddison as they looked to step up their approach play. County showed no signs of settling for the one goal with some decent moves early in the second half using their right channel very well. On 52 minutes, County worked a half chance when Matt got across Evans well to retrieve the pass from Forbes. His deft cross back into the box was just behind Amond but his enterprising overhead kick from 12 yards flashed just wide of the left post and bar. Leicester continued to probe away with some patient approach using Maddison effectively to link play through the middle. However, they were more threatening on times from direct play when invited. On 54 minutes, Ghezzal overlapped with strong run down the left flank and his cross was met well by Iheanacho from 8 yards with a glancing header saved in the right corner by Day. Albrighton continued to cause problems for County roaming around the pitch and he was close on 55 minutes when he carried his run inside this time from left flank and curled a speculative effort onto the top of the bar from 25 yards. Leicester made another change on the hour with Gray replacing Simpson. Gray went wide left to use his pace and craft with Albrighton switching to the right. The move settled Leicester with dominating possession in the final stages of the game. County were given another warning on 65 minutes when a long ball from Choudhury was misjudged by Demetriou and his untidy header was latched onto Iheanacho but his shot on the turn from 10 yards trickled past the left post. County freshened their pack on 68 minutes with Pipe coming on for Forbes and Leicester continued to press raising the tempo with some slick moves to feet. County were forced deep on times and thankful for a couple of important blocked by Franks and Demetriou from Maddison and Gray busy in and around the area. Leicester made their final change on 72 minutes with Wales international Andy King replacing Matty James and County responded with another chance soon after with Bakinson replacing the hard working Matt. County sat back allowing Leicester plenty of the ball and they kept them at arms-length with some stout defending. On 80 minutes, Albrighton picked out a decent pass right side finding the run of Maddison who ghosted past Demetriou but his low shot from just inside the area went wide of the right post. Leicester kept plugging away using their right side effectively with some crisp moves and got their reward on 82 minutes. Albrighton was again the instigator overlapping to provide a decent deep cross into Iheanacho inside the area who caressed a decent header for Maddison to latch onto. He struck a decent first time volley from 8 yards which Day saved superbly but Franks could only clear to the edge of the area and Ghezzal struck a bullet of a strike into the top left corner giving Day little time to recover. County were unfazed and went immediately on the offensive with Bennett and Bakinson forcing some good moves through the middle. On 85 minutes, County swept forward with a positive move left side with Neufville using his pace well and his sweeping cross was handled by Albrighton inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Amond calmly slotted his penalty home with the keeper going the wrong way. Leicester pushed players on in the final minutes with County having to defend several crosses into the area which they managed to get safe. In the second minute of injury, County had a decent situation on the break with Amond showing great awareness to pick out the run of Semenyo left side. His run took him into a different gear and his low shot from an acute angle was well by blocked by Morgan. County were roared on by the boisterous home support in the final minutes and their hearts sunk in the final minutes when Maddison curled a decent effort from the left side wide of the right post from 25 yards. County held on for a famous victory and milestone to beat a team from top flight for the first time since 1964 when they beat Sheffield Wednesday at Somerton Park in January 1964.

Day (8) –  dealt well with ball in behind and cleared to safety. Kicked well with depth to find Matt and was alert to make several instinctive saves from shots inside area.

Forbes (7) –  got forced back first half and put under pressure but aside from a couple of stray short passes did well. Made himself hard to beat and threaded got tight when he had to.

Neufville (7) – nervous in early stages with some uncertain passes but settled down and did his best to tame runs. Showed capability when he penetrated to supply decent crosses.

Franks (8) –  dealt with Iheanacho and made several forceful headers to clear danger. Made some well timed tackles to avert danger and blocked and went close on set pieces.

Demetriou (9) – brilliant performance, lead side superbly, denied at least three certain goals with blocks and tenaciously tidied up in behind clearing effectively.

Bennett (7) – read game well and knew when to sit back off making a challenge and when to get tight. Kept passing simple and effective ticking over which was key.

Willmott (7) – worked hard on and off the ball and despite not seeing a lot of ball put in superb cross on goal. Effective floating wide but did good work to unsettle in and around area.

Dolan (7) – restricted on set pieces, competed well  and had calmness to direct and control the ball when he got it but did a lot of dirty work closing down and stifling play well today

Matt (9) – had a quiet December but put himself across the defender and worked himself into the ground before being replaced. Took his chance well and might have added to it.

Amond (8) – worked tirelessly, showed intelligent and awareness when he got the ball and took up good positions. Restricted on clear-cut chances but great composure on penalty.

 

 

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths –
they worked most threat from wide positions were quick in transition, especially right side and put in fair quota of shots

Weaknesses –  central defenders were laboured on times allowing ball to drop. They were quite reliant on direct long balls in behind and never really changed tact up top.

Opportunities –  put in several crosses first half and changed tact slightly after the break to get the ball when Maddison came on with slicker interplay final third.
Threats –
Fuchs strong runs left side and set up opportunities, Okazaki shots around box, Albrighton precision with passing and crosses. Maddison pace and link play down middle.

OFFICIALS
C Kavanagh (8) – got key decisions right, encouraged game to flow, allowed a lot of the late challenges and didn’t want to book


MAN OF THE MATCH
Jamille Matt – towering header on goal that will be remembered for years to come. nuisance tonight never giving defenders any respite and only tiredness relieved them

IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

County were set up perfectly for this game and although the front three complimented themselves very well the bedrock of this majestic cup performance came from the brilliant defending of the area. The front three worked themselves into the ground and with Mark Harris having returned recently to Cardiff after his loan expired, County had few options off the bench to flex their tactics. There was little leeway for error but you felt if County stayed in the game they always had a chance of a shock today. When County got the early goal, it settled them and they are a hard side to turnover when they are ahead. County also showed a great response after the set back of conceding late on in being bold enough to get forward when they could have sat back easily for the draw but pushed players on for set pieces and crosses. County made history again tonight and keep ticking off milestones as a new club and will now need to use their finances wisely. They still need to address improvements in the team and will need to build across the team but for the moment they can savour this marvellous result. The biggest problem last season was the distraction the FA Cup had on the league form so important County get back on track at Crewe this Saturday Crewe struggled to deal with set pieces at Rodney Parade and will undoubtedly keep the ball low and shift play quick if invited so key County do not ball watch and stem Kirk runs left side and tame Bowery who will put shot in at will.