Newport County v Manchester City

Saturday 16th February 2019   k.o 5:30pm

FA Cup 5th Round

 

Report from Mark Vickery at Rodney Parade

 

Newport County 1 (Amond 88)

Manchester City 4  Sane 51, Foden 75, 89, Mahrez 90+4)

 

Attendance: 9,680

 

Form:

Newport County        LWLWDdLWWL

Manchester City        WWWWWWLWWW

 

 

Incessant City put end to magical cup run

 

 

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
City squad is worth around 600 million and they start with roughly two thirds of that value on the pitch so big task for County but key they keep in the game regardless of the score

CONDITIONS
Mild, cloudy and light breeze. Pitch looked firmer but a little slippery and erratic in parts.

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Brave, determined, despite creating few chances made a real fist of the game not allowing City to relax until they got the opening goal.

TURNING POINT
Bakinson denied early in the game was not pivotal but once City had the lead always difficult for County to chase game.

THE MATCH
County made two changes from the MK Dons match with Mark O’Brien replacing Fraser Franks and Josh Labadie replacing Ben Kennedy who was cup tied. County swung in a couple of early hopeful crosses to test the City defence but keeper Ederson was alert allowing them attack boldly from deep. This set precedent for the first half with the Premiership side looking to break quickly when County moves broke down. City were patient in their approach working the ball out of defence with Otamendi and Stones comfortable in possession. City created some good moves right side with David Silva and he created a good situation on 8 minutes when slipped a low pass for Mahrez right side of the area but his shot from an acute angle was beaten away by Day. County were struggling to maintain possession in the early stages with Matt and Amond closely marked and it allowed City to turn over the play quickly with Foden and Silva eager on the ball. On 12 minutes, City broke through the middle with Fernandinho snapping into a tackle with Bakinson and his struck an opportunist effort from 25 yards which went wide of the left post. County responded with some neat exchanges right side to work left back Zinchenko and gain some territory up the pitch. On 15 minutes, Demetriou delivered a long throw on the right side which was glanced on well by Matt and Bakinson stole with a header inside the six yard box but Ederson made a good save in the left corner. City kept stifling any cohesion quickly not allowing County to sustain any pressure with Otamendi making some good supporting runs from deep left side. On 18 minutes, another patient move by City saw Fernandinho again pivotal coordinating a move down the middle and he struck a shot well over from 25 yards. County responded with a decent move left side releasing Butler and he set up a clever pass inside for Labadie on the left corner who struck a powerful effort just past the left corner. City continued to pick holes well on the break with Silva and Mahrez menacing right side. On 25 minutes, Mahrez was picked out well by Silva but Butler recovered well to force him towards the byline and he dragged his effort wide of the left post. County had to be vigilant when they lost possession cheaply with City menacing coming forward and another opportunity came from quick transition with Silva releasing Sane left side on 35 minutes. He struck a decent effort from an acute angle which was deflected by Poole and clipped onto the top of the bar. County were more effective when they were direct and decisive and a quick pass from deep by Labadie released Amond on the left side of the area. His run took him past Stones but his effort from a wide angle went wide of the left post. City maintained their grip on the game as half time approached and they tried to coax County forward playing the ball from very deep with keeper Ederson comfortable with the ball at his feet but somewhat ambitious with his passing on the surface. On the stroke of half time, City gained a corner right side from another sweeping move on the counter working the ball from inside their own area. The corner was worked short and the cross to the back post by Zinchenko flashed deep with Foden reading it well but the header went well wide of the left post.

County started the second half brightly showing more intent in the final third and Poole did well on 50 minutes skipping past a challenge by Zinchenko and his cross into the area was picked up by Matt who saw his shot from 10 yards blocked by Otamendi. City remained a threat coming out from the back and it paid dividends on 51 minutes when they swept forward catching County out with slick move left side. Jesus orchestrated the move slipping a low pass in behind just inside the left side of the area and Sane blasted a shot which struck Day in the face and crept into the right corner. City were boosted by the goal relaxing to play some slick football with County could only manage and force them into wide areas.  On 55 minutes, right back Danilo ghosted forward to support a move right side running outside Foden and he showed good vision to slip in a pass but the effort from a tight angle hit the outside of the right post. County made efforts to close down harder in the final third pressing the keeper and defenders playing out from deep. It nearly paid off 58 minutes when Ederson got caught in two minds with ball at his feet and Amond snatched possession but he was unable to release a quick pass to punish and Stones cleared. Danilo kept supporting some slick city play right side with some decisive runs final third. On 60 minutes, Jesus was alert to seize the ball and play a clever pass in behind for Danilo and despite being forced wide his low shot in the right corner forced Day into making a good save low down. County made an early change soon after replacing Bakinson with Sheehan. County went increasingly direct giving City something to think about and Matt made a couple of promising runs off the shoulder of the last man but was denied advancing by some good recovering tackles. County made another change on 68 minutes with Labadie replaced by Dolan. County had a better spell midway through the half with better control and precision with their passing through the middle. On 73 minutes, City were given a warning when Willmott whipped in a decent free kick from the right side of the area which Demetriou glanced on front post and O’Brien read the situation but his header from 8 yards went straight at the keeper. With County forcing the issue more, they were caught out ruthlessly on 75 minutes when Foden was released right side. Butler managed to run well but he was allowed check inside and blasted a powerful effort from 16 yards which Day got his hand to but it dropped into the right corner. City made a couple of defensive changes soon after with Laporte replacing Fernandinho and Silva for central midfielder Gundogan. County bravely kept plugging away with City remaining a threat on the break with the pace they offered. County then made their final change with Franks replacing Bennett and they upped their efforts in the final stages. County got their reward on 88 minutes and it came from a long searching ball down the middle. Poole directed the pass which appeared to deceive Laporte and Amond made an intelligent run in behind to lob over the advancing Ederson and into the empty net from 18 yards. The ground erupted with the goal with County charged up and pushing men forward from the kick off. County had the momentum for a very short time and were crudely punished moments later when Butler went on a bold run in the middle but was tackled by Gundogan. Sane was released left side and his slick pass picked out the run of Foden who blasted into the roof of the net on the right side of the area. City added a somewhat flattering fourth goal in injury time with Stones playing a precise direct ball from just inside his own half to pick out a run inside by Mahrez. He adjusted well before drilling a low powerful shot into the left corner from 12 yards beyond the grasp of Day. County were given a great applause by the crowd after an excellent cup run that has put them in spotlight and rewarded their finances.

Day (5) – kicked well under pressure and was never troubled on crosses but well beaten on the goals and possibly should have done better on third.

Poole (7) –  won his tackles and headers, was dynamic coming forward and made intelligent use of the ball. Kept Sane quiet and restricted threat for most of the game.  

Butler (6) –  forced back for large parts by Silva and Mahrez and did not have much chance to assist with any crosses. Worked hard to stifle and defended best forcing to byline.

O’Brien (6) –  dealt with all the aerial duals well and got a foot in to make some good interventions. Got pulled about second half when more exposed.

Demetriou (6) – never troubled by the high the ball and made some good interceptions to recover and track danger in behind. Provided several decent long throws.

Bennett (6) – sat largely deep and protected the middle and generally passed well. Made few errors and only a matter of time before he gets a set piece goal

Willmott (6) – had to his fair share of defending and had less of the ball today to face off at the full back Zinchenko. Provided some better crosses and quality on crosses late on.

Bakinson (6) – was athletic and bright with ball and had his early chance gone things may have been different. Needs to show better care with ball and be sharper using it.

Labadie (7) – firefighting for large spells, got tight and competed well allowing little space through the middle and his influence was missed after he went off.

Matt (6) – struggled to keep ball with back to goal and got ball prised away too easily. Won fair quota of headers, did better second half carrying runs forward or in behind last man.

Amond (7) – took up clever positions in space using intelligence but was often isolated. Dropped deep in spells but another side to game scoring off direct ball running in behind.

 

 

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths –
they gave little respite moving the ball quickly to feet and were quick in transition from defence to attack. Defenders pressed up high and contributed to passing.

Weaknesses –  both full backs pushed on and more precise passing would have yielded more chances leaving spaced in behind. Were most vulnerable on crosses and aerial duals   

Opportunities –  they showed nerve to pass on a difficult surface but were quite patient. Went a little more direct through the middle second half which paid off
Threats –
Foden was direct and had an eye for a shot. Sane was busy left side clever linking and Mahrez stretched play with pace right side. A lot of the best moves went through Silva

OFFICIALS
A Marriner (7) – kept game ticking over and ignored most of the shoving and off the ball stuff. Got the key decisions right


MAN OF THE MATCH
Phil Foden – menace throughout with his speed of thought, shooting and pace to carry ball on difficult surface. Made things happen final third with his movement alone.

IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

As anticipated, County were forced deep for large spells and never really got to exert their own game and deploy their strengths. City were relentless always wanting to get on with the game and County couldn’t really get a foothold in the game despite being well in it for an hour. To their credit, County defended resolutely and made attempts to pass and move their illustrious opponents about the pitch but their more likely threat came largely from direct play and it was perhaps a surprise County did not opt more for the long ball. After Labadie and Bakinson went off, City were more able to switch play through the middle and retain possession so it was always a case of firefighting after the second goal. County have been bold getting to this stage of the FA Cup but they could not get enough territorial possession today and had fewer free kicks needed to unsettle City. County can take learning into the league campaign as they have the physical attributes over most sides but it will be their sharpness in transition and quality with the ball that pulls them back up the league. Next up is Notts County away this Tuesday and County need to start improving their away form. The hosts are still in deep relegation trouble despite two wins on the bounce and will be pressing hard for another result. County need to stem their threat final third with Boldewijn key with pace right side and able with crosses into Hemmings and Stead both having aerial prowess and Mackail-Smith guile in and around the box. Notts best form of defence may be attack having conceded more goals than any other league two side.