Newport County 2-1 Leeds: Shawn McCoulsky dumps Championship giants out of the FA Cup
By Oliver Young-Myles
Last Updated: 07/01/18 5:18pm
A last-minute goal from Shawn McCoulsky handed Newport County a memorable 2-1 victory over Leeds United at Rodney Parade to send them into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Leeds took the lead through Gaetano Berardi's maiden goal for the club in the first half before Connor Shaughnessy's own goal fifteen minutes from time levelled the score.
In the 89th minute, on-loan Bristol City striker McCoulsky rose highest to head home the winner before Samu Saiz was then sent off for Leeds amid allegations of spitting.
Newport, who are currently 11th in League Two, will now be hoping to face a Premier League side in the fourth round when the draw is made on Monday, while Leeds will now have to focus solely on the Championship.
Newport: Day (6), Pipe (6), White (7), Bennett (7), Demetriou (6), Butler (7), Labadie (6), Willmott (8), Dolan (7), Nouble (7), Amond (6)
Subs: McCoulsky (7), Hayes (N/A), O'Brien (N/A)
Leeds: Lonergan (6), Anita (6), Berardi (7), Shaughnessy (5), Borthwick-Jackson (6), Klich (6), Phillips (6), Cibicki (5), Sacko (6), Lasogga (6), Grot (4)
Subs: Saiz (4), Cooper (5)
Man of the match: Robbie Willmott
Leeds were knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Sutton United last season and they looked keen to avoid a repeat performance as Berardi handed them lead after nine minutes, with a long-range strike that swerved and deceived Joe Day in goal. Berardi was booked for his over-zealous celebrations after scoring his first-ever career goal.
Newport, thrashed 5-1 by Leeds in the Carabao Cup meeting between the two clubs in August, responded well to going behind with Joss Labadie forcing Berardi into a goal-line clearance shortly after they had gone behind.
The hosts continued to carry the greater attacking threat after the restart and deservedly drew level late on as Shaughnessy volleyed beyond Andy Lonergan in goal after former England youth international Franck Nouble had flashed a dangerous cross into the six-yard-box.
Gaetano Berardi and Kalvin Phillips were the only players to retain their places from the 0-0 draw against Nottingham Forest as Thomas Christiansen made nine changes.Newport named an unchanged team from their 2-1 victory over Exeter on New Year's Day.
Clearly affected by that moment, Shaughnessy nearly made a second costly mistake straight after as he sliced a cross up into the air towards Nouble at the back post and the winger perhaps should have scored as he headed over the bar from close range.
Eventually, Newport's pressure paid off in the final minute of the game as Robbie Willmott floated an inch-perfect corner into the box for McCoulsky to attack and the Bristol City loanee converted the opportunity clinically with his head, sparking jubilant scenes inside Rodney Parade.
The drama didn't end there, though, as just moments after the goal, Saiz was shown a red card by Mike Dean after Willmott intimated that he had been spat on by the Spanish playmaker who in turn claimed that he had been elbowed.
That incident delayed proceedings for a few minutes but when the final whistle did eventually sound, the home fans took the opportunity to celebrate their team reaching the fourth round by invading the pitch.
After finding out their opponents for the FA Cup fourth round, Newport will switch their attention back to League Two and their game away to Grimsby next Saturday. Leeds, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from this disappointment when they face Ipswich Town at Portman Road, also on Saturday.