Newport 2-1 Leicester: Padraig Amond penalty clinches FA Cup upset for County
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 07/01/19 6:11am
Padraig Amond's 85th-minute penalty secured a 2-1 win for League Two Newport County against Leicester in a classic FA Cup third-round tie at Rodney Parade.
Jamille Matt headed County into an early lead (10), but Claude Puel's side equalised with eight minutes remaining with a rifled shot from Rachid Ghezzal that beat Joe Day.
But after Marc Albrighton handled Vashon Neufville's cross inside the box, Amond stepped up to clinch the victory as Newport knocked out a top-flight side for the first time since January 1964.
Newport: Day (7), Forbes (7), Franks (9), Bennett (8), Demetriou (8), Willmott (8), Neufville (7), Dolan (8), Matt (8), Amond (7), Semenyo (8).
Subs: Pipe (6), Bakinson (6), O'Brien (n/a)
Leicester: Ward (6), Simpson (5), Morgan (5), Evans (5), Fuchs (5), Albrighton (6), Choudhury (6), James (5), Ghezzal (7), Okazaki (4), Iheanacho (5).
Subs: Gray (5), Maddison (6), King (5).
Man of the match: Fraser Franks.
Leicester were lacklustre in the first half but were unfortunate not to take the lead when winger Ghezzal forced Day into a fine save around the post.
The hosts rekindled memories of beating Leeds and holding Tottenham at home last season, breaking the deadlock with their first attack. Robbie Willmott beat Christian Fuchs down the right and produced a pinpoint cross for Matt to rise above Wes Morgan and glance his header in off the post.
Newport came close to doubling their lead 10 minutes later as a rehearsed corner involving Willmott led to Matt Dolan forcing Danny Ward to save with his legs as the ball was worked back to the edge of the area.
Mike Flynn made three changes to the side that were beaten 1-0 at Stevenage. Mark O'Brien dropped to the bench along with Tyreeq Bakinson. With Dan Butler suspended, Neufville started in his place as Matt Dolan and Antoine Semenyo returned.
Puel made seven changes but still selected a strong side. Kelechi Iheanacho and Shinji Okazaki started up front while Danny Ward replaced Kasper Schmeichel in goal. Wes Morgan returned in defence while Marc Albrighton and Matty James featured in midfield.
Shinji Okazaki had already gone close with a shot that was cleared off the line by the masked Mickey Demetriou before the Japan forward was withdrawn at the interval. But it was not until the 54th minute before they threatened again as Albrighton cut in from the left and hit the bar from 25 yards with Day beaten.
Kelechi Iheanacho wasted a good opportunity when he dragged wide after a rare mistake from Demetriou before substitute James Maddison's shot was blocked by the excellent Fraser Franks.
Just when it appeared Newport had weathered the storm, Leicester levelled when Day, seconds after a superb save from Maddison, was powerless to prevent Ghezzal's venomous shot from the edge of the area finding the net.
But Newport were not ready to settle for a replay, and Mike Flynn's side immediately earned a penalty as Albrighton inexplicably lifted his arm to block Neufville's cross.
Amond kept his cool to slot his 16th goal of the season past Ward to seal a memorable victory as Newport bridged a gap of 74 places in the biggest shock of this year's third round.
Man of the match - Fraser Franks
To a man, Newport were magnificent, but their efforts were epitomised by their captain Fraser Franks.
The defender was courageous throughout to win his battle with Iheanacho and set the tone for a deserved win for the League Two side.
It took something special to breach the hosts, but Leicester struggled to create clear-cut chances largely due to Franks' organisation of a back three that refused to be beaten. No team will want to be paired with them in Monday's draw.
- Newport's 2-1 victory against Leicester was their first FA Cup win against a side from the top tier of English Football since beating Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of the 1963/64 edition, ending a run of seven matches against such opponents without a win (D3 L4).
- Leicester have been eliminated from the FA Cup by a side in the fourth tier of English Football or lower for the first time since non-league Harlow Town knocked out the Foxes in a third-round replay during the 1979/80 season.
- Leicester have lost back to back games in all competitions against fourth tier opposition (vs Shrewsbury Town and Newport County) - as many defeats as in their previous 34 matches against such opponents (W31 D1 L2).
- This is the first time two top-flight sides have been knocked out of the FA Cup by teams from the fourth tier or below on the same day since January 7th 1989, when Middlesbrough were beaten by Grimsby (4th tier) and Coventry by Sutton United (non-league).
- Newport have scored 16 headed goals in all competitions so far this season - of sides currently in the top four tiers of English Football, only Aston Villa have scored more headed goals in all comps in 2018-19 (19)
Newport travel to face Crewe in League Two on Saturday, while on the same day Leicester host Southampton in the Premier League.