Goals: Labadie (2′, 82′)
Captain, Joss Labadie, netted a brace against League Two rivals, Cambridge United as Newport County head into the third round of the FA Cup for the second time in three years.
The hosts, Newport County, defeated League One side, Walsall 2-1, to reach this stage of the competition. Goals from Frank Nouble and Shawn McCoulsky helped the Exiles see off the Saddlers.
The visitors, Cambridge United narrowly defeated last season’s overachievers, Sutton United 1-0 at home. Their only goal came from Jabo Ibehre which was enough to see them reach the second round of the FA Cup.
The first chance of the afternoon at Rodney Parade fell in the favour of the hosts. The Exiles made certain to take full advantage of their early opportunity as a curled free-kick from Matty Dolan found the feet of the skipper, Joss Labadie. The captain tucked home the opening goal neatly at the near post beyond Cambridge ‘keeper, David Forde.
Since the opener, the next clear-cut chance of the game didn’t arrive until the 26th minute. A corner from County was headed away by Leon Legge which fell in the path of, Ben Tozer. The ball seemed to bounce kindly for the midfielder but his half-volley effort from the edge of the area almost went out for a throw-in.
After an exciting start to this FA Cup encounter, the match seemed to lack any chances for either side right up until Mickey Demetriou almost doubled the lead in the 45th minute. When a corner from County wasn’t dealt with by the Cambridge defence, Demetriou rifled a shot from 6 yards but a superb block from Legge prevented the hosts from going 2-0 up.
In the 55th minute, the visitors almost found an equaliser. Cambridge winger, Harrison Dunk, cut a cross back which found Uche Ikpeazu. Ikpeazu’s shot wasn’t a clean one and Ben White somehow managed to clear the certain equaliser off the line which kept the hosts in the lead.
There was a slight scare for the Newport fans in the 65th minute when Joe Day slipped when he was under pressure from Ikpeazu. However, the County number one managed to get back to his feet in time before Ikpeazu could pounce on the loose ball.
Only two minutes later, Frank Nouble almost wrapped up the game when he came close to scoring.
Dolan regained possession for the Exiles and passed out wide to Nouble, he made a darting run and it was easy to see that he was looking to score himself. He let loose a powerful strike from an acute angle but it was kept out by the strong hands of Forde.
The Exiles deservedly had their second goal of the afternoon in the 82nd minute through Joss Labadie. The goal came from an excellent counter-attack created by Padraig Amond.
The Irishman passed out wide to Frank Nouble and the big man’s pace and strength were too much for the Cambridge defence to deal with. Nouble saw the run of Labadie in the middle and it was a fantastic finish from the captain yet again as he netted his second of the afternoon that surely wrapped up the victory.
County’s second goal proved to be the last chance of the afternoon and it was enough to see them through to the third round of the FA Cup. The Newport fans can now look forward to a third round draw without having to worry about playing a team to get there, unlike last season when Plymouth Argyle were rewarded with the trip to Anfield instead of the Exiles.