The FA Cup third round certainly hasn’t disappointed this weekend and that was no different in South Wales when Brighton travelled to Newport.

The League Two side are no strangers to cup upsets, having beaten the likes of Leicester and Leeds in recent season and taking Newcastle to penalties in the Carabao Cup in September. 

Graham Potter named a strong Albion team for this tie at Rodney Parade featuring the likes of Yves Bissouma, Lewis Dunk and Neal Maupay with further options on the bench if required.

Despite that, it was Newport who had the best chance early on as Lewis Dunk made a mess of an attempted clearance but Padraig Amond aimed just wide of the far post from an angle.

The Seagulls created a series of opportunities throughout the first half, especially from set pieces, but as has been their story for most of this season, failed to convert. 

That was down to some wasteful finishing but also helped by some fine goalkeeping from Tom King who made several strong saves, with one particular stop catching the eye to keep out an Andi Zaqiri bicycle kick attempt from close range.

FA Cup, Brighton, Newport

But again Newport went close through Amond just before half time as goalkeeper Jason Steele got caught unable to use his hands on the edge of the box but Lewis Dunk raced back just in time to clear the looped effort off the line. 

The hosts certainly would have been the happier of the two sides at the break and with the scoreline remaining goalless, Newport were still well in the game. 

Brighton continued to push for the opener in the second half and went very close on several occasions. 

Both Propper and Maupay had well struck efforts fly inches wide of the right hand post and Lewis Dunk had a header destined to find the top corner clawed out in spectacular fashion by Tom King. 

South African international Percy Tau, who had been on loan at Anderlecht for the start of this season, came on after 70 minutes and added a bit of enthusiasm to the Brighton display, but just like his teammates, he couldn’t seem to find any end product. 

Finally, on the 90th minute, the deadlock was broken as Solly March hit a well struck effort into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box, well out of the reach of Tom King. 

FA Cup, Brighton, Newport

Brighton looked certain to have won the tie late on but disaster struck for Jason Steele deep into stoppage time as he failed to claim a hopeful ball across goal and Adam Webster couldn’t react in time to prevent the ball coming off him and into the back of the net. 

So with the score somehow level after normal time, the two sides went into extra time still not knowing who would come out on top.

Brighton dominated for large parts of extra time and Lewis Dunk had another decent shot on goal, this time from range, but fired into the side netting from 25 yards. 

The Newport players were clearly becoming tired and were falling back deeper and deeper as the extra half an hour went on but they did manage to muster one final chance just before the final whistle. 

41 year old midfielder Kevin Ellison struck goalwards on the half volley but Lewis Dunk found himself in the right place at the right time to make an important block just inside the box.

Being taken all the way to penalties with a difficult game away to Man City in a couple of days was not what Brighton would’ve wanted but it was how their fate would be decided.

Jason Steele got his side of to a good start in the shootout, making two excellent stops to deny Sheehan and Demetriou either side of Pascal Gross’ well placed spot kick.

FA Cup, Brighton, Newport

But Brighton squandered that advantage almost immediately as Neal Maupay had his effort saved and Yves Bissouma smashed his penalty into the left hand post. 

It was 1-1 after three penalties each with Labadie converting and powerful efforts from Taylor and Dunk effectively took the shootout to sudden death. 

Jason Steele produced another fine stop to keep out Shephard’s penalty but Brighton missed a glorious opportunity to win it once again as Trossard had his poor effort saved right in the centre of the goal. 

Proctor and Propper both scored but Bennett gifted Brighton another chance to win the game thanks to a fourth superb save from Steele. 

And this time Adam Webster made no mistake, drilling the ball home into the bottom right corner to put Brighton in the hat for the fourth round after a very long night. 

Reaction:

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Brighton manager Graham Potter described the game as “traumatic as well as dramatic”.

“We should have won it and seen it out at the end of 90 minutes, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

“Newport showed all their battling qualities and full credit to them for that. We knew it was going to be a difficult tie and they didn’t disappoint us.”

Newport manager Michael Flynn was left feeling positive about his side despite the result and all his attention will now switch back to League Two where they’ll to continue their push for promotion.

“I’m really proud, the work rate was exceptional. They stuck together and we’ve taken another Premier League team to penalties.”

“We’ve got 26 games left, 26 cup finals, and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got something at the end of it after the promise we’ve shown.”

Up next for the Exiles is the visit of eighth placed Salford City in League Two as they look to close the gap to the top. 

Brighton meanwhile face the daunting task of a trip to Man City on Wednesday before they visit Leeds United at the weekend, trying to move away from the drop zone.

Leave a Reply