Could it REALLY happen? Could the English Football League champions manage to do what no other top team seems to be able to do?
As FA Cup fever hits Newport, the home of League Two’s Newport County, the world of football needs to take a look at its perspective on the team’s current status.
Despite their dip in form in League Two, in the UK’s most prestigious cup tournament their home at Rodney Parade has now become a fortress against “superior” teams. It seems that from every defeat inflicted upon them in League Two, they draw extra strength to bottle up and use against the top sides in the English Football League. The collective force of all the League Two teams being channelled through the medium of Newport County to bring down the giants. In recent years, out of Leeds United, Tottenham, Leicester City and Middlesbrough, only Tottenham managed to avoid defeat over the border in Wales, in the stadium with a maximum capacity of less than 8,000. That was courtesy of Harry Kane’s equaliser just nine minutes from time, earning Newport County a well-deserved replay at Tottenham‘s temporary home ground at Wembley Stadium. Newport lost the return match, but of course, the magic works best at Rodney Parade’s cauldron.
Each time they surpass the expectations of a League Two side against a team from The Premiership or The Championship, their achievement is referred to as an FA Cup shock or upset. But by now, teams must be beginning to fear doing battle with the Amber Army on the bank of the River Usk. Surely, by now, the tide has turned. For a top-flight giant to come to Rodney Parade and actually WIN must now be the FA Cup shock.
Newport County’s Padraig Amond celebrates scoring against Middlesbrough at Rodney Parade
Now it’s the turn of Pep Guardiola’s Premiership champions Manchester City to try to solve the Rodney Parade puzzle that only Tottenham have come close to in recent years. His team of millionaire footballers have to unpick the web of determination and grit without getting their hands and feet tangled up.
Saturday 16th February is the day. 5.30 pm the time. Can Manchester City upset the odds and create an FA Cup shock by being the first big team to beat Newport County at Rodney Parade in recent years?
Surely not. Every Newport County fan is anticipating a place in the FA Cup Final in May – assuming, of course, that they can get home fixtures all the way.
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