Thursday, November 15, 2018

After a couple of victories this season because of last-minute winners, we were on the receiving end of a late goal away to Carlisle United as we lost 3-2.
It was a bitterly disappointing result for us as we had come back from 2-0 down to draw level with just three minutes remaining but unfortunately a thunderbolt from Carlisle captain Danny Grainger gave them all three points.
We started the game terribly and were 2-0 down within 15 minutes but then we took control and for the rest of the game we probably put in our best footballing performance of the season so far.
That’s what made the last-minute goal for Carlisle so devastating for us. I scored our first goal to help us back into the game and its my seventh of the season. I could have a few more but I’m still pleased with that return. Because of injuries recently I have been playing a more withdrawn role in midfield and I’ve been enjoying the toughness of the change. I was back up front on Saturday because we had a midfielder back fit but I’m ready to do a job there for the manager if he needs me to.
Injuries haven’t helped our cause but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for the lads who have been injured lately and hopefully we can get a big boost from the returning players. The team’s injuries have been predominantly muscle injuries rather than impact injuries, so the medical department have had a little inquest into what has caused them and how we can improve. Hopefully we can get to the root of the problem. With all the equipment available nowadays it’s a little easier.
Heart-rate monitors, GPS units and wellness reports all help to identify when the injuries have occurred, so we can cut them out. Sometimes there is just no explanation and it can be down to bad luck on the player’s part.
On Saturday we get a little break from league action as we will start our FA Cup campaign away to the Metropolitan Police. They are a few leagues below us and are the lowest ranked team still in the FA Cup so there will be a lot of eyes on our game looking for a potential cup upset. Hopefully that won’t be the case and we can get our name into the hat for the next round.
All week we will prepare the same way as we would for a normal league game and give the Met Police the respect they deserve. But once Saturday comes we must be ruthless because if you give a team a sniff of a chance they can get a lot of confidence from that.
For all our games in the FA Cup last year we were the underdogs, so we will know how the Met Police will prepare for the game with the belief that they will win it
Last season the FA Cup was a massive thing for us at Newport County. We had a great run knocking out League One outfit Walsall in the first round, Championship side Leeds United in the second round and then we were just seven minutes away from a famous victory against the mighty Tottenham Hotspur in the third round.
We were eventually beaten at Wembley in a replay by Spurs, but it was still a memorable campaign. The first Tottenham game was my favourite of last season for obvious reasons. Scoring against them and being so close to beating them was amazing and for the week afterwards my phone was blowing up with interview requests from all over the place. It was exhausting for everyone around me, but not me. Every interview was pretty much the same questions and answers and it got to the stage where my fiancée could have answered the questions as she had heard me say the same things so many times. But I will never get bored of talking about it.
I want to make more memories like that again this year so on Saturday hopefully we can avoid a potential banana skin of a tie to give ourselves a chance of repeating last year’s heroics.

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