Thursday, November 22, 2018

THE FA Cup first round is always full of shocks and on Saturday we were determined not to be one of the teams on the receiving end of one of those shocks.
Newport County’s cup tie against the Metropolitan Police was a no-win situation for us because we were expected to ease to victory and all the pressure was on us. They were the lowest-ranked team left in the FA Cup and a lot of our fans were talking about how we were going to win 6-0 or 7-0. That’s not what you want to be hearing going into a game like that. To be fair to the players, we treated the build-up like an ordinary league fixture and gave the opposition all the respect they deserved because they had beaten a decent side in the previous round so we knew we were in for a battle.
Thankfully we came through the game with a 2-0 victory although it wasn’t a very comfortable win in the end. We were a bit lax all over the pitch conceding too many chances and not taking enough at the other end which would have made the scoreline a lot more comfortable.
In saying that, we had two goals disallowed, both for offside. Although the goal I scored that was given as offside was a shocking decision by the linesman. There were six players playing me onside when I scored and just as we came back out for half time the referee apologised to me for getting the decision so horribly wrong.
That was frustrating, but thankfully it didn’t make a difference to the result.
The conditions didn’t help either team to show what they were capable of with driving wind and rain causing havoc for us both. At the end of the day though, cup competitions are all about qualifying for the next round of the draw no matter what the performance is like. The previous week in the league we played very well and were beaten, so it was nice to play poorly and win for a change.
The win puts us in the draw for the second round and by the time you read this, we will have found out out opponents so hopefully we have a decent draw that gives us a good opportunity to make it to the third round for a second successive year and potentially get one of the big boys again.
This week we have two games, starting with Plymouth Argyle at home in the final group game of the Checkatrade Trophy. If we beat Plymouth (who can’t qualify for the next round) we will make it to the last 16 of the competition and earn the club some decent prize money which could help us in the January transfer window.
Teams will already be having early talks about potential signings that they could make so this prizemoney could go a long way in clinching one of those. Hopefully Plymouth will be concentrating on their league game on Saturday and we can take advantage to finish top of the group.
On Saturday we have a very tough league game against Colchester United who, like us, are in the play-off places. Colchester did the double over us last season in the league, so we want to put that right. Two of our old teammates from last year are also with Colchester now, so I know they will want to come back to the club and put on a show to prove that the manager was wrong to release them at the end of last season.
So far this season, Colchester have been one of the best teams to watch in our league and they have been scoring some fantastic team goals, like ourselves, so that means it is probably going to be a terrible game.
We want to get back on track in the league and we need to pick up a couple of wins in the next few weeks to cement our place in the play-offs and keep that little bit of a gap between us and the chasers.
Two good results this week could go a long way to shaping our season for the better and hopefully that is what happens.

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