Has the magic returned to the FA Cup? Down in League Two, it’s fair to say for 4 clubs it most certainly has.
The draw for the 4th round was kind to those left in the competition and each one gave us a game or result to be remembered.
It would be hard to separate whether Coventry’s away win at the MK Dons which guaranteed the Sky Blues a 5th round place or the performance of Newport County who were so close to one of the biggest shocks in the competition history but had to settle for a draw against Tottenham.
And let’s not forget high flying Notts County, also holding Premier League opposition in the shape of Swansea City to a draw. County manager Kevin Nolan will fancy his team’s chances in the replay despite the fact the Swans are coming into a bit of form.
Nolan’s team are packed with top flight experience which should help them try and cause an upset at the Liberty Stadium, knowing full well Swansea will be concentrating on Premier League survival than winning the FA Cup.
Coventry might not have shocked anyone knocking out struggling MK Dons but the game still had to be won.
Fitting maybe that one of last season’s giant-killers with Sutton Utd, Maxime Biamou scored the only goal of the game to send the Sky Blues through and on to face Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion, another team struggling to retain their top flight status and with eyes on league points than cup glory.
City could well be into the Quarterfinals and be this year’s success story although the chances of repeating their one and only cup in in 1987 is a big ask given the quality of teams still left in the competition.
Yeovil may feel a little disappointed not to have tested Manchester United a little more than they did. For most clubs at this level, the pay day involved in hosting a Premier League side and appearing on live television can secure a financial windfall big enough to sustain a League Two club for a season and in some cases maybe two.
Utd had very little scares and once they had gone in front through Marcus Rashford just before half time they controlled the game adding two late goals to give the score-line a flattering look. Darren Way’s men certainly didn’t disgrace themselves and now can concentrate on retaining their League Two status.
And to Newport County. Nine minutes away from a famous win against a side steeped in FA Cup history but brought down to the level of their hosts by the pitch.
No doubt about it being a ‘cup leveller’, it didn’t allow Spurs to settle and play their natural game while the hosts had chances to increase their lead before Kane’s equaliser.
A trip to Wembley for County supporters will make for a great day/night out, but in reality, a tougher ask to get a result given Spurs current ‘home’ form and you can’t see them taking the game too lightly with a trip to either Millwall or Rochdale awaiting.
Either way, with a sell home game, a trip to Wembley and two TV appearances, Newport have done well so far out of their cup run, not bad for a side who this time last year were heading out of the Football League.
Written by Trevor Knell
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37
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