Fortunate County look to kick on in FA Cup
COUNTY v YATE (Tonight, KO 7.45)
TONY James admits New-port County don’t deserve to still be in the FA Cup, but he’ll be doing all he can to ensure they stay there.
The Exiles came within a whisker of a humiliating defeat in the fourth qualifying round against a Yate Town side rooted to the bottom of a division that is three below the Conference.
With just moments remaining, Newport trailed 3-1, but two goals at the death, the final one from James in the fourth minute of added on time, saved them.
However, the former Hereford man also admitted the players are aware of how close they came to disaster.
“We didn’t do ourselves any favours especially as in the first half we played really well,” James explained.
“We needed that killer goal and you know, when you don’t get it, you can tend to play poorly.
“It’s happened a few times with us and it has now happened again and our second half performance just wasn’t good enough.
“But the club at the moment is in a very good place and even when something like that happens and we go 3-1 down, we are still able to make the comeback.”
County will travel to Chelt-enham Town in the First Round if they can overcome Yate in a replay and James was proud of his contribution, scoring as he did his first FA Cup goal in a career stretching over almost 500 appearances.
“It wasn’t looking good (at 3-1) but the gaffer changed things around and put Lee Minshull up front and something as simple as that made the difference,” he said.
“The pressure told at the end and with another set piece I managed to get the goal “Ideally we wouldn’t want a replay but we’ll have to deal with it, we are in the cup, still in the hat as they say and, of course, we’ll take that.
“The goal thing is strange (James has now scored three this season, his best haul in six years), it’s a very strange season but I won’t complain.
“In the past I’ve not gone up much from set pieces but maybe I’ve been wasted, I should have done!
“To get the goal right at the death was a brilliant feeling in front of our fans.
“The goalkeeper looked a bit penned in, I only made a three yard run and I gambled, kept it down, it was a big one for me and a big moment for us.”
The Exiles are hopeful of adding defensive reinforcements tonight.
David Pipe, Andrew Hughes and Ismail Yakubu all missed out on Saturday but have a chance to return this evening subject to late fitness tests.