FORMER Boro boy Matty Dolan came off the bench to earn Newport County AFC an FA Cup fourth-round replay with a dramatic injury-time equaliser at the Riverside Stadium.

Daniel Ayala’s header six minutes after the break looked like earning Championship challengers Middlesbrough victory over League Two County.

But Dolan’s late intervention – in the fourth and final minute of time added on – ensured that there will be a sequel to the battle of Pill between Michael Flynn and Tony Pulis.

After shocking former Premier League champions Leicester City in the third round, they gave the Teesside crowd a scare in the first half and refused to give up after Ayala broke the deadlock.

They fought until the end and were rewarded at the death to earn a deserved replay at Rodney Parade.

South Wales Argus:

Goalkeeper Joe Day missed the match to be with his wife, who is expecting twins, so Nick Townsend was handed a rare start between the sticks and thrown into the firing line.

That was the only change from last week’s overdue league win over Exeter City and Pulis showed his hometown side plenty of respect by naming a strong starting XI.

Former Champions League winner John Obi Mikel made his debut in midfield alongside ex-England winger Stewart Downing, while Irish international Darren Randolph started in goal and the dangerous Britt Assombalonga led the line.

Despite all that talent in the home ranks, it was County who took the initiative early on.

Padraig Amond almost enjoyed a dream start as he chested down Antoine Semenyo’s cross and fired a half volley just over the bar with only 35 seconds on the clock.

Strike partner Jamille Matt then had a half chance after being picked out by the impressive Robbie Willmott but he blasted over under pressure after a good turn.

It took a while for Boro to show their quality but Assombalonga went close with a curling effort after a quarter of an hour before Aden Flint headed over from Lewis Wing’s free-kick.

The Exiles continued to pose a threat, however, and they nearly caught out the home defence with a clever corner routine involving Willmott and Semenyo by Dan Butler’s shot was well blocked.

Butler was then called upon at the other end to block Downing’s shot and the dangerous Wing shot over the top after George Saville had robbed Tyreeq Bakinson on the edge of the area.

Wing smashed another free-kick into the wall before clipping the bar from the rebound with Townsend beaten.

South Wales Argus:

But Flynn’s men weren’t overawed and they continued to knock the ball around nicely and put pressure on the home defence.

Semenyo snatched at one chance and cleared the bar by 15 yards but Amond was only denied by the legs of Randolph after Matt’s flick on.

And Bakinson, who was enjoying himself on the big stage and certainly wasn’t afraid to try the spectacular, created a chance of his own as he drove forward with the ball but dragged his shot wide from 20 yards.

Regan Poole eventually cleared the danger after a scramble in the County box just before the break but the visitors held out until half-time and will have been very satisfied with their first 45 minutes’ work.

The home side needed to step things up and they did just that after the interval.

Assombalonga forced Townsend into his first save on 50 minutes, the keeper scooping a snap-shot behind, and they got the all-important breakthrough from the corner.

Spanish defender Daniel Ayala climbed above Mickey Demetriou, who had performed brilliantly up to that point, and his header beat Townsend at the far post.

County didn’t let their heads drop and they nearly responded straightaway but Matt’s header didn’t have enough power to beat Randolph.

And they continued to press forward in search of an equaliser, roared on by more than a thousand travelling fans.

Semenyo headed just wide 11 minutes from the end and then missed a glorious chance as he volleyed over on 87 minutes.

Boro also had the chances to extend their lead in the closing stages but Ashley Fletcher’s shot was blocked and Townsend saved well from Wing and Saville.

But County had the final say as substitute Dolan scrambled in from close range to put the travelling fans in dreamland.

Their remarkable FA Cup journey is not over yet.

Middlesbrough: Randolph; Shotton (McNair, 73), Ayala, Flint, Friend; Mikel (Clayton, 62), Saville, Wing, Downing; Fletcher (Tavernier, 80), Assombalonga

Subs not used: Dimi, Batth, Hugill, La Parra

County: Townsend; Poole, O’Brien, Demetriou (Dolan, 87); Willmott, Bakinson (Labadie, 78), Bennett, Butler; Amond (Sheehan, 79); Matt, Semenyo

Subs not used: Pipe, Forbes, Neufville, Marsh-Brown

Referee: John Brooks

Attendance: 15,794

Argus star man: Bennett