Twelve-time FA Cup champions Manchester United managed to secure a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Newport County, a fourth-tier Welsh side in a nail-biting encounter at Rodney Parade. The Red Devils initially took a comfortable two-goal lead, but Newport, positioned 76 places below them in England’s football hierarchy, mounted a spirited comeback.
Antony’s crucial goal in the 68th-minute secured the win for Manchester United, preventing a potential upset from Newport County. Bruno Fernandes, 18-year-old sensation Kobbie Mainoo, and Rasmus Hojlund also found the back of the net for the Premier League giants. Notably, this match marked the first time since 1970 (against Northampton Town) that Manchester United conceded two goals in an FA Cup fixture against a fourth-tier opponent.
“We controlled the game, maybe we went a little bit slower,” United manager Erik ten Hag told the BBC. “We had the chance to go 3-0. [Alejandro] Garnacho hit the crossbar. [Newport] had nothing, really nothing and then they scored a goal.”
Newport County, fueled by goals from Bryn Morris and Will Evans on either side of halftime, briefly held hopes of forcing a lucrative replay at Old Trafford. However, Manchester United’s offensive prowess ultimately proved insurmountable for the spirited Welsh side.
“Obviously it was not the result that we wanted, we got the win that we wanted but the result was not the perfect one for us. We didn’t want to concede goals,” United captain Fernandes said.
“We know that to make the season look not as bad as it has been, we have to try to win this trophy … we know how much the FA Cup means for our fans, our club, for the country and it’s important for us too. We want to get into the final and win.”
Newport manager Graham Coughlan told the BBC: “The best team won, they were clinical when they got their chances.
“At 2-2 the ball comes off the post and it fell to Antony. I did think at 2-2 we could possibly force a replay if we could weather the storm. Class saw them through.”
Looking ahead, Manchester United is set to face either Bristol City or Nottingham Forest in the fifth round, contingent on the outcome of their replay scheduled for Feb. 7. The Red Devils remain determined to progress further in the FA Cup and maintain their pursuit of silverware in the prestigious tournament.