United’s topsy-turvy win at Newport embodied the magic of the FA Cup

Soon enough, it was 2-0, the first time United had led by such a margin after 15 minutes in the FA Cup since January 2020 against Tranmere Rovers. It certainly felt familiar. A visit to a great lower-league club with United under some pressure at the time. On that day, we raced towards an emphatic victory, but this time, there was a real response.


Time slowed as Bryn Morris latched onto a loose aerial ball. Seats clapped up, the ground took an intake of breath and then erupted as a sweetly struck effort flew past Bayindir. United had done so well to stop this classic FA Cup fixture feeling like one, dominating the early stages and scoring twice. But with one kick, tradition was restored. A raucous noise, two reverberating chants and then that glorious football sound where everyone needs a pause from celebrating and, as one, give a gentle sigh as they turn to their mate and say, ‘oh wow’.


It buoyed Newport and half-time failed to disrupt their rhythm. “We’re still in this” was the message over the Tannoy. They came out onto the pitch early and stood to attention. Before many fans were back in their seats, they’d got the leveller. Thirty seconds later, they walked up the steps — food and drink in hand — with a grimace combined with a broad smile. Friends pointed in the direction of the goal, moving hands like a tactician explaining what had happened, words unable to rise above the thunderous noise early in the second half.

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