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Newport County 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion (3-4 pens): Jason Steele saves four penalties in shootout

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Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele went from villain to hero with four penalty saves as they beat Newport 4-3 in an FA Cup third-round shootout at Rodney Parade after an entertaining 1-1 draw.

Steele saved from Josh Sheehan, Mickey Demetriou, Liam Shephard and Scot Bennett as Brighton won a 14-penalty shootout in sudden death to break the League Two side’s hearts.

The Brighton goalkeeper was culpable as Newport levelled in the sixth minute of injury time when he flapped at a cross and Adam Webster turned the ball into his own net.

Premier League side Brighton thought they had earned a first win in all competitions since November as Solly March’s goal put them ahead in the 90th minute.

Newport goalkeeper Tom King made some outstanding saves to keep the League Two side level before the shootout, where he ended up on the losing side despite saving two spot-kicks himself.

“I am very proud, the work rate was exceptional, they stuck together and we’ve taken a Premier League team to penalties – I can’t ask for more,” Newport boss Michael Flynn told BBC Sport Wales.

“We practised penalties and didn’t miss one! But it’s a funny old game and you’ve got to credit their goalkeeper, his saves were of the highest class.

“The players have until Tuesday morning to get over this and then we move on…. because we want to get promoted.

“This cup run will help us bring more players to do that as well.”

Brighton manager Graham Potter reflected on a “traumatic night” and was full of praise for the hosts.

“Traumatic was the word I would use to sum that up,” he said. “Credit to Newport, they fought and fought and we wish them well for their promotion push.

“We should have won the game and seen that injury time out, but we didn’t, we made a mistake.

“We adapted to a really difficult playing surface and are delighted to go through. Jason Steele pulled it out the bag for us.”

Newport have punched well above their weight in the FA Cup in the past few seasons. Since a third-round win over Leeds in January 2018, they have also knocked out Leicester and Middlesbrough, and scared Tottenham and Manchester City.

So it was no surprise that they started strongly, with Padraig Amond’s effort curling just wide of the post after only five minutes following Webster’s poor backpass.

Backpasses that put the visitors under pressure was a theme of the first period, which ended as it started, with Amond almost scoring after a Brighton mistake.

This time Pascal Gross’s pass put Steele in trouble and he presented another chance to Amond, but Lewis Dunk cleared the ball off the line as he anticipated the danger.

Brighton created enough opportunities themselves to lead – and would have done but for some inspired goalkeeping from King.

The Newport goalkeeper’s 38th-minute stop to keep out Andi Zeqiri’s close-range volley was simply stunning as he twisted and shifted his momentum to tip the ball over the bar.

King was also forced into action to save Dunk’s header and Alexis Mac Allister’s shot, and the Exiles just about deserved to be level at half-time, even though Brighton had more than 70% possession.

The second half was equally tight with Newport defending very well and in numbers, but they did get a reprieve when substitute Davy Propper fired just wide.

March fired over and Neal Maupay blasted wide as the Seagulls began to exert themselves in the closing stages, but Sheehan’s thunderous shot was well saved by Steele with eight minutes remaining as Newport remained competitive.

March then struck in the final minute of normal time with a fierce drive from the edge of the penalty area – and seemed to have won the tie.

But then Steele spilled a cross, which bounced in off Webster for an equaliser that forced extra time.

King then produced another incredible save from Dunk’s header in the first period of extra time, with Brighton pushing on and Newport looking increasingly leggy despite – or perhaps because of – not playing since 26 December because of the weather.

Brighton’s play was neat and tidy, but largely lacking in cutting edge and Newport might have again scored at the death, as Dunk bravely blocked Kevin Ellison’s shot, to signal the penalties.

The night ended with the visitors victorious as they won their ninth penalty shootout in the past 10 they have faced with Webster slamming home the decisive kick.

Line-ups

Newport

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1King
  • 15Longe-King
  • 8DolanSubstituted forEllisonat 90+5′minutes
  • 28Demetriou
  • 32Shephard
  • 17Bennett
  • 10Sheehan
  • 3Haynes
  • 7WillmottSubstituted forLabadieat 39′minutes
  • 14DevittSubstituted forCollinsat 63′minutesSubstituted forProctorat 90+5′minutes
  • 9AmondSubstituted forTaylorat 62′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Baker
  • 4Labadie
  • 5Howkins
  • 18Proctor
  • 21Collins
  • 22Ellison
  • 24Evans
  • 29Taylor
  • 30Townsend

Brighton

Formation 3-4-3

  • 23Steele
  • 3WhiteSubstituted forVeltmanat 108′minutes
  • 4Webster
  • 5Dunk
  • 16JahanbakhshSubstituted forTauat 71′minutes
  • 13Groß
  • 8Bissouma
  • 20MarchSubstituted forBernardoat 90+5′minutes
  • 29ZeqiriSubstituted forPröpperat 63′minutes
  • 9Maupay
  • 10Mac AllisterSubstituted forTrossardat 63′minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Trossard
  • 22Tau
  • 24Pröpper
  • 26Sánchez
  • 30Bernardo
  • 34Veltman
  • 41Sanders
  • 67Khadra
  • 72Jenks

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