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Other SportsNewport County 2-4 Manchester United: Red Devils survive huge scare in FA...

Newport County 2-4 Manchester United: Red Devils survive huge scare in FA Cup

Manchester United survived an almighty scare to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, recovering to beat fourth-tier Newport County 4-2 after blowing a 2-0 lead.

Embattled United boss Erik ten Hag endured a troubled build-up to the game, with Marcus Rashford absent from the squad after reporting ill for training. The forward was pictured in a nightclub in Belfast earlier this week, with his manager describing the incident as “an internal matter”.

Things looked like they may get worse for the Dutchman when Bryn Morris and Will Evans scored either side of half-time for Newport, cancelling out early goals from Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo and raising hopes of a famous upset.

However, Antony pounced on the rebound after Luke Shaw struck the post with just over 20 minutes to play, then Rasmus Hojlund added a fourth in stoppage time to kill Newport’s chances of forcing a replay.

The Red Devils will now visit either Nottingham Forest or Bristol City in the last 16, but Sunday’s result will do little to quieten criticism of Ten Hag after his team made heavy work of their League Two hosts.

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If there were any pre-match nerves in the United ranks, they looked to have been settled within seven minutes as Antony’s cutback found the onrushing Fernandes, who drilled his low finish past Nick Townsend.

Antony missed a good chance for 2-0 when he lifted his left-footed effort over, but Mainoo doubled United’s lead in the 13th minute, guiding Diogo Dalot’s cutback across goal and in for his first senior strike.

Alejandro Garnacho’s shot clipped the crossbar as United pressed for a third, but Newport refused to be deterred and found themselves back in the contest nine minutes before half-time.

Out of nowhere, Morris unleashed a rasping long-range strike which took a slight deflection off Lisandro Martinez before flying past United’s stand-in goalkeeper Altay Bayindir and into the top-left corner.

Things got even better for the hosts just three minutes into the second half, with Adam Lewis sending a low cross to the near post, where Evans’ finish flicked off Raphael Varane and in to spark wild celebrations.

Martinez then had a goal-bound shot inadvertently blocked by Hojlund, but United had more luck in the 68th minute, when Antony side-footed into a gaping goal after Shaw’s curling effort struck the upright.

Evans went close to a dream equaliser as the end of the 90 approached, flashing a long-range drive just wide to the right of goal with Bayindir beaten.

But it wasn’t to be for Newport despite their brave performance, with Hojlund converting into an empty net after Mainoo was denied by Townsend in stoppage time, clinching United’s place in the fifth round.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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