Match Reports

Super Steele spot-on for Albion

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Keeper makes four shoot-out saves as Seagulls squeeze through.

By Bruce Talbot • 10 January 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Jason Steele pulled off some superb saves in the penalty save that saw Albion progress.
  • Newport County 1, Albion 1 (aet, Albion won 4-3 on penalties)

Jason Steele was the hero with four shoot-out saves as Albion squeezed into the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup on a dramatic night at Rodney Parade.

The keeper's uncharacteristic error in the sixth minute of stoppage time led to Adam Webster scoring an own goal, moments after Solly March's strike in the dying embers of normal time seemed to have earned his side victory against their League Two hosts.

With neither side able to break through in extra time, penalties it was, and Steele was simply sensational, flinging himself to his right to deny Josh Sheehan, Mickey Demetriou, Liam Shephard and Scott Bennett at full stretch.

By Paul Hazlewood
Jason Steele proved to be the hero with some penalty shoot-out heroics.

Although Neal Maupay and Leo Trossard saw their penalties saved and Yves Bissouma hit the inside of the post, Pascal Gross, Lewis Dunk, Davy Propper and Webster scored, the defender netting with the 14th spot-kick of the shoot-out to seal it 4-3. 

What happened...

Graham Potter had named a strong side for the first Emirates FA Cup meeting between the sides since 1966 with six of the side that shared six goals with Wolves eight days ago. There was a first start for Andi Zeqiri and places on the bench for Percy Tau, Max Sanders, Teddy Jenks and Reda Khadra.

Newport had a great chance to go in front after four minutes. An uncharacteristic mistake by skipper Dunk, who left a back pass short, allowed Padraig Among to get in on goal but he lifted his shot wide of the far post as Steele came out to narrow the angle.

After that early scare, Albion dominated possession but apart from a drive by Yves Bissouma straight at keeper Tom King, it was half an hour before Albion seriously threatened when Dunk met Gross' out-swinging corner with a thumping header which King pushed away.

By Paul Hazlewood
Alexis Mac Allister went close to breaking the deadlock in the first half.

The Newport keeper then held a stinging drive from Alexis Mac Allister before producing his third excellent save in the space of seven minutes when Dunk helped a corner on to Zeqiri, whose acrobatic left-foot volley at the far post was blocked by King.

Albion had another scare of their own making five minutes before the break when Steele failed to clear an awkwardly bouncing ball on the edge of his box. Amond hooked it towards an empty goal but Dunk got back to clear off the line.

Zeqiri rose well to meet Ben White's cross in the 53rd minute and glanced his header wide but Newport had pressed much higher up the pitch in the second half and three-quarters of the way in the contest had become very scrappy. Potter sent on Trossard and Propper and the Dutchman drilled the ball wide from 16 yards but Albion were finding it hard to break down well organised opponents.

By Paul Hazlewood
Percy Tau made his long awaited Albion debut as a second half substitute.

With 20 minutes to go Tau replaced Alireza Jahanbakhsh to make his Albion debut, taking up a position on the right. On the other wing, March forced King to tip over his powerful drive before Steele made a great save with his legs to keep out Sheehan's drive from 15 yards as Newport began to commit a few more players forward in the closing stages.

With extra time looming Albion made the breakthrough. Trossard's cross from the left was cleared only as far as March and he had space to line up a shot in the D which he swept left-footed past King into the bottom right-hand corner.

By Paul Hazlewood
Neal Maupay and Lewis Dunk celebrate with Solly March after his late goal in normal time.

That looked to have settled things but with the last kick of six minute of stoppage time Newport levelled, when Steele failed to punch clear a routine cross from the right and the ball bounced off the unfortunate Adam Webster and over the line for an own goal.

Into extra time and Newport were indebted to King again in the 95th minute when he produced an outstanding save to claw away Dunk's header which looked bound for the top corner after good work by Bernardo, who had come on for March.

Albion had one last good chance in extra time when Maupay teed up Tau 12 yards out, but he slashed his shot well wide and it was Newport who nearly won it in added time. Kevin Ellison lined up a shot on the run which would have beaten Steele had Dunk not flung himself in its path to block.

Parade ground

Much was made of the fact that Newport Gwent-Dragons were using Rodney Parade for a Pro14 rugby game 24 hours earlier, but they and County are not the only teams who have played there. Cardiff Blues used it for a rugby match of their own and Wales staged two women's European Championship qualifiers earlier this season.

Remembering Sue Addis

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion wore black armbands in memory of Sue Addis.

Albion players wore black armbands in memory of Sue Addis, the Brighton restaurant owner who died last week. Sue ran Donatello in the city for many years with her family and they were loyal supporters of the club and sponsored the shirts during the Withdean era.

The line-up

Albion: Steele, Jahanbakhsh, Webster, Dunk, White (Veltman 108), March (Bernardo 90+2), Bissouma, Mac Allister (Trossard 64), Gross, Jahanbakhsh (Tau 70), Maupay, Zeqiri (Propper 64).

Unused subs: Sanchez, Sanders, Jenks, Khadra.

Referee: Lee Mason.

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