Newport County v Wealdstone – FA Trophy Semi Final 1st Leg Preview
This Saturday sees Wealdstone travel to South Wales to take on Blue Square Premier side Newport County AFC in the first leg of their mouth watering FA Trophy semi final. With a place in a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium awaiting the winners of this two legged tie, the stakes could not be higher in what is sure to be a full blooded and enthralling encounter.
Stones will be cast in the role of massive underdogs once again; this is a role they have revelled in this season toppling opposition from higher divisions on no fewer than three occasions in what has been a hugely memorable cup run culminating in their superb 2-1 victory and the epic giant killing of professionals Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium, with a brace of goals from the talismanic Richard Jolly
Ironically, these two sides met in first round of last season’s competition, with a superb rear guard performance seeing Stones snatch a 0-0 draw away from home before their hearts were broken in the replay at The Vale with a goal in the very last minute of extra time from Jon Challinor sending The Exiles through.
Following promotion to the Blue Square Premier in 2010, County spent their first season at that level amongst the playoff contenders, eventually finishing the season in an impressive 9th. This season has been far tougher for them though and they currently sit in 17th position having lost their last league game 4-3 to Braintree Town, with a double from former loanee Stone Britt Assombalonga helping the Essex side to victory.
Whereas Wealdstone have already played 10 games in this season’s trophy, County’s run to the semi final has been much shorter having played only 5 games so far. Their last encounter in the competition was a thrilling one as they came from 2-0 behind to beat a plucky Northwich Victoria side 3-2 with young forward Jake Harris stepping off the bench to turn the tie on its head with an impressive double.
The hugely passionate Wealdstone supporter base will once again be out in full force at Newport Stadium, with up to 500 fans expected to make the trip to South Wales.