By Chris Lomas
Newport boss Michael Flynn is eyeing up another lucrative Cup run after the Exiles continued their FA Cup love affair with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Grimsby.
Worth £111,000 for the winner (£36,000 for progressing into round two, and £75,000 for a televised second round), the victory – secured with goals from Padraig Amond and Joss Labadie – allowed manager Flynn to make clear he was hungry for more.
“I want more, I want to earn more, I want to be in the third round,” said Flynn. “I won’t be taking nothing for granted.”
The tables turn for Newport in the second round, as they face non-League minnows Maldon & Tiptree. The Isthmian North division side toppled Leyton Orient in the last round and Flynn won’t be taking any chances against the Essex side.
“One thing my players won’t do is take things for granted and take their foot off the gas,” he said. “Any games my players are playing, their attitude has got to be right.”
League Two finances are greatly affected by runs in the Cup as County have proven.
They quickly built themselves up into promotion contenders on the back of two profitable FA Cup runs, toppling the likes of Middlesbrough, Leeds, and Leicester and only falling down when facing the Premier League big boys, Tottenham and Manchester City.
“It’s all adding up,” added Flynn. “We’ve already made a small fortune this year, now with the TV.
Newport’s run in the FA Cup feeds into their League Two aspirations, where January recruits could be the difference between winning or losing out on promotion.
Flynn knows the Cup money can open up the club’s options in the transfer market.
Missed Newport County’s FA Cup first-round replay against Grimsby Town?
Here are the highlights pic.twitter.com/lI547itcPx
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) November 21, 2019
“It could yeah,” he added when asked about the incoming money. “Hopefully, there’s a bit there, and the right players become available.”
On a cold evening at Rodney Parade, Newport initially failed to turn up the heat against an organised Grimsby side.
The first half was a dull affair, with Grimsby the better of the two sides.
The Mariners had lost former manager Michael Jolley since the first tie, and interim manager Anthony Limbrick could be pleased with his side’s response, their first half performance frustrating Flynn.
“First half wasn’t good enough, I thought we got dragged into a game we didn’t intend on playing.”
The match was a case of Jekyll and Hyde for County, who started the second half far better, only needing four minutes to break the deadlock.
Josh Sheehan picked up the ball from a cleared Grimsby corner and released Corey Whitely on the break down the right-hand side.
The forward supplied an inch-perfect ball to Amond, who continued his excellent form in the competition by calmly slotting home past James McKeown.
Once they were ahead, Newport never looked like conceding, manging the game with assurance. They added a second goal, on the break again, in injury time.
Grimsby centre-back Mattie Pollock had just been sent off, and County captain Labadie capitalised on the extra man to put the game to bed.
Newport were without their first-choice goalkeeper Tom King, who only returned to Newport on match day due to his first Wales international call-up.
The 24-year old’s stock has risen considerably and Flynn cited King’s call up as an illustration of Newport’s effective transfer strategy.
Great to see a Newport County AFC player within the Welsh squad. ❤ pic.twitter.com/ZrNuDhF558
— Donna (@donna1ncafc) November 20, 2019
“This goes to show the recruitment we’re doing is working,” he said.
Flynn need not have worried with the change however, as Nick Townsend kept his first clean sheet of the season and his boss was happy with the keeper’s work.
“I thought everything he did, he did well, tonight.
“Nick has been in very, very good form, not just in the Leasing.com Cup but also in training. He’s been outstanding.
“He’s been pushing Tom for a number of weeks now and, look, it was the right time to give him an opportunity.”
More immediately Newport turn to the League, where the face Oldham Athletic at home on Saturday.
Flynn is expecting another tricky fixture from his counterpart Dino Maamria.
“Dino will have them organised and working for each other, so look, it’s a tough one.”
For now, though, Newport County can be happy with their night’s work, and whilst Flynn won’t readily admit it, his side can dare to dream of a third-round tie and the potential for claiming another famous Premier League scalp.