Man Utd survive impressive Newport fightback after ex-cow milker almost snatched result | Football | Sport

Manchester United avoided a humiliating replay against Newport County after second-half goals by Antony and Rasmus Hojlund squeezed Erik ten Hag’s side into the FA Cup fifth round. The Red Devils let a 2-0 lead slip, with the League Two side grabbing two goals back either side of half-time. Antony scored the decisive strike, though, tapping home after Luke Shaw’s effort hit the post. Hojlund then secured United’s path with an injury-time tap-in.

Express Sport picks out five talking points.

Former cow-milker Evans nearly earns replay

Trust the FA Cup to throw up a mad story. Will Evans, the man who tore past Raphael Varane to beat the Frenchman to a near-post cross before turning the ball into the net, was milking cows on a farm three years ago.

“I grew up on a farm in mid-Wales, my parents raised me and my two older brothers – one was a big football fan and the other more into farming. So we’d always play football on the farm, I always used to have to be the goalkeeper,” the 26-year-old told the Daily Mail in the build-up.

Evans worked on his dad’s farm while playing in non-league. Now he can claim to be an FA Cup scorer against one of England’s biggest clubs.

Martinez and Fernandes fume at team-mates

Lisandro Martinez and Bruno Fernandes showed they are two of very few leaders in the United dressing room by scolding team-mates. Martinez dressed down debutant goalkeeper Altay Bayindir after a string of erratic passes.

Bayindir nearly gifted possession straight back to Newport on two occasions when United had a comfortable 2-0 lead. Martinez turned around to the Turkey international and, in no uncertain terms, told him to improve.

Alejandro Garnacho then felt the wrath of captain Fernandes. With United chasing a third and game-clinching goal, Garnacho opted to go for goal when he should have squared to Fernandes or Rasmus Hojlund.

The Argentine’s strike hit the bar and rebounded away to safety. Fernandes was furious at the lack of a simple pass, which allowed Newport to get back into the game. Bryn Morris soon scored a deflected long-range strike to make the score 2-1, leaving United frustrated over several errors.

Hojlund later screamed at Garnacho on a frustrating night for the Dane, with Garnacho once again failing to play a ball across goal in the second half. But the striker did eventually get his goal after some persistence, latching onto a loose ball to half-volley home.

Antony’s first goal contributions of the season drag United through

Antony had not scored or assisted a goal this season before United travelled to Newport. By the time the Red Devils had departed Rodney Parade, the Brazilian had scored one of the club’s most crucial strikes of the campaign.

The winger tapped home a relatively simple rebound after Luke Shaw struck the post. Had he failed to find the net, United might have suffered an embarrassing replay against a League Two side – or even worse, another dismal defeat.

Antony’s goal came after he had set up Bruno Fernandes’ opener. He was the most dangerous of United’s attacking talent. Kobbie Mainoo soon scored a second after Antony had been involved in the build-up, putting United in a commanding position after just 12 minutes.

Bayindir’s nervy debut

Ten Hag’s insistence to use Andre Onana at every opportunity became clearer in south Wales. Onana had previously played in every competitive game this season, with the United boss insisting that Bayindir needed to familiarise himself with the English game.

That was evidenced against Newport, with at least two sloppy passes in the first half. The 25-year-old’s presence seemed to unsettle his back four.

Where does Marcus Rashford fit into this United team?

It remains to be seen where Rashford will fit into Ten Hag’s 11 when he returns from his reported sickness. The official line is that the striker is ill, despite reports that he had been partying in Northern Ireland before calling in sick for training on Friday.

United’s front three of Garnacho, Hojlund and Antony was more fluid than an attack featuring Rashford has appeared all season. It also pointed towards a younger and more dynamic trio, which suits Ten Hag’s preferred system.

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