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POCH CLOSE TO CUP EXILE; Kane spares Spurs' blushes with a late equaliser after County's gutsy display.

Byline: GRAHAM THOMAS at Rodney Parade

NEWPORT COUNTY 1

TOTTENHAM 1

Amond 38 Kane 82

HARRY KANE came to Tottenham's rescue to deny Newport on a night when the FA Cup reminded us that fairytales often require perfection.

The League Two side, known as The Exiles, had held out for so long and with such stubborn heroism, they looked destined to dump Mauricio Pochettino's side out of the competition.

Irish striker Padraig Amond had given County a deserved lead with a magnificent first-half header.

But, with eight minutes left, Kane was left all alone for the first time in the game and he kept Spurs in the competition by scoring at the far post. It was heartbreaking stuff for Newport and their manager Mike Flynn.

But they will be revived by the prospect of a trip to Wembley for the replay - and the tasty addition of more cash to the PS500,000 they have already made from their run.

Spurs had spent half an hour warming up, with almost a ball each, as if they were trying to memorise every bump and lump on a pitch that must have seemed like an alien moonscape.

It soon felt just as treacherous as Eric Dier was bundled off the ball by Newport skipper Joss Labadie in the fourth minute, but his perfect pass was wastefully blasted into the heavens by Frank Nouble.

Spurs looked equally as uncomfortable from the stream of crosses and long throws Newport continued to launch and both Labadie and Scot Bennett were able to test Michel Vorm.

It took 12 minutes for Spurs to create their first opening, but when Kane made space on the edge of the box, his wayward shot drew jeers.

Pochettino's side continued to look less threatening than a drone buzzing overhead, which seemed to stress the fourth official but did not divert Newport's gaze.

A free-kick by Robbie Willmott caused more panic in the Spurs defence, but they survived and, within seconds, had their best opening just past the half hour.

Moussa Sissoko's powerful run put him clear on the right, but, when Kane connected with the cross, he was denied by Joe Day's excellent parry on to the post.

Sissoko and Mousa Dembele were now taking charge in midfield, but Newport's more direct approach continued to worry the visitors.

Their fears were realised in the 38th minute when County went ahead through that superb goal by Amond.

A throw was quickly used to create space for Willmott on the right and his pinpoint cross was met with Amond's powerful header, which Vorm could not keep out.

Pochettino (below) was not impressed and replaced Kyle Walker-Peters at the break with Son Heung-min. The result was a little more urgency in Spurs' attacking game, but Newport continued to block, smother and frustrate with no great alarm.

When a 57thminute cross from Kieran Trippier found Kane, the stumbling England striker headed over from six yards.

Minutes later, Kane had the ball whipped off his toe just as he drew back the trigger in the box and Newport fans rousingly began to believe it could be their night.

When Dele Alli was sent on, with 24 minutes to go, his first contribution was a sharp ball to set up Son, but Day's outstretched leg defied the Korean.

Newport continued to thwart Spurs at every turn, but just when it appeared the Welsh club were about to pull off one of the most memorable victories in their long history, their hearts were broken.

A corner from Trippier was flicked on by Son and there was no one at home in the centre of the Newport defence, allowing Kane to sweep the ball home at the far post.

It was a crushing blow for the Welsh side, but their energy levels had been drained in the final stages as they came under sustained pressure, with little sight of the ball.

VITAL STATS NEWPORT TOTTENHAM 3 Shots on Target 2 4 .. Shots off Target 5 1 .. Blocked Shots . 8 2 . Corners . 7 11.Fouls.8 4 . Offsides . 2 1 .Yellow Cards. 1 0 .. Red Cards .. 0 53.3 Passing Success 82.6 27Tackles..5 51.9.. Tackles Won %. 60.0 28.8 . Possession 71.2 48.7.. Territorial Adv % 51.3 242 .. Total Passes .. 610 19.Total Crosses26 36.5 .. 1st Half Poss..63.5 21.3 2nd Half Poss. .. 78.7 RATINGS NEWPORT COUNTY Day 7, Pipe 7, Demetriou 8, White 8, Bennett 7, Butler 7, Willmott 9, Tozer 8, Labadie 9 (Dolan 84), Nouble 8, Amond 9 (McCoulsky 7). Subs not used: Bittner, Reid, O'Brien, Sheehan, Hayes. TOTTENHAM Vorm 6, Trippier 6, Foyth 5, Vertonghen 6, Walker-Peters 6 (Son 45, 6), Dier 5, Wanyama 5, Sissoko 7, Dembele 7 (Davies 81), Llorente 6 (Alli 66, 6), Kane 6. Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Amos, Georgiou. REFEREE: Roger East 7.

CAPTION(S):

amond nuts in Exiles striker Padraig Amond heads opener

LATE KANE ARRIVAL Tottenham striker Harry Kane draws his side level with just eight minutes of the cup tie left
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 28, 2018
Words:843
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