LEEDS UNITED crashed out of the FA Cup third round to lower division opposition for the second year in a row through a 2-1 loss at Newport County in which Samu Saiz was shown a straight red card in second half stoppage time.
United took a ninth-minute lead when captain Gaetano Berardi scored his first ever goal with a low effort from 25 yards but Newport equalised with 14 minutes left when Conor Shaughnessy’s attempts to deal with Frank Nouble’s cross ended with the defender putting the ball into his own net.
The Welsh side then deservedly bagged a winner in the 89th minute when Shawn McCoulsky headed home from a corner and a miserable day for Leeds was completed when Saiz was sent off for allegedly spitting in the first minute of added time.
United squandered a fine chance after just eight seconds when Jay Roy-Grot latched on to the ball in the area but the striker fired his shot straight at Joe Day.
Exiles skipper Joss Labadie then sent a header over the bar.
But United then took the lead in fairy-tale circumstances after nine minutes when Berardi scored the first goal of his career.
In his 102nd outing for United, the defender let fly from a central position fully 25 yards out and his effort whistled past Day into the bottom right corner.
Berardi was booked for over-celebrating and Newport squandered a fine chance to equalise seven minutes later when Mateusz Klich blocked Padraig Amond’s effort from a corner from two yards out.
Labadie then placed a free header straight at Lonergan and after United’s Vurnon’s Anita had tested Day with a long-range effort, Dan Butler’s effort flew over the bar.
County were dominating and Amond was then inches away from netting a spectacular equaliser when seeing his powerful volley fly narrowly over the bar.
United’s Pawel Cibicki then saw his deflected free-kick easily saved by Day but chances continued to arrive for Newport and Robbie Willmott became the latest player to fire over.
On the stroke of half-time, a free-kick taken by Matty Dolan then trickled all the way through the Whites box and back to Lonergan.
Leeds squandered half a chance shortly after the restart when Pierre-Michel Lasogga headed wide but at the other end a Butler delivery flashed just wide of Lonergan’s left-hand post.
Amond then sent an overhead kick narrowly over the crossbar after a fine delivery from Willmott on the right.
Grot and Sacko both fired over for Leeds but Newport then saw claims for a penalty dismissed as substitute Liam Cooper tangled with Frank Nouble at the far post.
Lasogga’s long shot then tested Day but Newport then fired yet another shot over the bar through Ladabie who was well placed 18 yards out.
Another effort from Lasogga was then sent over the bar but Newport sub McCoulsky then cut inside before firing wide.
And within seconds of Whites head coach Thomas Christiansen calling for Saiz, Newport equalised when Shaughnessy’s attempts to deal with Nouble’s cross ended with the ball being slid past Lonergan.
Nouble then headed another good chance over and Amond looked destined to score the winner when presented with a free header in the 82nd minute but the striker’s effort was placed straight at Lonergan.
Newport substitute Paul Hayes then narrowly put a half volley over the crossbar but a County winner looked inevitable and it arrived in the 89th minute when McCoulsky tucked away a free header from a corner.
United’s afternoon then went from bad to worse as Saiz was sent off for allegedly spitting at Newport’s Willmott in the first minute of added time, landing the Spaniard a possible six-game ban.
Leeds United: Lonergan, Borthwick-Jackson (Cooper 59), Shaughnessy, Berardi, Anita, Phillips, Klich, Cibicki, Sacko, Grot (Saiz 75), Lasogga. Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Kitching, Pearce, Rey, Clarke.
Newport County: Day, Pipe, White, S Bennett, M Bennett, Butler, Labadie, Willmott, Dolan (McCoulsky 69), Double, Amond (Hayes 86). Subs not used: Bittner, Tozer, Reid, O’Brien, Sheehan.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Attendance: 6,887 (1,040 Leeds).
Good Day For:
Gaetano Berardi. The result will rankle but who could begrudge the defender his moment? He has waited for a goal for over a decade and it was nice that when it came it was more than a scruffy tap-in. His all-round performance was an example to others but ultimately, it counted for nothing.
Bad Day For:
Samuel Saiz. Came on with 15 minutes to go with Leeds winning 1-0, barely touched the ball and was sent off in injury-time for allegedly spitting at Robbie Willmott with Leeds 2-1 down. That could lead to a long suspension and United cannot afford to lose him.
Shaughnessy’s error. Newport were pushing and pushing but struggling to trouble Lonergan. Shaughnessy’s attempt clearance was an inexperienced swipe which gave his goalkeeper no chance and put United in a world of trouble.