Nicola Kenton is a member of The FA Young Reporters' Club.
Imber Court’s grandstand was full. The paths in front of it four deep with supporters. The away end in full voice as the Emirates FA Cup first round tie between Metropolitan Police and Newport County started.
Last season’s giantkillers were trying to avoid a giant-killing themselves while Met Police were hoping to make it through to the second round for the first time in their history, having made this stage five times previously, the last in 2012.
Newport made it through comfortably with a 2-0 win with the goals coming either side of half time, but the home side had plenty of chances to put the visitors on the back foot.
- Emirates FA Cup
- First Round
- Saturday 10 November
- Imber Court
- Winners to receive £36,000
The teams entered the field with The Clash’s ‘I Fought the Law’ playing in the background, mascots from the Met Police youth teams alongside.
Met Police started brightly and had plenty of opportunities, but Newport came the closest when a shot from the outside of the box hit the post and was deflected away.
Every time County had a good chance saved or cleared, the Met were on the counter attack, breaking wide and forcing themselves into goal finishing positions. Yet the home side could not find the required accuracy in the final third.
The opening goal came through Padraig Amond and Newport doubled their lead when Jamille Matt scored from close range.
Ethan Chislett has the Met's best chance, a free header which was directed straight at goalkeeper Joe Day. The home side’s keeper Luke Williams made several fine saves, as Newport peppered his goal.
It was clear that youth was the word of the day with the mascots, the academy and junior teams watching on and the young players in the both sides.
"Hopefully this run galvanises the club," said Met Police manager Gavin McPherson. "We’ve got a great junior section, a great academy..
"The hope is that they feel part of what we’re doing here and they feel compelled to come and support the first team.
"We drive on that junior section and our academy, it’s going to be our future. We’re not blessed with huge finances so have to produce from within. It’s key for us."
The Exiles were too strong in the end but Met Police showed that their future is the youth and they are fully focused on developing for the future.