Caitlin Bennett reflects on experience of reporting the biggest FA Cup upset so far

Newport County caused the greatest upset so far in this Emirates FA Cup campaign, when they beat Leicester 2-1 at Rodney Parade in the third round earlier this month. Caitlin Bennett was fortunate to be there in her capacity as one of our Young Reporters, so read on to find out about that experience and how she handled seeing her team produce one of the results of this season’s competition so far…

Friday 25 Jan 2019
Newport County produced one of the shocks of this season's Emirates FA Cup campaign in the third round

Caitlin BennettBy Caitlin Bennett, member of The FA Young Reporters' Club. "I'm a first year Sports Journalism student at the University of Gloucestershire. I am extremely passionate about sports, especially football. I am very excited to be part of The FA Young Reporters' Club, as I will get some great experience."

I have been a Newport County fan since I was nine-years-old, so being able to experience the game as a reporter felt very special.

I arrived at an atmospheric Rodney Parade to see waves of people wearing black and amber and smiles on everyone’s faces.

Middlesbrough v Newport County
  • The Emirates FA Cup
  • Fourth Round Proper
  • 3pm, Saturday 26 January 2019
  • Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough FC
  • Winners receive £180,000 from prize fund

After managing to get the last seat in a packed-out press box, I had other journalists next to me live tweeting, writing match reports and commentating for some of the top newspapers and websites.

To be sat there as a Young Reporter for The FA felt like a dream come true.

When the whistle blew for kick-off, the roar that echoed around the stadium was enough to impress any football fan. I watched ahead, waiting to write about the first key moment of the game.

After just ten minutes, Newport scored. I could not type fast enough that Jamille Matt had scored against Danny Ward in the FA Cup. I was filled with excitement, questioning whether Michael Flynn’s side could actually beat the former Premier League champions.

This was my view from the press box at Rodney Parade


I heard the commentators behind me in disbelief that the League Two side were ahead. There was a massive buzz in the press box, a feeling that anything could happen.

After such an energetic start, I knew there was going to be a lot to write about. I was switching between my laptop, the team-sheet and the pitch, checking that everything I was seeing and then writing about was accurate. The rush after that first goal filled me with such adrenaline as a reporter.

The game was end-to-end and there were plenty of chances to write about. At half time, I was questioning how there hadn’t been more goals.

The second half had a lot to live up to, but I was expecting it to be full of moments to talk about and with it being 1-0 to County, I had it in my head that I was 45 minutes away from reporting on the biggest upset of the Cup.

I quickly checked up on social media to see a stream of tweets about Newport. One of them was from Leicester’s own, Gary Lineker, who was also at Rodney Parade covering the game for the BBC.

There were chants at Lineker in jest from the Newport fans and videos of this went viral after the game. It was a great atmosphere at Rodney Parade and having spoken to fans before the game, I knew that everyone felt part of something special.

The second half commenced and the atmosphere became more tense. I saw a more dominant Leicester side, so there were many attempts at goal to keep me busy typing.

But Leicester’s equaliser in the 83rd minute completely changed my half-time story of the giant killer’s upset.

And when the referee pointed to the penalty spot just two minutes later, I was filled with nerves.

The two goalscorers celebrate the win over Leicester at full time


The commentators behind me were shouting, hands were typing, faces were shocked. The penalty was converted and I was five minutes away from my dream outcome.

Full time finally came with “Cup upset” as the back bone of everyone’s report. I rushed home so that I could make some finishing touches to my article and submitted my story.

When my article went live, I breathed a sigh of relief; I was so proud. I’m an aspiring sports journalist who was able to report on the biggest game of the FA Cup so far. It was a dream fixture with a dream result.

Wherever my career takes me, this game was one for the books.

By Caitlin Bennett