Conference National strugglers Newport County host League Two play-off hopefuls Shrewsbury Town in the first of Saturday’s FA Cup first round fixtures.
The tie is a repeat of the 1980 Welsh Cup final, in which Newport were triumphant, winning 4-1 over two legs.
Unsurprisingly, over 30 years on, times have changed and the Shrews are odds on (19/20) to progress to the second round.
Newport followed their Conference South championship win in 2010 with an impressive first term back in the Conference National, spending over a third of the season in the play-off positions before eventually finishing in a respectable ninth position.
However, they haven’t fared so well in the opening months of this campaign and sit just one place above the relegation zone after 19 games. They are rated as 12/5 outsiders to cause a shock, while the draw is priced at
Visitors Shrewsbury are very much the nearly men in League Two. In this, their eighth year since they themselves were in the Conference, they reside in fourth position and are well on course to make a fourth appearance in the play offs in that period.
Along with their solid league form, Shrewsbury were impressive in making it to the third round of the Carling Cup, eventually losing to Arsenal after defeating Derby County and Premier League giants Swansea City.
That victory against Wales’ best side will give them confidence against their non-league opposition on Saturday lunchtime. They will also be buoyed by their victory against Dagenham and Redbridge last time out on the road.
Yes, the FA Cup is occasionally a leveller, but Shrewsbury should have more than enough to display their supremacy. With this in mind, the handicap betting markets look very tempting.
You can get odds of 13/5 for Newport to lose even with a goal head start, and punters who use their free £25 bet on this will see a return of £90 if they’re right in doing so.
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