In 2017, Tranmere were dreaming of a Wembley promotion back into the Football League, but Forest Green snuffed them out in a 3-1. They got payback this year.
Some might speculate that Mike Dean called in a few favours after The Green had a man sent off in both legs of the semi-final tie, but however it came about, they’re back again at the famous ground again. They made the trip to London again in 2018 too, but this time with a positive outcome as they beat Boreham Wood 2-1.
Not that this experience guarantees they’ve an edge on Newport this Saturday.
As well as the Welsh side’s FA Cup heroics of recent seasons – this year’s run saw them take the scalps of Leicester and Middlesbrough before losing to Man City, while Leeds were beaten and Spurs held to a draw in 2018 – the Exiles have played on Wembley’s turf plenty of times too. The replay with Spurs took them to the national stadium, as did 2013 promotion win into League Two and a 2012 FA Trophy win.
That means both these sides shouldn’t be fazed by the by the big occasion on Saturday. We’d expect them to both be on their game and will likely cancel each other out, so the 90 minutes draw appeals at 2/1.
Yes. That is Mike Dean going absolutely NUTS celebrating Tranmere's play-off win over Forest Green ?? pic.twitter.com/24Hf4dpLPU
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) May 14, 2019
They’ve also been very evenly matched in their two meetings this season, with just one goal scored over both games, that being Fraser Franks’ winner at Prenton Park back in September for County.
Both teams also don’t stand out as huge goalscoring threats, with Newport finishing the season on zero goal difference from 59 scored and 59 conceded.
Tranmere did make it into positive numbers on that, thanks to their stingy defence and the 29 goals in 45 games from James Norwood, the top scorer in the division.
They conceded just 50, the sixth-best record in the division.
There’s little reason to expect things to be any looser on Saturday with a League One spot at stake. Newport have also seen under 2.5 goals come in 12 times in their last 16 games too, so we’d take under 2.5 goals at 1/2 for our Same Game Multi as it looks like a cert.
That all means we should be in for a nail-biting finale, with penalties a likely scenario once they’ve kicked each other up and down the pitch for 120 minutes.
Newport have already endured the pressure-cooker of the penalty spot showdown in the previous round against Mansfield. A 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade was followed up by a 0-0 stalemate in the away leg, and extra-time couldn’t separate the sides.
Five successful Newport penalties did though after Tyler Walker missed for the Stags and that ordeal ought to mean something for County if this game is as dour as expected.
8/1 on the cup giant killers to win it from the spot gives our Same Game Multi plenty of juice.
*All odds correct at time of posting