SUBSTITUTE Shawn McCoulsky earned Newport County AFC a famous FA Cup victory over Championship giants Leeds United with a stunning last-minute winner at a packed Rodney Parade.

It looked like being a tale of so near and yet so far for County, who fell behind early on and created chance after chance without finding a way past Leeds goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.

But an own goal from Conor Shaughnessy 14 minutes from the end brought the Exiles level and they grabbed a deserved winner right at the death to seal their place in the fourth round for the first time since 1979.

County boss Michael Flynn resisted the temptation to bring in any new faces as he stuck with the team that started the New Year’s Day victory over Exeter City.

That meant Mark O’Brien had to be content with a place amongst the substitutes after completing his three-game ban.

He was joined by new boys Paul Hayes, Tyler Reid and Josh Sheehan on a strong looking bench.

Leeds made nine changes from their last league match, with only Gaetano Berardi and Kalvin Phillips surviving the cut.

And it was Berardi, captain for the day, who broke the deadlock in the 10th minute.

The Swiss defender hit a speculative effort from 30 yards and his shot appeared to take a deflection off the rear of Pierre-Michel Lasogga, which took it beyond Joe Day and into the net.

Berardi was booked for celebrating with the travelling fans behind Day’s goal and a yellow flare was thrown from the stand as the Championship side stamped their authority on the tie.

But, rather than deflating the Exiles, that goal appeared to pump up Flynn’s men and they were on top for the remainder of the first half.

Padraig Amond went closest to levelling before the break as he continued his fine form of the past week.

The Irishman saw one close-range effort cleared off the line by Mateusz Klich and later sent a vicious volley crashing just over Andy Lonergan’s bar from a Robbie Willmott cross.

Captain Joss Labadie was also in the thick of the action in the Leeds penalty area, seeing one weak header easily held by Lonergan and another goalbound effort deflected behind.

Willmott and Dan Butler also tried their luck from distance without troubling Lonergan.

Day was rarely called into action at the other end, comfortably gathering long range shots from Pawel Cibicki and Vurnon Anita.

The pattern continued early in the second half as Scot Bennett dangerous cross almost sailed inside the far post.

And Labadie then headed a cross into the path of Amond, who tried the spectacular with a hastily improvised overhead kick that found the side netting.

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Leeds were restricted to shots from distance with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Klich both having efforts blocked.

Hadi Sacko sent a wild shot high and wide and a swerving drive from Lasogga was beaten away by Day.

The better chances continued to be created by the hosts and it was the impressive Willmott who looked the most likely to get his side back into the match.

He picked out Frank Nouble with a perfect cross from the left but the big striker failed to connect properly with the header and half-hearted appeals for a penalty against Lonergan were waved away.

Labadie then volleyed off target and substitute McCoulsky, on for Dolan, cut in from the left and fired well over the top.

The hosts were ramping up the pressure but just lacking that bit of quality and composure at the crucial moments.

They needed a slice of luck and it arrived on 76 minutes as Nouble burst down the right and his low cross, flicked on by Amond, found the back of the net via the shins of Shaughnessy.

A replay would have been just reward for a superb team performance but, roared on by a raucous Rodney Parade crowd, County went for the jugular in the final 15 minutes.

Amond and substitute Hayes both went close but it was super sub McCoulsky who wrote himself into the history of the club with a bullet header in the 89th minute.

That wasn’t the end of the drama as Leeds sub Samuel Saiz got himself sent off for allegedly spitting at Willmott in stoppage time.

After a mass brawl in the centre circle there was barely time for Leeds to get back into the match and the final whistle was met with a huge roar and a mini pitch invasion.

County: Day; Pipe, White, Demetriou, Butler; Dolan (McCoulsky, 69), Bennett, Labadie; Willmott (O’Brien, 90), Amond (Hayes, 86), Nouble Subs not used: Bittner, Reid, Tozer, Sheehan

Booked: McCoulsky

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 6,887

Argus star man: Willmott