Portsmouth fan and Baffins boy Tom King books Wembley play-off final date after Newport County triumph

Former Admiral Lord Nelson pupil Tom King has booked himself a play-off final date at Wembley.

By Neil Allen
Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 9:00 am

The 26-year-old goalkeeper featured in Newport County’s dramatic 5-4 semi-final triumph at Forest Green Rovers on Sunday.

It means the Exiles will face Morecambe in the League Two play-off final on Monday, May 31 (3pm).

For Pompey fan King, who was raised in Baffins after moving to the city aged five, it caps an eventful season.

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Travelling 96.01 metres, it was the longest distance for a goal to be scored from, beating previous holder Asmir Begovic’s against Southampton in November 2013.

Like Begovic, King had also been on Pompey’s books, albeit under the surname Fry, before turning down a scholarship to instead join Crystal Palace.

The ex-East Lodge player, who numbered future Southampton and England player James Ward-Prowse among his team-mates, has only re-established himself in Newport’s side in the past month.

Tom King (right) celebrates with Newport County's Joss Labadie after Sunday's play-off League Two semi-final success over Forest Green Rovers. Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire

Yet he has featured 16 times in a season which saw Michael Flynn’s side finish fifth in League Two to qualify for the play-offs.

They had to overcome a Forest Green team led by Jimmy Ball, son of two-time Blues boss Alan, and with Luke McGee in goal.

Fellow keeper McGee was with Pompey until last summer, before joining Rovers on a free transfer, going on to make 37 appearances this term.

Aside from King, there remains another Pompey link with play-off finalists Newport.

They have Ryan Taylor in attack, who appeared as a half-time substitute in Sunday’s thrilling encounter.

He scored 16 goals in 59 appearances during 18 months at Fratton Park, before released on a free transfer in May 2015.

Signed by Richie Barker from Bristol City, Taylor has gone on to represent Oxford United, Plymouth and now Newport.

He has netted twice in 32 appearances since joining the Exiles in August 2020.

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