Newport County goalkeeper Joe Day made a quick exit from his side’s FA Cup tie celebrations after learning his wife had gone into labour.
At the final whistle of the fourth-round replay at Rodney Parade, the 28-year-old was seen running off the pitch after helping his League Two team to a 2-0 win over Championship side Middlesbrough.
Day had returned after missing the first game, a 1-1 draw at the Riverside, with his wife expecting twins.
A post on the FA Cup’s official Twitter account revealed the player’s wife had gone into labour during the game.
“@NewportCounty goalkeeper Joe Day’s wife has been close to giving birth to twins for days. Tonight, she went into labour during The Exiles’ 2-0 win over @Boro,” it said.
“At the FT whistle, Joe raced straight down the tunnel to be with his wife.
“Good luck Joe and family!”
Newport manager Michael Flynn revealed the “fully focused” goalkeeper turned off his phone before the match but asked to leave the ground as soon as the 90 minutes were up.
“I don’t know if she’s gone into labour but the way he sprinted off, I’d say there’s a very good chance,” Flynn said.
“He did turn off his phone off before the game and he was fully focused.
“As soon as the whistle went, he ran up to me and said could he go. I said ‘Of course you can, do you want a lift?’
“He sprinted off, it’s the quickest I’ve seen him move, but all our thoughts are with Joe and Lizzy and the arrival of the twins.”
Newport secured a fifth-round home tie with Premier League champions Manchester City after second-half goals from Robbie Willmott and Padraig Amond.
The club later tweeted: “Everyone connected with Newport County AFC would like to wish County’s Number One Joe Day and his wife Lizzy all the very best!
“Nothing like a clean sheet to welcome in the birth, eh Joe?”
– Press Association