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01 January 2018 Venue Rodney Parade Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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PREVIEW | County start 2018 at home to Exeter City

31 December 2017

Exeter City are the first team to visit Rodney Parade in 2018 as they head to the stadium on New Year’s Day. The Exiles will be looking to avenge their defeat at St James Park earlier on this campaign, while the Grecians will be looking to extend their record of five games unbeaten on trips to South Wales.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 encounter.

 

Last six league games 

Play-off occupying Exeter City head to Rodney Parade having picked up nine points from the last 18 available after three wins and three defeats from their last six league matches.

Dean Moxey’s early opener at Crawley Town starts that run, although his attempt wasn’t enough for the Grecians to take anything from their trip to West Sussex, as the Red Devils fought back to win 3-1.

They returned to winning ways in their next game, however, as they secured a 2-0 victory at home to another play-off contender in Accrington Stanley. Hiram Boateng scored his first goal in Exeter colours to open the scoring, with a penalty from Ryan Sweeney completing the win.

But they suffered another defeat on the road to prevent them from putting a run of wins together, as Jayden Stockley’s late consolation only gave the away supporters a little glimmer of hope in the 3-1 defeat to Colchester United.

Goals from Lloyd James and Pierce Sweeney ensured the Grecians secured yet another home victory in the next game, this time in a 2-1 success over Stevenage, ensuring they moved into the automatic promotion places.

The Grecians away form continued to cause some alarm, however, as Stockley could again only get a consolation in the 3-1 defeat at Yeovil Town.

On Boxing Day, the Grecians had to abandon their match with Forest Green Rovers at half-time due to a waterlogged pitch. That postponement meant they slipped out of the automatic promotion places and down to sixth, as the other results around League 2 certainly didn’t go their way on the day.

But Jake Taylor’s stoppage time winner at home to Barnet on Saturday ensured Exeter rose two places to 4th, although they would move back into the top three if they won the re-arranged game with FGR as they are just a point outside the automatic places.

But it is their away form that has prevented Exeter from being in the top 3 already this campaign. They have failed to win any of their last six trips on the road, losing four, and would actually sit 15th purely on away form. They sit 3rd in the home table, however, hence why they are in the play-offs ahead of their trip to Rodney Parade tomorrow, only six points clear of the Exiles.

 

Team-News

The Grecians head to Rodney Parade virtually in perfect shape after manager Paul Tisdale was quoted as saying “I believe everyone is ok” after Saturday’s win over Barnet.

But he also confirmed that he expects to continue to shuffle his squad around having made just the one change for that game, as Matt Jay made his first league start of the season in place of Ryan Harley.

Tisdale said: “I think generally, I have to make sure that I rotate when the players are under physical stress and two games this weekend, for example, in three days is a lot of football for those who are already vulnerable to any injury or two because of some sort of overload in their play.”

 

Exeter City side vs Barnet (4-4-2): Pym, Tillson, Holmes (McAlinden, 76), Stockley, Moore-Taylor, Seaborne, Jay (Harley, 64), Moxey, Wilson, Taylor, Boateng (Archibald-Henville, 90+4)

 

One to Watch – Jayden Stockley

Currently the club’s top scorer this campaign with 12 goals from all competitions, Jayden Stockley has more than coped with the club-record fee Exeter City paid for the Englishman over the summer.

He has scored in nine separate matches this season, as Stockley has scored seven goals in League 2 and five in the Emirates FA Cup.

Two of those goals have come in additional time, the first securing a 2-1 win at Barnet and the other salvaging a replay with Forest Green Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup Second Round.

Exeter is the third permanent club of the 24-year old’s career, having started out in the academy set-up at AFC Bournemouth.

The 6’3” striker made his debut with the Cherries aged 16, playing in the Football League Trophy match with Northampton. Interestingly, because Stockley was so young at the time, manager Eddie Howe actually had to ring his school to request permission for the striker to play in the game, as he was due to sit a GCSE Maths Test that afternoon.

He also became the second youngest player to take to the field for Bournemouth in that game, although found further game time hard to come by and had nine loan spells away from the club.

That saw the striker turn out for sides including Portsmouth, Luton, Accrington and Exeter – gaining vital experience in divisions all the way from the Conference South to League 1.

Aberdeen then came calling for his services at the start of the 2016/17 campaign, with Stockley agreeing a pre-contractual agreement with the club whilst on loan at Exeter in the second-half of the previous campaign.

He made 41 appearances with the Scottish side before the move to the Grecians this summer, although could only manage six goals at Pittodrie.

 

Last time out

 

Exeter City 1 – 0 Newport County AFC

Saturday 2nd September 2017 

Newport County AFC suffered their first defeat of the 2017/18 campaign in League 2 following a 1-0 loss at Exeter City.

County created several chances in a first-half which they largely dominated, exploiting a weakness down the Exeter City right-hand side.

Padraig Amond had a header ruled out for an infringement as-well as another attempt cleared off the line, with Joss Labadie and Frank Nouble also being denied by home goalkeeper Christy Pym.

But the Grecians reinvigorated themselves at half-time, and got the winner when Lee Holmes struck in the 58th minute.

Holmes, scoring his first of the campaign, was set up on the edge of the area by striker Reuben Reid. The 30-year-old then skipped past two Exiles challenges before curling a shot into the bottom corner.

Frank Nouble hit the post late on as County searched in vain for an equaliser, Tom Owen-Evans also coming close with a shot late-on.

And had it not been for Ben White, the Exiles could have also suffered a defeat by a greater margin.

The Brighton loanee superbly cleared three attempts off the County goal-line, denying Jake Taylor in the first-half with a diving header.

Holmes was also thwarted from getting another by the centre-back on two occasions in the second-half, his two volleyed attempts blocked with Joe Day beaten on both occasions.

 READ THE MATCH REPORT

 

Officials

 

Referee: Robert Lewis

Assistant Referee 1: Christopher Husband

Assistant Referee 2: Matt Eva

Fourth Official: Richard Hulme

Lewis is currently embarking on his 13th season as a Football League referee having officiated his first game on 1st October 2005 as Rochdale beat Rushden & Diamonds 2-1 in League 2.

He has refereed 17 games so far this season, the last of which came on Saturday as Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Priestfield Stadium.

One yellow card was given to each team by Lewis on the day, taking his season tally to 46 yellow cards and three red cards from the 17 games.

That follows on from his record in the 2016/17 campaign, which reads as 49 yellow cards and two red cards from just 16 games.

 

County Connection

 

Lewis has refereed County on five previous occasions.

However, County have only won one of those five games in which Lewis has officiated, drawing another one and losing the other three.

Interestingly, Lewis was supposed to be the man in the middle for this season’s game with Colchester United on 17th October. But a clash with Charlton’s Josh Magennis three days prior to the game caused Lewis to be ruled out of the game with concussion and replaced by Darren England.   

That means the most recent County game refereed by Lewis was on 7th January 2017 in the 3-1 defeat to Stevenage. Scot Bennett and Sid Nelson were booked on that occasion for the Exiles.

In 2015/16, Lewis refereed one County game, as Paul Mullin struck a stoppage-time penalty to give Morecambe a 2-1 victory at Rodney Parade. Aaron Hayden and Scott Barrow were booked for County that day.

No bookings were given in the 2-0 defeat to Southend United in the 2014/15 season, although there were three in the 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers. Andy Sandell was the only booking from a County perspective.

The first of the games officiated by Lewis came back in the 2013/14 season as County won 3-2 at Crawley Town in the JPT. Jamie Stephens was booked for County as James Hurst was sent off for Crawley.

 

Other League 2 games that day (All 3pm kick-offs)

Accrington Stanley vs Morecambe

Barnet vs Swindon Town

Colchester United vs Cambridge United

Coventry City vs Chesterfield

Crewe Alexandra vs Grimsby Town

Forest Green Rovers vs Wycombe Wanderers

Luton Town vs Lincoln City

Mansfield Town vs Carlisle United

Notts County vs Port Vale

Stevenage vs Cheltenham Town

Yeovil Town vs Crawley Town

 

Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat (OfficialExiles) and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Charlie Brown and Richard Shepherd can also be found at the Match Centre from 2.45pm.

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Match Reports

REPORT| Amond and Willmott strike as County start 2018 with a win over Exeter City

1 January 2018

Robbie Willmott’s first goal of the season saw Newport County AFC start 2018 with a victory after a 2-1 win at home to Exeter City.

Padraig Amond gave County a half-time lead in a first-half of very few clear-cut opportunities, guiding a Willmott delivery expertly into the far corner with a looping header.

But the away side found their equaliser just eight minutes after the restart, sole striker Jayden Stockley replicating Amond’s effort with a headed attempt of his own from a similar position after Jake Taylor's cross. 

Both sides continued to press for the extra goal with some decent opportunities and it was County to get another through Willmott’s first goal for the club since 8th October 2014 having re-joined in the summer.

Amond and Dan Butler combined superbly out-wide, before playing the ball with the right pace to allow Willmott to unleash an unstoppable effort into the bottom right corner.

The win keeps County in 11th position in the League 2 table, gaining a point on the play-off positions to trail the top-seven by just the three points.  

Mike Flynn elected to make just the one change to the side that drew 1-1 at Cheltenham Town on Saturday.

That saw captain Joss Labadie return from his one-match suspension into the midfield of a 4-4-2 formation, as Tom Owen-Evans made way after starting his first league game for two months against the Robins two days ago.

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale kept to his promise of rotating his squad over the festive period by making five changes to his side that beat Barnet 2-1 with a 94th minute winner on Saturday.

Three of those changes came in the Grecians defence, as Hiram Boateng and Kane Wilson dropped to the bench while Jordan Moore-Taylor missed out completely.

Pierce Sweeney, Troy Archibald-Henville and Craig Woodman came in, with the Grecians changes completed by Ryan Harley and Lloyd James also returning to the midfield.

All those changes saw the away side change to a 4-5-1 formation at Rodney Parade, as club record signing Jayden Stockley started as the sole striker.  

But despite all the Grecian changes, it was County’s solitary alteration in Labadie who almost made the perfect return to the Exiles side within the opening two minutes.

Matty Dolan’s inviting corner delivery to the front-post was flicked on well by the midfielder six yards out, only to see it bounce off the post and away from any of the County players following up the attempt.

It wouldn’t take the Exiles too much longer to take advantage of a better start at Rodney Parade, however, as Padraig Amond scored for the second successive match just four minutes later.  

A long clearance found Nouble on the right-hand side, before setting up Robbie Willmott to cross. The delivery was inch perfect for Amond just outside the six-yard area, who looped a header over away goalkeeper Christy Pym and into the far corner for his 8th league goal of the campaign.

It was all County in the opening exchanges, Ben White and Robbie Willmott particularly impressing, as it was clear that the Exiles had adapted better to the blustery conditions in South Wales.

Exeter’s only resistance in the opening 15 minutes came in the way of a 25-yard free-kick from Ryan Harley. But Joe Day read the delivery perfectly to collect amidst a host of advancing Exeter attackers.  

Amond almost doubled his and County’s advantage with 27 minutes on the clock, although Danny Seaborne did just about enough to head the attempt clear of the near post.

But despite the indication of one additional minute of added time at the end of the first-half, no further chances could be created from either side as County took a slender advantage back with them to the dressing rooms.

You would have to say that the first-half was much better from a County perspective, with the Exiles looking the more menacing team throughout and controlling the game, although failed to create any further opportunities after the early opener.  

Joe Day was making easy pickings of any aerial threat from Exeter, nullifying the threat of Stockley with a commanding performance.

The blustery conditions were clearly affecting the amount of chances being created in the opening 45 minutes, causing havoc to both sides throughout and especially the goalkeepers.  

But within 90 seconds of the restart, the away side should have been level.

Stockley did really well to stop the ball rolling out for a goal-kick before teeing up Lloyd James four yards out with the goal at his mercy, only for Dan Butler to recover well and block the somewhat tame effort on the goal-line with Day beaten.

But just like County in the first-half, the away side were rewarded for a fast start to a half at Rodney Parade, grabbing an equaliser in the 53rd minute.

Captain Jake Taylor did well to skip past Butler on the left-side, before firing another inviting delivery into the area. Stockley and Jordan Tillson both jumped for it, with the former getting his head to the ball inside the box to give Day no chance with a powerful connection.

The Exiles could have responded instantly, however, as Willmott was put clean through after Harley slipped in the centre-circle. But Pym timed a challenge on the midfielder to perfection, getting a strong palm on the ball as Sweeney cleared.

Exeter could have found a second goal before the hour mark as-well, although Lloyd James wasted his free header after being found unmarked by Harley in the six-yard area.

The game was turning into a real end-to-end affair at Rodney Parade, both sides looking likely to score, and County were the side to get it with 25 minutes remaining.  

Amond and Butler skilfully combined out-wide, before the left-back played a perfectly weighted ball into Willmott’s path. That allowed him to take a touch before firing an unstoppable strike from 25 yards into the bottom-right corner.  

That was Willmott’s first competitive goal for the Exiles since re-joining the side over the summer, and the Exiles were unlucky to not get a third shortly after as Amond saw his effort saved by Pym.

Day also had to make saves before the clock ticked past the 70-minute mark, Moxey denied at close-range as-well as Butler deflecting a Taylor shot wide of the near post.

Grecian substitute Lee Holmes also tested Day into a reaction save on 77 minutes, with Taylor again denied shortly after from a finger-tip save by the goalkeeper.

A long injury stoppage just before the additional extras meant that eight minutes were indicated at the end of the match.    

And in the sixth of the added extras, Taylor was denied again by a stunning save from Day. It looked like the away captain may finally breach the goalkeeper late-on, only for Day to jump back across goal to keep out the attempt.

But no further chances could be created from that point on against a stubborn County defence, ensuring the Exiles started 2018 with a first home victory over Exeter City since 2nd September 1986.

 

County: Day, Pipe, Bennett, Demetriou, White, Butler, Labadie (C), Dolan (Owen-Evans 82’), Willmott, Nouble (McCoulsky 90+3), Amond

Subs not used: Bittner, Reynolds, Tozer, Foulston, Touray

 

Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Seaborne (Reid 82’), Archibald-Henville, Woodman, Taylor, Harley, Tillson, James (Holmes 65’), Moxey, Stockley (McAlinden 89’)

Subs not used: Hamon, Wilson, Edwards, Boateng

 

Referee: Robert Lewis

Attendance: 3,380 (499 AWAY)

Next up for County: Leeds United (Emirates FA Cup) Home - 7th January

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