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27 November 2018 Venue Rodney Parade Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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PREVIEW | County looking for more home success against Northampton Town

26 November 2018

Newport County AFC will be looking to bounce back to winning ways in League Two when they host Northampton Town on Tuesday night. The Exiles head into the game only out of the top three on goal difference, whilst the visitors are a little further behind in the table but on a recent resurgence that sees them having lost only once in their last nine league outings.

Here, you can read all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter.


Last five results in League Two

Since Keith Curle’s appointment as manager at the start of last month, Northampton Town have become one of the form sides in League Two and have picked up 11 points from the last 15 available.

That run starts on 23rd October as they secured their most emphatic victory of the season with a 5-0 away success at basement boys Macclesfield Town. Matt Crooks scored an incredible 43-minute hat-trick - whilst striker Daniel Powell and defender Aaron Pierre added the extra gloss onto a perfect performance.

In their next fixture, things weren’t so easy for the Cobblers, but they managed to fight for more than fifty minutes with 10 men and still secure a 2-1 victory over Oldham Athletic. Ex-Exile Sam Foley was dubiously dismissed after John-Joe O’Toole opened the scoring, then Kevin Van Veen converted a penalty to give them a healthy advantage. Robert Hunt got the Latics a late consolation, but Northampton held on.

That was the first time Northampton had won back-to-back league fixtures all season and they duly made it three on the spin with a 2-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra. Striker Andy Williams and Powell scored either side of half-time to keep the Curle resurgence going.

Since then, Northampton have felt differing emotions when drawing their last two league matches 2-2, starting by salvaging a point in stoppage time away at play-off hopefuls Exeter City. The Cobblers came from behind on both occasions, Billy Waters and Williams cancelling out goals from Jake Taylor and Jayden Stockley.

On Saturday, Northampton twice surrendered the lead as another scintillating performance from Mariners goalkeeper James McKeown secured Grimsby Town a 2-2 draw at Sixfields. Williams and Van Veen both found the target, but 10-man Grimsby fought back through Charles Vernam and Harry Cardwell.



Northampton Town manager Keith Curle has a couple of selection dilemmas to ponder ahead of bringing his side to Rodney Parade.

In definitive team-news, forward Junior Morais completes his three-match suspension against the Exiles, whilst striker Dean Bowditch, defender Leon Barnett and influential midfielder Matt Crooks are expected to miss out through injury.

Curle then has to decide to what extent he plays defenders Ash Taylor and Shay Facey after the defenders both featured on Saturday – but the Northampton boss might think two games in four days is too much for players recently returning form injury.

He commented: “We are getting some players back now and team selection is going to be very competitive and as a manager that is a good problem to have.”

Northampton Town team vs Grimsby Town (3-5-2): Cornell, Taylor, Pierre, Turnbull (Facey 57’), McWilliams (Williams 85’), O’Toole, Hoskins, Foley, Buchanan (C), Williams (Powell 69’), Van Veen  


One to Watch – Kevin Van Veen

Currently Northampton Town’s top scorer for the season with eight goals, striker Kevin Van Veen has finally found his best form for the Cobblers this campaign having not scored in his first five months as a player at Sixfields.

Six of those goals have come in the league, accruing his side four points, following strikes against Grimsby Town, Oldham Athletic, Cheltenham Town, Carlisle United and two against Cambridge United. The Dutchman also netted in the CheckaTrade Trophy against Oxford United and at Lincoln City in the Emirates FA Cup.

This spell with the Cobblers is the 27-year old’s second stint in the English game as Van Veen initially started his pathway into football back home in the Netherlands.

The striker spent several years in the academy system of hometown club PSV Eindhoven before moving through various clubs in the lower levels of the Dutch pyramid – Helmond Sport, Dijkse Boys, UDI’19, JVC Cujik and FC Oss.

His performances at FC Oss in particular started to write some headlines when he netted 16 goals in 21 appearances and Scunthorpe United won the race for his signature for an undisclosed fee.

That came in January 2015 but he struggled initially to adapt so was shipped out on loan to SC Cambuur midway through the 2015/16 campaign – his first opportunity of playing in Eredivisie, the top tier of Dutch football.

It appears that Van Veen returned a completely different player and he was one of the top performers in the country for the first-part of 2016/17. Chinese Super League side Henan Jianye had a £4 million bid rejected as Scunthorpe United looked to mount a promotion bid to the Championship, although they were ultimately unsuccessful in the play-offs.

Last season again started off well for Van Veen so Northampton stumped up the cash for his signature back in January, although he couldn’t get any goals to keep them in the division as they were relegated on the final day of the campaign.


Manager – Keith Curle

A highly experienced Football League manager, it is no coincidence that Northampton Town’s recent upturn in form has corresponded to Keith Curle’s appointment as manager on 1st October.

The Cobblers have only lost twice out of the 12 games he has taken charge of, those coming in League Two away at high-flying MK Dons and in the Emirates FA Cup to Lincoln City.

Northampton have ascended six places in the table since his appointment – as Curle embarks on his sixth managerial position.

Starting out at Mansfield Town as a player-manager in December 2002, Curle couldn’t prevent them from relegation into the fourth-tier but did get the Stags to the play-offs in the subsequent season, although they lost on penalties to Huddersfield Town in the final.

He was dismissed in December 2004 following a poor run of form and he could only last nine months at Chester City after a disastrous run of form that saw the club go through a horrible sequence of 11 defeats from 12 matches.

Curle’s next spell at Torquay United didn’t fare much better either as he failed to save them from relegation during his short-stint contract – with the 55-year old electing to move into coaching and joined Neil Warnock’s staff at Crystal Palace then QPR.

He returned to management in February 2012 at Notts County but not even an incredible record of going 22 consecutive away matches unbeaten could save Curle from being dismissed less than 12 months into the role.

Carlisle United then came calling for Curle’s services and he spent four seasons with the club before leaving for pastures new – leading them into the play-offs in 2016/17 a particular highlight of his reign with the Cumbrians.


Previous meetings

There has been 89 competitive fixtures between County and Northampton Town, with six of those meetings coming after the reformation in 1989.

The Cobblers have the better record across those matches – having won 45 of the previous encounters. They have defeated County 5-0 on four separate occasions, whilst there was also a 7-0 success in 1929 and an 8-0 victory in 1932.

County and Northampton have drawn on 15 occasions, meaning the final 29 competitive encounters all went the way of County. That includes a 5-1 victory in 1935, a 5-2 victory in 1931 alongside 3-0 wins on four occasions.

Looking at the more recent history between the sides, they last met in League 2 during the 2015/16 campaign which saw the Cobblers crowned champions after accumulating an impressive 99 points.

County only took a point off Northampton in their historic campaign, a 2-2 draw at Rodney Parade on 31st October 2015, whilst there was also a 1-0 home victory for the Cobblers on 25th March 2016.

Last season, the two sides met in pre-season. Lamar Reynolds put County in-front at Sixfields Stadium on 29th July 2017, but goals from Chris Long and Leon Barnett ultimately gave Justin Edinburgh victory over the Exiles.

Read the match report from that last encounter between the two sides.



Referee: Andy Davies 

Assistant Referee 1: Joe Clark 

Assistant Referee 2: Christopher Kidd 

Fourth Official: Timothy Wood 

Davies is currently embarking on his seventh season as a Football League referee having officiated his first game in League Two on 18th August 2012 as Morecambe secured a convincing 3-0 away victory at Exeter City.

He is also on the list of referees in the Championship, with Davies having refereed 11 of his 15 matches so far this season in the second tier.

From those previous matches, Davies has given out 54 yellow cards and one red card, including five yellows in his first match as Paul Hurst celebrated his first game in charge of Ipswich Town with a stoppage time equaliser against Blackburn Rovers in the 2-2 draw.

Not a single fixture has passd without Davies going to his pocket, with the lowest figure of one yellow card being brandished on just two occassions. 

The solitary red card awarded by Davies this season came on 1st September 2018 as Ben Pearson was dismissed in stoppage time as Preston North End drew 2-2 with Bolton Wanderers at Deepdale. 

Those statistics follow on from the 31 matches in which Davies officiated in the 2017/18 campaign, a season that saw him brandish 104 yellow cards and six red cards.


County Connection

Davies has refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on eight previous occasions in League Two, the CheckaTrade Trophy, the Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup. He is not the luckiest of omens, however, as the Exiles have only managed three wins and five defeats in matches officiated by Davies.

He has already refereed County this season and it came in arguably the best performance of the campaign so far on 14th August 2018 as the Exiles cruised to a 4-1 away success at Cambridge United in the First Round of the Carabao Cup. Fraser Franks was the only played booked as Padraig Amond scored a contender for goal of the season. 

Watch the goal that involved nine County players in a 14-pass move. 

Apart from that game, it has been over two years since Davies refereed a match involving the Exiles, although it was one of the remaining wins in a 2-0 success over AFC Wimbledon in the CheckaTrade Trophy on 8th November 2016. Tom Owen-Evans and Joss Labadie were booked for County amongst four yellows in total.

He officiated one other County match in the 2016/17 campaign and that also came in the CheckaTrade Trophy. Jordan Green scored to give County the lead on 30th August 2016, but Plymouth Argyle ultimately fought back for a 4-1 victory. Paul Bignot received the only yellow card.

Home Park was again the destination for the Exiles in the next game presided over by Davies, although it was another victory for Plymouth in a 1-0 success on 29th August 2015. No yellows awarded to either side. 

He was also the man in the middle when Jay Simpson’s late penalty gifted Leyton Orient a narrow success over County on 26th January 2016. Mark Byrne, Medi Elito and Yan Klukowski were all cautioned on that occasion.

Next comes the 1-0 home defeat to Mansfield Town on 3rd March 2015, a game in which the Stags eased their relegation worries thanks to Reggie Lambe’s late match winner. No cards brandished by Davies at Rodney Parade.

The remaining two matches can be found in the 2013/14 campaign, starting with the 1-0 victory for the Exiles in an Emirates FA Cup replay against Braintree Town on 19th November 2013. Robbie Willmott’s free-kick was enough to send County through to the Second Round of the competition, whilst Danny Crow was booked.

Davies’ list of County matches is completed by the 2-1 defeat to Mansfield Town on 8th March 2014. Rene Howe equalised in the game and was also booked, alongside yellow cards for Byron Anthony, Andrew Hughes and Chris Zebroski. 


Other League Two fixtures that night (All 7:45pm kick-offs)

Bury FC vs Cheltenham Town

Crewe Alexandra vs Cambridge United

Exeter City vs Macclesfield Town

Forest Green Rovers vs Colchester United

Grimsby Town vs Tranmere Rovers

Mansfield Town vs Crawley Town

MK Dons vs Morecambe

Notts County vs Carlisle United

Oldham Athletic vs Lincoln City

Swindon Town vs Stevenage

Yeovil Town vs Port Vale


Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, 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 7.30pm.

An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to #iFollowExiles.

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Match Reports

REPORT| Josh Sheehan's first goal of the season helps County to victory over Northampton Town

27 November 2018

Mac Morgan

Josh Sheehan’s first goal of the campaign saw Newport County AFC return to winning ways in League Two after a 3-1 victory against Northampton Town at Rodney Parade.

Sheehan’s superb curling effort from just outside the area gave County the lead on five minutes, Northampton striker Andy Williams levelled shortly after, but some super play and goals from Jamille Matt and Padraig Amond secured the Exiles a more than deserved victory.

The victory puts County back up to fourth in the League Two table and only outside the automatic promotion spots on goal difference, whilst the gap to the teams searching for a play-off berth has increased to a healthy four point cushion.

Mike Flynn elected to make three changes to the side that fell to a 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town on Saturday at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

After admitting he got his team selection wrong in Gloucestershire, Flynn reverted back to the 3-4-1-2 formation that has worked ever so effectively this season.

Captain Andrew Crofts was rewarded for his superb 45-minute cameo against the Robins with a first start since late August, with the midfielder well and truly over the worst of his nightmare spell on the side-lines.

Mark O’Brien also overcame a niggly injury problem to start from the off, whilst Josh Sheehan also came back in as the advanced midfielder in the trio.

Charlie Cooper, Cameron Pring and Antoine Semenyo all fell to the bench.

Northampton Town manager Keith Curle made just one change to his side that conceded a scrappy goal towards the end of the 2-2 home draw with Grimsby Town last time out.

That saw Jordan Turnbull replaced by Hakeem Odoffin, as the visitors went for a slightly bizarre formation at Rodney Parade and fielded a 4-1-2-1-2 system.

Both teams showed great intent from the off and in arguably the best opening 45 minutes of the season, County were immense in offence and built up a healthy advantage before the break.

Throughout the first-half, Crofts’ magnificent vision with looping through balls into the channels worked to advantageous effect and helped the Exiles take the lead after just five minutes.

Another exceptional pass found Butler free on the left-side and when he skipped past the challenge of away captain David Buchanan to drill a ball across the area, Josh Sheehan was there to curl into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The confidence that goal gave Sheehan was obvious to see, the midfielder having failed to score this season before the sumptuous finish, and the midfield trio were controlling the game quite comfortably in the preliminary stages.

But Northampton possess a team full of aerial threat and they found their equaliser with just 11 minutes of the contest played. Buchanan’s ball was knocked down by Kevin Van Veen and Andy Williams smashed into the far corner on the turn.

The intensity from both teams was clear to see as they tried to really get a foothold in the game and Tyreeq Bakinson then Sam Foley traded shots before the completion of 18 minutes.

Williams then missed a free header when he worked some space between Demetriou and Franks – and that would ultimately come back to haunt the visitors as County took command.

Some of the football was simply sublime, the return of Crofts evident for all to see, and Jamille Matt grabbed his 12th goal of the season on 29 minutes.

Dan Butler’s floated free-kick from wide went all the way to the far post and when Mark O’Brien rose highest to meet the delivery to head it across the face of goal, Matt had the simplest of jobs to send it on its way into the back of the net.   

You can talk about all the amazing and scintillating play from the Exiles in the opening half hour but the passage of play for the third goal might just top the lot.

We’ve had the 14-pass nine-man move for Amond’s goal at Cambridge United in the Carabao Cup, then it was a 15-pass and 35 touch goal at FGR from the Irishman – and it seems Amond likes to finish off the sumptuous goal and he netted on 33 minutes.

Some nice interchange on the left-side eventually set Bakinson through on goal, the pass into Amond was superb and the finish was even better – no goalkeeper in the world could have saved it as it ended up in the roof of the net with a first-time finish.  

Three minutes of added time were indicated at the end of a superb attacking half from the Exiles, but no further moments of magic could be produced before the whistle.

The second-half didn’t quite start off in the same manner as the first 45 minutes as the game quietened down to a much more manageable pace, although the Exiles weren’t sitting back trying to defend the lead, they were going for more goals and O’Brien almost smashed a volley on goal, but it was blocked.

Northampton’s substitutes in Billy Waters and Daniel Powell couldn’t provide the visitors any rest bite in the game as County continued to press, Matt thwarted by the legs of Cornell on 71 minutes.

The visitors did end the contest on the front foot, Powell seeing a shot blocked off the line by Franks and then denied by a goal saving tackle from O’Brien.

That was enough for the Exiles to secure a more than deserved victory – some much-needed confidence ahead of Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie at Wrexham.


Newport County AFC (3-4-1-2): Day, Butler, Demetriou, O’Brien, Franks, Pipe, Crofts (C), Bakinson, Sheehan, Matt (Semenyo 82’), Amond  

Subs not used: Townsend, Harris, Foulston, Pring, Cooper, Collins


Northampton Town (4-1-2-1-2): Cornell, Buchanan (C), Taylor, Pierre, Odoffin, O’Toole (Waters 45’), McWilliams, Foley, Van Veen (Powell 62’), Hoskins (Roberts 85’), Williams

Subs not used: Ward, Turnbull, Bridge, Williams


Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 2,730 (214 AWAY)

Next up for County: Wrexham (Saturday 1st December 2018)

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