Newport County AFC suffered their first League defeat since November 2nd as a strong Burton Albion side secured all three points with their top marksman Billy Kee scoring the only goal after 79 minutes.
County were unchanged from the team that defeated Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 in their previous game with Burton Albion only making one change from the eleven that defeated Northampton Town 1-0 on Boxing Day.
From the start it was evident that Burton were confident in their home surroundings of the Pirelli Stadium having been unbeaten there during their last 6 league and cup games. Manager Gary Rowett was determined to keep the momentum going that saw the home side go into the game one point and one place above County.
Playing Billy Kee up front alongside Adam McGurk meant the back three of Sandell, Oshilaja and Worley were kept busy from the first whistle. It was County though in all white who created the first chance in the opening minute when Sandell’s long ball picked out Jolley on the right and he attacked the full back before the cross was blocked by the covering defender Sharps.
It was Burton who grew in stature however, and McDonald down the right hand side was testing Ryan Jackson and Sandell and similarly Jimmy Phillips was teasing Pipe and Worley on the opposite side. From an early corner on the left, the ball made its way to the near post where Phil Edwards hooked the ball onto the underside of the bar from three yards out before Oshilaja cleared.
Burton again threatened as Phillips got to the by-line and cut the ball back to the far post where McDonald headed back across goal to McGurk who could only head into the grateful arms of Lenny Pidgeley. On 35 minutes another Burton corner from the left was drilled to the far post where Candell-Sherriff met it with a firm header on the run, but fortunately for County Pidgeley was in the right place again to turn the ball away with a fantastic point blank save.
Despite the front three of Washington, Jolley and Willmott alternating positions to unsettle the Burton defence, chances were few and far between as the first half came to an end and it was Burton Albion who looked most dismayed coming in at the break level at 0-0.
Newport County AFC started brightly in the second half with Chapman and Flynn shooting from distance as the away side tried to produce some concerted pressure on the Burton back line. However, Burton were equal to the task and McDonald was creating openings down the right hand side with Robbie Weir becoming increasingly influential in midfield.
Adam McGurk ran at the Newport County AFC defence on the hour mark and unleashed a 25 yard that was deflected past Pidgeley but rebounded off the post before being cleared to safety by Jackson.
Pidgeley again came to County’s rescue with another save from a close range header from Kee before an in-swinging free kick from McGurk was turned in by Billy Kee on 78 minutes for the only goal of the game.