County win on Boxing Day at Wycombe
Newport County AFC kicked off the Boxing Day programme with a hard fought 1-0 victory at Adams Park against a well organised Wycombe Wanderers.
The 12:30 kick off seemed to affect the home side more than County and it was the men in Amber who dominated the early stages of the match. Roared on by 423 Newport County AFC fans, the away team gave the supporters plenty of encouragement from the start. Indeed, it was a subdued atmosphere in three ends of the ground with the majority of the 3,512 crowd unable to muster the noise required to lift the home side.
Justin Edinburgh again named an attacking 3-4-3 formation with Conor Washington starting in a central position and Christian Jolley and Robbie Willmott switching wings in the opening period. Adam Chapman was prominent in the centre of midfield as Mike Flynn provided the security in front of the back four which allowed Chapman to display his creativity. This was in evidence as early as the tenth minute when Chapman played a crisp pass from just outside the centre circle to Washington on the left hand side of the 18 yard box before Kortney Hause made a last ditch tackle to deny the County striker.
Chapman was again the architect of County’s next chance as he controlled a clearance on his chest before volleying a 40 yard pass to Willmott on the left wing. Ryan Jackson was in support but the ball into the box came to nothing.
Newport County AFC were now in the ascendancy and a succession of corners resulted in further chances for the away side. Firstly, Willmott’s in swinger from the left evaded everybody but the ball wouldn’t drop for Harry Worley and Wycombe were able to clear. The home side failed to take heed of the warning and a corner from the right had side, again from Willmott, ended at the feet of Jolley who placed a left foot volley towards goal. However, the bar came to the rescue of the Wanderers and after it bounced out from the under-side of the bar the ball was again cleared by the home defence.
This sparked Wycombe into action, and the front two of Dean Morgan and Jo Kuffour showed their pace and understanding by creating their first real chance of note. County failed to clear on the right hand side of their own area and Kuffour cut into the 18 yard box before opening his body and lifting it over the advancing Lenny Pidgeley. David Pipe was doing a captain’s job and was able to clear off the line to prevent a certain goal.
On 31 minutes the breakthrough came and it was County who provided the stand out moment of the match. Jolley, who had moved back over to the left side, cut inside and managed to toe poke the ball to Chapman who was in a central position 40 yards from goal. Mike Flynn made a forward run into the Wycombe penalty area and Chapman played a lofted reverse path directly onto the advancing Flynn. Without breaking stride Flynn instinctively flicked the ball over the on rushing Matt Ingram in the Wycombe goal and the ball landed softly into the corner of the net for an exquisite goal.
Adam Chapman was now in charge of the game and dominating the midfield. Jolley and Willmott were attacking the home side’s full backs and Washington was a willing runner as ever pushing the home side back as half time approached. Jolley cut in from the right hand side beating two player and his goal bound curling shot was headed away by Anthony Stewart to prevent a second goal.
Just before half time Wycombe made an enforced change as the injured Morgan was replaced by Matt McClure and soon after they earned their first corner but after Deji Oshilaja had cleared the initial danger Matt Bloomfield’s drive was straight at Pidgeley and it was County who went in at the break with a deserved 1-0 lead.
The second half started in similar fashion as to the first with the away side on top and causing the back line of Wycombe problems. Jolley was increasing in confidence and Willmott was linking well with Jackson to pin the home side back. However, Billy Knott came on for Max Kretzschmar and immediately the Wanderers provided a more attacking threat. On the hour mark McClure broke free 35 yards from goal and as he got inside the area and elected to shoot, Ryan Jackson produce a goal saving block and was rightly congratulated by his team mates.
This seemed to spark the home side into action and minutes later Ryan Jackson received a yellow card for bringing down Wycombe’s Marvin McCoy. The full back McCoy was becoming increasingly used as a right winger as the pressure increased on the County defence but Andy Sandell, Worley and Oshilaja were holding firm and restricting Wycombe to long distance efforts and deep crosses that were often taken out by Pidgeley.
The front three for Newport County AFC were taken off in quick succession and Danny Crow, Tom Naylor and Ryan Burge replaced Conor Washington, Robbie Willmott and Christian Jolley respectively. This created a strong base for County to ensure they left with a clean sheet and it could have been a greater victory if Tom Naylor’s 20 yard volley had been inches the other side of the post.
Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth threw on youngster Paris Cowan-Hall for Jo Kuffour in a final attempt to salvage a point but the County squad held firm despite several corners in added time for the home side.
A fantastic 1-0 away victory for Newport County AFC and the whole squad and staff went over to the travelling Amber Army to show their appreciation at their non-stop singing and support. Next up is Burton Albion away in a crowded holiday period before the County return to Rodney Parade for their New Year’s Day match against Oxford United.