Three points for ChristmasNewport County AFC claimed three points to move level on points with Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day after goals from Chris Zebroski and Mark Byrne.
County started the game brightly and put Plymouth under some early pressure, with the Amber Army in full voice behind them. Just two minutes in and good work from Ryan Jackson earned County the first corner of the game. From the corner it was Ismail Yakubu who connected with Andy Sandell's cross, Yakubu seeing his header cleared off the line and away for another corner for County.
With County pressure building and more chances falling to County, the deadlock was soon to be broken. Chris Zebroski got the break through in the ninth minute, meeting the ball at the far post to head past McCormick and give County a deserved lead.
Just a minute later and County nearly doubled their advantage, Chris Zebroski and Shaun Jeffers linking up well only to see Jeffer's effort a whisker away from making it two. On 17 minutes another dangerous free kick was delivered in by Captain Sandell, the ball bobbling around the penalty area somehow staying out and cleared to safety.
As the half went on Plymouth began to settle into the game, Alessandra having the first chance of the game from distance, but his effort was wide and away for a goal kick. With ten minutes remaining in the first half and the rain increasing in intensity, Plymouth had another chance as Reuben Reid was denied by Jamie Stephens who was off his line to save at the feet of the Argyle striker.
HALF TIME: County 1-0 Plymouth
Plymouth began the second half brightly and Reid was first to try his luck, his shot from distance was safely gathered by County keeper Jamie Stephens. Stephens was involved again just three minutes later as Plymouth Argyle's Anthony O'Connor found himself with space inside the area to head towards goal only to be denied by a fantastic save from Jamie Stephens.
Reuben Reid had been lively throughout the game and just after the hour mark he connected with his first time effort to send it whistling past the post. Then came a flurry of chances for County as Mark Byrne, substitute Rene Howe and Byrne again had attempts at goal one after another, denied by the Argyle defence.
Plymouth continued to push for an equaliser, Kelvin Mellor worked his way into the area cutting inside only to put his effort behind for a goal kick. With 15 minutes remaining in the game, there were big shouts for a penalty from the away fans but the referee waved away the claims. Mellor continued to push forward and his effort was blocked by Regan Poole who through himself in front of the ball, the danger wasn't over yet as Reuben Reid put his follow up over the bar.
As we entered the final 10 minutes of the game Chris Zebroski went close to getting his second goal of the game, his header clipping the cross bar on it's way over the bar for a goal kick. But County didn't have to wait long to double their advantage, as Mark Byrne's flick on from a County corner ended up in the back of the net to make it County 2-0.
Argyle kept pushing to try and get one back as Reuben Reid's shot from the edge of the box cannoned off the cross bar and then just a minute later to be denied again by Jamie Stephens pushing it away for a Plymouth throw.
FULL TIME: County 2-0 Plymouth