Accrington Stanley away
Lee Minshull secured a point for Newport County AFC with a last minute equaliser at the end of an entertaining game at the Storefirst Stadium in Accrington. A draw was probably a fair result as County deserved at least a point for their determination and resilience after twice going behind before Minshull struck to leave the final score 3-3.
Justin Edinburgh gave a debut to striker Rene Howe as the manager opted for a 5-3-2 formation with Willmott and Jackson being asked to play wing back roles in what was County’s first trip to this ground. The 158 supporters following Newport County AFC were given something to cheer earl y on as the away team started brightly with Ryan Burge prominent in the midfield. This was the former Port Vale man’s first start for the County and it was a foul on Burge that led to the opening goal. Robbie Willmott lined up the resultant free kick some 30 yards from the Accrington goal just to the left of centre. Willmott’s low curling effort seemed to dissect the wall leaving Bettinelli in the Stanley goal unsighted and nestled in the corner of the net to give the County the lead after 11 minutes.
County continued to have the upper hand in the opening 20 minutes and Howe was showing some neat approach play, allowing Washington to make runs further forward, as the front pairing kept the Stanley back line occupied. Gradually though the home side started to exert some pressure and veteran striker Webber was playing an increasingly influential role up front. It was Webber’s slide rule pass on 22 minutes that led to the equaliser as Murphy took a touch on the right hand side of the box before clipping a neat finish over the advancing Pidgeley.
Accrington were now in the ascendancy and County needed to weather the storm to get in at half time level. However, after an initial cross from Murphy was cleared the goal-scorer has a second opportunity to put the ball in the danger area. Murphy’s out-swinging cross from the right was met by the on-rushing Naismith at the near post 6 yards from goal and his challenge with Pidgeley was deemed fair with the ball hitting the back of the net to give the home side the lead on 44 minutes.
Half Time: 2-1
Edinburgh sent the team out 5 minutes early for the second half and whilst neither manager made any changes at half time, it was evident that the three man central midfield partnership of Pipe, Minshull and Burge were prepared to take risks and get forward to support the new look front 2 of Washington and Howe. It was these 2 that created the equaliser for County on 71 minutes as Howe flicked on a long ball to
Washington who showed fantastic vision to instantly hook the ball over his head as Burge ran on past the home defence to take one touch and control the ball on his chest and broke into the right hand side of the 18 yard box before driving a low controlled volley past the despairing dive of Bettinelli inside the near post.
The game was opening up and both managers made changes to try and claim all three points. Jolley came on for Washington on 79 minutes and Beattie responded with a double substitution for the home side as Webber and Naylor were replaced by Hatfield and Wilson 2 minutes later. Pipe was cautioned for a challenge on Joyce as the 2 captains epitomised the desire shown from both sides in searching for the winner. It seemed as though the home fans would be going home the happier as an out-swinging corner from the right was met at the near post by the ever willing runner Peter Murphy. His deft header sailed out of the each of Pidgeley into the top left hand corner of the goal to make the score 3-2 with 2 minutes to go.
However, in typical County style, their never say die attitude was rewarded with a calm finish from Minshull in the final minute of added time. Credit to Sandell, Burge and Willmott as they attacked down the left wing and after some neat interchange from all three Willmott sent an in-swinging right footed cross to the far post which eluded the Accrington back-line and Minshull controlled the ball expertly on his chest before poking the ball under the dive of Bettinelli. The reaction from the County players and those on the bench showed how important this well-earned point was and the squad will go into next weekend’s game at home to Dagenham & Redbridge in good spirits after this impressive fight-back.
Final Score: 3-3
County: Pidgeley, Pipe (Capt.), Yakubu, Minshull, Willmott, Sandell, Washington (Jolley 79), Burge, Jackson, Naylor, Howe
Subs: Hughes, James, Crow, Flynn, Jolley
Goals: Willmott (11), Burge (71), Minshull (90)
Bookings: Pipe, Howe
Accrington Stanley: Bettinelli, Murphy, Joyce (Capt.), Aldred, Winnard, Webber (Hatfield 81), Naismith, Mingoia, Hunt, Naylor (Wilson 81), Odejayi
Subs: McCartan, Roddan, Hatfield, Wilson, Windass, Atkinson, Bowerman
Goals: Murphy (22, 88), Naismith (44)
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 1,318 (158 County)