Newport County AFC v Northampton Town FC
Newport County AFC suffered their second home league defeat of the season against a buoyant Northampton Town team who looked anything but a bottom of the table team with a spirited performance running out 2-1 winners on a heavy pitch at Rodney Parade.
County made 3 changes from the team that lost 1-0 at Burton Albion in their previous fixture. In came Yakubu, Naylor and Crow to replace Oshilaja, Jackson and Washington as Justin Edinburgh kept the same 3-4-3 attacking formation that has led to such a successful first half of the season.
It was a credit to the ground-staff at Rodney Parade and the determination of the officials at Newport County AFC that the game went ahead as the referee made two visits on the day of the game to inspect the surface. Thankfully, by the time of the second assessment at 12:30pm, there was a marked improvement and it was game on at last!
Northampton started the brighter of the two teams and their new signings of German and Hope were making an instant impression keeping the new defensive line of Worley, Naylor and Yakubu on their toes.
Northampton struck the bar from a cross that eluded everyone and their strong first half display was capped with a goal on 29 minutes when Moyo (an early substitute for Emerton on the wing) found Hope who finished at the second attempt after Pidgeley parried his initial effort.
As the half reached a conclusion County came back into the game and from a corner on the left hand side Worley rose highest at the far post to equalise with a powerful downward header past Duke in the Northampton Goal.
Half Time 1-1
The second half was barely 2 minutes old when a corner by Northampton Town was cleared to the edge of the area and Darren Carter calmly stroked the ball home with an accurate side footed finish that curled into the corner of the net giving Pidgeley no chance. A quality finish from the former Birmingham City midfielder on his return from suspension.
This sparked Newport County AFC into life and the majority of the last 40 minutes of the game was played in the Northampton Town half with the visitors being reduced to rare counter attacks as County tried to find an equaliser.
Duke made two great saves in quick succession from Willmott before Edinburgh made a double substitution as Minshull and Washington replaced Flynn and Jolley. Conor Washington was immediately in the action as a positive run down the right led to a low driven cross which eluded Willmott at the far post as he slid in to connect.
Ryan Burge then came on for Yakubu as the County manager went for it and it nearly paid off as Burge anticipated a Minshull header and was through on goal before dragging his shot wide of the right hand post from 6 yards out. Minshull was again involved after 87 minutes when he had his legs taken from him on the right hand edge of the area and a penalty was awarded after the referee consulted with his assistant.
Andy Sandell stepped up to take the penalty kick but his low placed effort was superbly saved by Matt Duke diving to his right to push the shot round the post. Despite pushing Worley up front Northampton Town held on for a 2-1 victory to leave home fans and players alike extremely frustrated.
Newport County AFC: Lenny Pidgeley, David Pipe, Ismail Yakubu (sub Ryan Burge 72), Adam Chapman, Danny Crow, Robbie Willmott, Andy Sandell, Mike Flynn (sub Lee Minshull 64), Tom Naylor, Harry Worley, Christian Jolley (sub Conor Washington 64)
Subs not used: Max Porter, Tony James, Ryan Jackson, Deji Oshilaja
Northampton Town: Matt Duke, Kevin Amankwaah, Ben Tozer, Paul Reid, Lee Collins, Chris Hackett, Gary Deegan, Darren Carter, Danny Emerton (sub David Moyo 24), Antonio German (sub Ivan Toney 89), Hallam Hope (sub Matt Harriott 77)
Subs not used: Heath, Hooper, Demontagnac, Roberts
Referee: Fred Graham
Attendance: 3,864 (Away 351)