MATCH REPORT: Cirencester Town 0-5 County
A sunny and humid Corinium Stadium was the host to a professional Newport County display on Saturday afternoon. Circencester came into the game with confidence after a midweek draw with Bristol Rovers, but that confidence was matched by a Newport County side determined not to come unstuck against their Southern League Premier opponents. A first half goal for Aaron O'Connor set County on their way as second half goals from Rene Howe (2), Joe Parker and Mike Flynn sealed a fine win for Edinburgh's men.
Justin Edinburgh gave trialist's Joe Carter, Sheldon Sellars and Jack Simmons a chance to impress in the starting eleven, but it was Chris Zebroski who had the early chances for County within the first ten minutes, both attempts going just wide of the Cirencester goal. It was trialist Jack Simmons who had the next chance to open the scoring as Lee Minshull's pin point cross was narrowly missed by Simmons at the far post.
It was the Cirencester pitch which was next to take centre stage, as a bobble nearly caught out Lenny Pidgeley who recovered well to clear to safety. Chris Zebroski went close again on 22 minutes as his shot from the edge of the area narrowly missed Garner's left hand post. Cirencester's Jamie Reid went for goal from distance just minutes later and he watched his shot fly over the bar. Ismail Yakubu was next to go close for County as he met Chapman's corner with a glancing header that just went over the bar.
Approaching the half hour mark Jack Simmons thought he was through on goal before being hacked down by a last ditch challenge, that would have possibly seen red during a competitive game. Simmons was involved again as he had an attempt cleared off the line after meeting Lee Minshull's cross in the 31st minute. Just when Simmons may have thought his luck was out for the day, it was his cross that went through the legs of Yan Klukowski only to fall to Aaron O'Connor who finished from close range.
Half time saw 10 changes to the first half XI as only Lenny Pidgeley remained and it was a second half which saw County dominate. The half was only five minutes old when Christian Jolley worked his way into the box to tee up Rene Howe to double the lead with a well placed finish into the top left hand corner. Trilaist Mark Byrne was also involved in the second half as his pass found Shaun Jeffers who saw his shot deflected wide for a corner. It was Jeffers again involved just a minute later as Jolley's cross was headed just over.
Youngster Joe Parker made a darting run into the box before cutting the ball back only to see it cleared by the Centurions defence. At this point County were pressing hard for another goal to add to the tally and it eventually came through Rene Howe who claimed his second goal of the game, powerfully finishing from within the area.
As the hour mark passed County were becoming more and more comfortable in the game and looked certain to add to their three goals. It was Jeffers who had a fantastic chance to score in the 66th minute following an accurate cross from Joe Parker which found Rene Howe who headed down to Jeffers only to see his effort go over the bar from close range. Just three minutes later County did find their fourth goal of the afternoon as Joe Parker picked up the ball and weaved his way into the box before calmly slotting the ball into the net with a calm and composed finish from the youngster.
As the half started to near it's end there were plenty more chances for County to extend their lead. Mike Flynn's shot from the edge of the box was diverted towards goal by Jeffers who saw his effort well saved. Flynn did however get his goal after he headed home from a well worked move that saw almost every County player touch the ball during a string of passes that was neatly off by Flynn.
As the full time whistle blew County fans who traveled to Cirencester would not have been disappointed with this performance and neither was manager Justin Edinburgh who commented "again on a difficult surface, certainly second half once we got a couple of goals ahead we moved the ball well, some good movement but again a very good physical workout and a fitness exercise that we're pleased with and we came through it with no injuries so we're very very pleased." Justin also commented on goal scorer Joe Parker saying "he was a little bit stiff on Tuesday night so we took precaution and he's played today and looks an exciting prospect and a bright talent, he gives us a new dimension, very quick and agile and took his goal very well". Joe commented saying "I really enjoyed it and it was good to get forty five minutes".