Scunthorpe Match Report
Newport County AFC more than matched their high flying opponents Scunthorpe United and Chris Zebroski's last minute volley was the least the home side deserved in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Rodney Parade.
Justin Edinburgh made 3 changes to the side that was defeated 2-1 in midweek against AFC Wimbledon as Minshull, Jackson and Howe came in for Chapman, Worley and Jolley and it was Jackson who provided the initial strides in the game attacking at every opportunity down the heavily sanded right side of the pitch in front of the Bisley stand.
County were dominant in the opening minutes and Sandell was unable to get a shot away from the edge of the area before Scunthorpe's captain Slocombe is the first keeper called into action saving bravely from Burge's drive. Burge was again in action on 14 minutes as Willmott's inviting left wing cross was scooped over the bar from the former Port Vale midfielder as Scunthorpe were living dangerously.
On 23 minutes County won a free kick on the right and Burge's in-swinging left foot cross was flicked on in the area and Minshull stooped to head home before the Scunthorpe defence could clear. A deserved lead for County midway through the first half.
The crowd at Rodney Parade were spurring the players on as the atmosphere on a cool St. David's Day was rising with the home side taking the game to their opponents at every opportunity. Scunthorpe were content to play on the break and Winnall and Syers, with 26 goals between them already this season being marshalled well by the back three of Yakubu, Anthony and Sandell.
Half Time 1-0
Neither manager made a change at half time and County wasted little time in attempting to double their lead when Zebroski went close with a snap shot from the left hand side of the six yard box drifting narrowly wide of the near post. Gradually, Scunthorpe were coming into the game as you would expect from a team that would go top of the table with victory and on 63 minutes good skill from Williams down the left resulted in a drilled cut back and Madden side footed home from six yards.
Scunthorpe were now in the ascendancy and County responded by replacing Howe for Jolley and Chapman coming on for Burge as we entered the final 10 minutes and Chapman was immediately into the action with a 20 yard volley going narrowly wide of Slocombe's right hand post. However, a break down the right by Ribeiro and then Winnall resulted in the ball being fired across the 18 yard box and Syers drove into the net from the edge of the area on 83 minutes.
County pressed forward and Jeffers came on for Porters in the final 5 minutes. Jackson then hit a left foot piledriver from the right hand edge of the 18 yard box that flashed wide as County looked for a deserved equaliser.
On 90 minutes Willmott's far post cross from the left found Minshull whose downward header was pushed into the air by Slocombe before Jolley and Mirfin challenged for the ball 1 yard from goal as it eventually looped over the bar for a corner. Willmott's corner caused confusion in the box and Zebroski reacted quickest to acrobatically volley home from six yards out in the centre of the goal and trigger wild celebrations from the County faithful in the ground. Despite 5 minutes of added time County couldn't get a third goal but showed the passion and desire that the Manager knows is in abundance in this squad.
Full time 2-2
County: Parish, Porter (Jeffers 86), Yakubu, Minshull, Zebroski, Willmott, Sandell, Burge (Chapman 79), Jackson, Anthony (Capt.), Howe (Jolley 74)
Subs: Chapman, Crow, Jeffers, Flynn, Naylor, Worley, Jolley
Goals: Minshull 24, Zebroski 90
Scunthorpe: Slocombe (Capt.), Ribeiro, McAllister (Sparrow 80), Mirfin, Canavan, Hawkridge (Adelakun 65), Nolan, Syers, Madden, Winnall (Waterfall 87), Williams
Subs: Severn, Dawson, Sparrow, Waterfall, Adelakun, McSheffrey, Hayes
Goals: Madden 61, Syers 83
Bookings: Williams, Canavan, Madden
Referee: Carl Berry