Fleetwood Town Match Report
Newport County AFC started brightly again in front of a big home crowd at Rodney Parade on Tuesday night with many people taking advantage of the £5 entry offer.
The pitch was not favourable for either team to play a passing game and the supporters were subject to a direct style dictated by the heavy conditions underfoot. County attempted to play football when possible but Fleetwood were organised led by Pond and Roberts at the back. It was Pond who came close for the visitors on 6 minutes from a free kick on the right but his header was straight at Parish.
County responded with a succession of corners and Zebroski managed to turn and shoot from the edge of the box after 9 minutes after a corner was initially cleared but his effort went wide of Maxwell's post.
On 15 minutes Fleetwood has a chance to take the lead but Taylor's effort was dragged wide of Parish's upright after going through one on one with the keeper. Burge was breaking through and linking well with Zebroski and Howe and after 16 minutes good link up play between Burge and Howe led to the former Port Vale midfielder attempting to chip Maxwell but the keeper saved well.
Maxwell was alert to the danger of County and was often seen as a sweeper controlling the ball comfortably and spreading play with passes to his full backs. Just before half time a close range header from Bell is well saved from Parish after Sandell went into the book for a late challenge on Evans. Neither team could break the deadlock as the referee blew for half time.
It was County who were on the front foot as they attacked the North Terrace end in the second half with Willmott causing panic in the Fleetwood defence down the left in front of an animated Hazell Stand. Maxwell could only parry Willmott's cross on 48 minutes but the defence cleared as Howe closed in. County were playing some neat football now and Burge danced around 2 tackles in midfield before unleashing a 20 yard drive that just cleared the bar. Flynn replaced Porter after 64 minutes and the former Blackpool midfielder was straight in the action probing on the edge of the area and a pinpoint pass from Flynn on 68 minutes found Zebroski inside the area but his cut back from the right beat Maxwell only to bounce up off the uneven turf onto Howe's knee and the ball looped almost apologetically over the bar.
Willmott then stung the palms of Maxwell with a 25 yard free kick and from the resultant corner a scramble in the 6 yard box led to panic in the Fleetwood ranks but eventually the ball was cleared much to the frustration of the majority of people in the ground.
Yakubu made a strong challenge on Jamille Matt on 75 minutes and never fully recovered so was replaced by Hughes for the last 13 minutes as County continued to look for the elusive opening goal. In the final minute the visitors claimed a penalty after a corner from the left was met by Minshull and the ball hit the midfielder in the midriff before being cleared.
Once again County displayed superb commitment and were the dominant side as they continue their fine run at home remaining unbeaten against sides above them in the table and are showing that they have nothing to fear in this league.
Full time: 0-0
County: Parish, Porter (Flynn 65), Yakubu (Capt) (Hughes 77), Minshull, Zebroski, Willmott, Sandell, Burge, Jackson, Naylor, Howe
Subs: Hughes, Chapman, Crow, Jeffers, Flynn, Jolley, Holloway
Fleetwood: Maxwell, Murdoch, Roberts (Capt.), Pond, Evans, Schumacher, Matt, Goodall, McLaughlin, Sarcevic, Taylor
Subs: Davies, Parkin, Hughes, Morris, Jordan, Mandron, Marrow
Referee: Geoff Eltringham