County 1-1 Cambridge
County leave it late to snatch a point at Rodney Parade. Former Cambridge United star settles an old score, as County claim a point at home.
A late equalising goal from midfielder Robbie Willmott earns Newport County a deserved point versus Cambridge United in dramatic fashion. The game at Rodney Parade started in a nervous manner. Both teams struggled to take control, Newport and Cambridge losing possession in midfield but as the game settled, County began to dominate.
With six minutes on the clock, County won a corner. It was delivered with pace from Mark Byrne, Lee Minshull lost his marker to beat the keeper, only to see his effort cleared off the line by U’s defender Matteo Lanzoni. County continued to press, predominantly from wide as Robbie Willmott and Ryan Jackson looked to exploit the Cambridge wingbacks. From the pressure, a corner was conceded. Byrne delivered with quality to the back post, it was headed back across goal by Captain Darren Jones and met by Aaron O’Connor, however, his effort was always rising.
The Exiles continued to add pressure throughout, finding most success down the left, through wingback, Willmott. His direct running, along with pace and skill caused the U’s trouble throughout the half. Willmott broke free in the 18th minute of the game, leaving the defenders stranded. However his delivery was not of the same standard. Continuous pressure from County led to yet another chance in the 36th minute. Willmott, again, crossing from the left. It was attacked by Minshull, only to see Cambridge goalkeeper, Chris Dunn, make an excellent save to his left. The rebound fell to Jackson, his effort was blocked again by the resilient Cambridge defence.
The second half started very much like the first. However, it did not mirror the outcome of the first. Cambridge substitute, Luke Chadwick, found himself in space just three minutes in and the former Manchester United man, picked his spot and placed the ball past County keeper, Joe Day. Following the Cambridge goal, County struggled to find the possession and initiative, which was visible throughout the first half. In the 66th minute, County began to maintain pressure. This was on show when the ball fell to Byrne, outside of the box, struck an impressive effort towards Dunn’s net. To the disappointment of the home crowd, the ball cannoned off the crossbar with Dunn stranded.
The goalmouth activity continued with 69 minutes on the clock, County carved open the U’s defence. The ball was worked from the right hand side, delivered from Jackson, the initial ball was cleared, only to fall to Adam Chapman, who struck the ball first time with a ferocious volley. Heading for the target, the ball deflected off a Cambridge defender, sending the ball agonisingly wide. Substitute Yan Klukowski burst from midfield, leaving the trailing defenders in his shadow. Through on goal, Klukowski opted to pass, the ball fell perfectly to former Cambridge United man and Willmott eased the ball past Dunn, sending the Exiles into celebration, leaving the traveling support into despair.
With the score at 1-1, Newport continued to press late into injury time. However, five minutes proved little help as the traveling U’s held on to claim a point at Rodney Parade.
Justin Edinburgh commented after the game "we were outstanding tonight and if we had come away with the nothing it would have been a travesty. From the edge of our box to the balls into the box, was as good as we have seen for a long, long while, but we need to be more clinical, it's probably the only thing letting us down right now is that ruthless edge in front of the opposition box. But I believe in the players and that will come."