County 3-2 Northampton
2875 football fans witnessed an entertaining affair between Newport County and Northampton Town at Rodney Parade, which ended 3-2 to the hosts.
Goals from Chris Zebroski, Captain Darren Jones and Lee Mishull proved enough to see off the late efforts from the visitors.
County dominated from the first whistle, winning the majority of the ball in midfield. It wasn’t long before The Cobblers goal keeper, Jordan Archer was busy. Mark Byrne found himself fouled thirty yards from goal, Robbie Willmott struck the ball on target, however the effort was comfortably saved by Archer.
It wasn’t long after the first chance that County were knocking on the door. Zebroski picked up the loose ball down the right hand side, he made good ground before playing a delicate ball to the back post. Willmott controlled to play the ball to Byrne, who stepped up to hit first time, however the ball flew inches past the post, a great opportunity for County.
County continued to dominate, playing with confidence and purpose, they continued to press. The pressure paid off in the seventeenth minute, Zebroski picking up a poor clearance from the Northampton defence, placing the ball beyond the reaches of Archer, following great work from Ryan Jackson.
The Cobblers struggled throughout the first half to gain any pressure or sustained possession, however, a long ball over the top of the County defence by Chris Hackett, it was then struck first time on the volley by Ivan Toney, only to see Joe Day diving to his left to complete a terrific save.
Following the Toney scare, County continued to build from the defence, passing short and keeping the ball on the ground, a pleasure to watch. In the thirty second minute, the County pressure paid off. Northampton again, failed to clear their lines from a set piece, the ball fell to Willmott, who had his effort blocked, but only to see the deflection fall to Captain, Jones who struck the ball ferociously into a crowded box. The keeper committed to his right, only to see the ball deflect off a Cobbler defender, which sent the home support into celebration.
It was a sluggish start from County, to the second half. However, County looked comfortable in the early stages, dealing with the Northampton advances with ease.
It was Newport County who struck the first blow in the second. Cobbler, Ryan Watson, fouled Byrne 30 yards out, a foul which warranted a yellow card. The following free kick was delivered by mid weeks goal scorer, Willmott, who delivered with quality. The delivery was met by number eight, Minshull, who headed over a stranded Archer, who was left to pick the ball from his net.
At 3-0, County looked comfortable, and the more dangerous when going forward. In the 68thminute, Ryan Cresswell was perceived to have impeded Day before heading into an empty net. The referee was left with no choice but to disallow the defenders effort.
In the 75th minute, substitute Lawson D'Ath struck from 20 yards, his effort finding the top right hand corner with just 15 minutes left to play it was 3-1.
In the 84thminute as the game progressed into a frantic finish. Northampton claimed another second half goal, as another substitute, Daniel Alfei delivered a delicate chip into the County danger area, which was headed powerfully by striker, Marc Richards into Day’s goal.
Northampton pressed for the equaliser, continuing to bombard the home team’s goal, only to see a dominant Day continue unscathed.
In the four minutes of added time the Cobblers could only conjure up a late set piece which was saved comfortably by the keeper.
Newport shall carry this positive result and performance into their next fixture, which sees the Exiles travel to Tranmere on Tuesday night.