County out despite late comeback
Newport County AFC faced Swindon Town on Tuesday evening in the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy - southern section. A goal just before half time from Jon Obika gave Swindon the lead, Andy Williams then doubled the lead for Swindon just past the hour mark. Yan Klukowski pulled one back for County in the last ten minutes but it wasn't enough as County exit at Round one of this years competition.
In the first minute of the game Swindon had an instant corner that was cleared by Adam Chapman. County then worked their way into the box as Aaron O'Connor found himself in the area, the Swindon defence recovered well and cleared for a corner.
With just 11 minutes gone County were forced to make their first substitution as Mike Flynn was replaced by youngster Aaron Collins for his home debut. Lee Minshull then tried his luck from range as his shot whistled past Belford's post for a goal kick.
Just minutes later Yan Klukowski met a Robbie Willmott cross that was just over the bar. Then came the first clear cut chance of the night as the ball flashed across the goal, Andy Williams found himself with a tap in at the far post, but it was just out of reach of the Robins player.
Keeper Joe Day made a save at the feet of Bradley Smith to avoid going behind in the tie. Good work by Robbie Willmott down the left hand side ended with him pulling the ball back to Christian Jolley whose effort was wide of the target. The next incident of note was the introduction of the vanishing spray, with Yan Klukowski picking up a yellow card for getting too close before the free kick was taken.
Swindon's Jake Reeves shot from distance cannoned off the crossbar and away to safety with seven minutes left before half time. The Swindon fans thought they had scored with five minutes remaining as Joe Day's save rebounded back towards goal, only for Adam Chapman to clear as the ball headed towards goal.
Just as the fourth official signaled the additional minutes at the end of the first half, Jon Obika headed home from a couple of yards out to give Swindon the lead going into half time. Christian Jolley nearly replied instantly but his chipped effort found it's way into the hands of Tyrell Belford.
Debutant Aaron Collins was replaced at half time after suffering with concussion following a first half free kick, on loan striker Joe Pigott replacing the County youngster. Swindon picked up from were they left off and Jon Obika went close as his turn on the edge of the box ended with his shot hitting the side netting, just moments later Obika went close again but this time his shot found it's way safely over the bar.
County went close to leveling the tie as Aaron O'Connor found himself at the back post only to see his header back across goal end up wide of the far post. Swindon doubled their lead just after the hour mark as Andy Williams managed to break into the box and chipped keeper Day to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
Obika was at it again with 20 minutes left this time captain Andy Sandell making the block on the edge of the box. This was followed up by a double block and save for County as Christian Jolley threw himself in front of the first shot with Joe Day saving from the follow up.
With just 15 minutes left County continued to press, Lee Minshull cut out a loose pass and run into the box, he found Chris Zebroski on the edge of the area whose shot deflected wide for a corner. As the clock continued to count down County managed to pull one back, Yan Klukowski tapping in from close range after good work by Aaron O'Connor to put the ball back across the face of goal.
Despite the County pressure Swindon continued to be dangerous in attack as George Baker's shot cannoned off the post and safely away. As the fourth official signaled a minimum of five minutes, the home support believed there was an equaliser to come and they so nearly got what they had been waiting for, Joe Pigott's back heel at the front post was heading towards goal before Belford somehow managed to get his hands to it. County had a corner in 94th minute of the game with keeper Joe Day going up to attack. As the ball was played in a near post flick on ended up being cleared off the line with nearly the last kick of the game.
As the ball was cleared the referee blew the full time whistle to see Swindon through to the second round of the cup despite the late comeback from County. Manager Justin Edinburgh commented after the game "we always have to look at the positives and with the disruption we have had over the last 24/48 hours leading up to the game in terms of illnesses and injuries and with the double injury during the game, I thought the players were very good tonight and gave a good account of themselves against an excellent team".