The Exiles let a two-goal lead slip to draw with the Wombles at Rodney Parade...

The last game before Christmas for Newport County saw the visit of A.F.C Wimbledon to Rodney Parade with both sides hoping to go into the festive period with an extra three points in their account. Both sides were also coming off the back of defeat last weekend after Stevenage beat the Dons by two goals to one and Notts County cruelly denied County at Meadow Lane.

Newport had the first chance of the game after only four minutes following a super run by Mark Byrne through the middle of the park and he offloaded it to Medy Elito whose initial cross was blocked but he managed to get a foot to the rebound only to miss-kick horribly and send the ball very high and very wide of the top corner for a goal kick to the visitors. 

After a slight delay for some treatment to Robinson resulting in him going down the tunnel, Newport looked to capitalise on a brief spell with ten men and had a dangerous free kick after ten minutes that looked for Matt Partridge at the back post, but it was just over his head and out. Newport then took the lead from a fantastic strike from Alex Rodman from twenty five yards right into the top corner of the net and there was absolutely nothing Shea in the visiting goal could do.


Newport were totally dominant during this spell with an extra man and Oliver McBurnie was unlucky not to double the lead four minutes later when the ball span to him in the penalty area but his shot was deflected behind for a corner. O’Sullivan then had a chance from that corner but his half volley curled wide of the far post. 

Robinson then came back on the field after a ten minute absence but Newport continued to push forward looking to significantly capitalise on the momentum that they built up during the first twenty minutes of the game. Wimbledon looked a side in trouble who could barely get out of their half early on and Newport were desperate to get a second goal to properly consolidate their advantage. 

County then had a penalty shout after a lovely ball from Andrew Hughes set Tommy O’Sullivan clear of the defence and he then played in Oliver McBurnie who was brought down as he attempted to bring the ball under control, but the referee was quick to wave the cries of the crowd and the players away. After half an hour an own goal from Paul Robinson doubled Newport’s advantage as he desperately tried to get the ball off McBurnie and diverted it past his own keeper.


The game then quietened down for ten minutes until Lenell John Lewis took the ball around the keeper from a tight angle and tried to bury it into the back of the net but fired the ball wide with McBurnie screaming for the ball in the six yard box, many thought he should have pulled it back but with two defenders also in the vicinity, John-Lewis tried to use power to beat them and unfortunately just missed the net. Newport though were dominant throughout the first half, Wimbledon without a shot as the game headed into five minutes of added time. They did get one just before the half time whistle but it was from thirty yards out and comfortably blocked on the edge of the area by Matt Partridge.


The visitors though got off to the perfect start to the second half, scoring after only thirty nine seconds from a corner after Medy Elito miss-kicked his clearances and it fell to Taylor who was able to fire it right footed into the roof of the net from the edge of the area.


The game was suddenly on edge and very end to end with both sides having chances, Akinfenwa nearly levelled the game a couple of minutes later but Alex Rodman was able to get a shot away from a Newport corner that nearly found the top corner only a couple of minutes after that. The atmosphere around the ground changed as well, the visiting supporters began to find their voice and the faint murmur of the home supporters discussing between themselves could be heard around Rodney Parade.

Wimbledon came further into the game the more the game went on and County simply didn’t look as comfortable as they did in the first half, it was almost a straight reversal with Newport finding it difficult to get out of their half, they were losing every header and had their backs against the walls for the first fifteen minutes as the game reached the hour mark.

Newport weren’t without their own chances though and after the ball bobbled around the penalty area following a corner, Tommy O’Sullivan was able to chest the ball down thirty yards from goal and hit a right footed volley that wasn’t many feet over the crossbar. This signalled the start of a brief spell of pressure for the Exiles with numerous crosses going into the box, all though dealt with fairly comfortably by the Wimbledon back line. 

County then had the ball in the back of the net from a six yard tap in from Lenell John-Lewis sending the crowd into hysterics, only for the linesman’s flag on the near hand side to quickly silence them again. John Sheridan made a double substitution bringing on Scott Boden and Janoi Donacien with twenty minutes to go hoping to spark some more energy into the side with some fresh legs. 

Boden did make a quick impact, beating his marker down the left wing and crossing the ball in for a corner with fifteen minutes to go but it failed to clear the first man and was comfortably cleared away by Wimbledon. Newport began to look like the side they were in the first half again and whilst it was a much more open game in the second half, it didn’t look quite so much as though the visitors were going to even the game up. 

Then for the second time in as many games Newport gave up their two goal lead. After a brilliant ball down the line Lyle Taylor was left all alone in front of Joe Day and slotted it into the corner tying the game.


Wimbledon looked so promising going forward once the game was tied that many of the fans around the ground could see them winning it. Newport suddenly seemed to freeze, they were slow to every ball and the visitors were able to pass the ball around in the same way that County had when they had the man advantage earlier on in the game. 

The game was very nervous in the last five minutes of normal time with both sets of supporters knowing that the next delivery into the box could provide the winner. Mark Byrne and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb did their best to get County moving forward but the last pass always went astray and led to the visitors being able to counter the other way. 

There were four minutes of added time at the end of the second half and Newport were looking as though a point would suddenly be a good result for them. The result means that Newport stay seven points clear of the relegation zone going into the Christmas break but after the first half performance, manager John Sheridan will be disappointed with only a point.


Newport County: Day, O’Sullivan (Donacien 69’), Elito, John-Lewis, Hughes, Bennett, Partridge, Rodman, Barnum-Bobb, McBurnie (Boden 69’), Byrne (c)

Subs not used: Green, Holmes, Barrow, Taylor, Collins

Goals: Rodman 14’, Robinson O.G 29’


A.F.C Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller (c), Bulman, Robinson, Francomb, Meades, Azeez (Elliott 69’), Barcham, Osbourne (Fitzpatrick 77’), Toonga (Akinfenwa 34’), Taylor

Subs not used: McDonnell, Kennedy, Rigg, Sweeney

Goals: Taylor 46’, 79’

Bookings: Bulman

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Weston super mare)

Attendance: 2798 (247 away)

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