County 1-1 Tranmere
A cold Tuesday night at Rodney Parade for Newport’s fixture against Tranmere Rovers, the Exiles were trying to bounce back from four defeats in a row whereas the visitors were trying to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. County made three changes to the side that started against Wimbledon, Feely, Zebroski and Chapman all gave way to Minshull, Storey and Willmott.
The game started at a fast pace with Tranmere having the first chance of the game when a 30 yard shot forced Joe Day to dive down to his left to parry it past the post. Just a few moments later Mark Byrne cut inside onto his left foot after a good run through the Tranmere half but his shot was comfortably saved by Fon Williams in goal.
Newport had a string of four corners in what was easily their best spell of the first half at the midway point and looked like scoring the opening goal, sadly however the final ball was unsuccessful on each occasion and they were unable to open the accounts. Concern for County on 28 minutes when Lee Minshull went down heavily after an ariel challenge and needed 8 minutes of treatment before being taken off on a stretcher to much applause.
This delay in the game took all the momentum out of County and they were not able to recover it in the remaining time and it was Tranmere who took the lead in the sixth minute of added time after catching Newport out with a quick free kick which was played across the face of goal and resulted in an easy tap in for Rory Donnelly to score his fourth goal in five games.
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY AFC 0 – 1 TRANMERE ROVERS
County came out in the second half a much stronger side and dominated in both possession and number of chances. Mark Byrne had the first chance ten minutes into the half when he headed goal wards from a Miles Storey cross but his effort was straight at the Tranmere keeper who was able to make a fairly comfortable save.
Byrne again was in on the action when his headed effort hit the bar from a Newport corner just after the hour mark and the resulting goal mouth scramble provided several opportunities for an amber shirt to poke the ball home but Rovers again managed to clear their lines. Just three minutes later and it was Aaron O’Connor’s turn to provide a decent opportunity for the Exiles, but his shot on the turn after Storey had pulled the ball back to him was saved by the keeper to keep the visitors a goal ahead.
County continued to press in a half where Tranmere rarely got out of their own half and they finally got their reward when Mark Byrne volleyed a twenty five yard ball towards goal which buried itself in the bottom corner beyond the reach of Fon Williams, and providing Newport with their first goal in a month.
This was Tranmere’s cue to pile the pressure back on County as they kicked their efforts up a gear but were unable to find a winning goal. The teams’ shared the points, Newport break their four game losing streak and remain in the playoff places by a single point ahead of their trip to third placed Wycombe on Valentine’s Day.
FULL TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY AFC 1 – 1 TRANMERE ROVERS