County 0-1 Morecambe
Newport County were hoping to make it two wins in a row as they faced a Morecambe side looking for their fourth consecutive win over the Exiles at Rodney Parade on a sunny and showery Saturday afternoon.
The home side started the stronger and were looking promising in the first few minutes of the game, winning a corner after only 26 seconds. The in swinging cross from Byrne was over everyone’s head and ran out of play for a throw in. Newport showed a lot of emphasis on playing the ball down the right with Jackson and Storey linking up well together in the early section of the game. However it was Morecambe who struck first completely against the run of play, when Jack Redshaw broke away from Yakubu and placed a shot across the face of Joe Day’s goal which rebounded in off the right hand post to give the visitors the lead after eight minutes.
Newport had the majority of the possession but failed to produce quality chances with the ball. Remaining focussed on wing play the side continued to try and wear down the Morecambe defence but to no avail. Mark Byrne had one of the best chances for Newport in the first half after he picked up the ball from Klukowski mid-way inside the Morecambe half, but his shot was tamely over the bar.
County came closer and closer to finding an equaliser as the half progressed but simply couldn’t break down the strong Morecambe defence. The visitors consistently had eight players behind the ball and Newport were unable to find a way through, with every shot and cross blocked before it troubled the keeper.
Morecambe came more and more into the game as it progressed and began to look dangerous towards the end of the half and were keen to increase their lead before the break. Redshaw cut inside Yakubu onto his left foot and fired a vicious shot that forced a good save out of Joe Day to keep the deficit to within one with less than five minutes to go in the half. Newport looked promising but the final ball was letting them down as they searched for a goal that would give them the momentum going into the second half and Redshaw’s eighth minute goal was still separating the teams at the break.
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY AFC 0 – 1 MORECAMBE FC
The amber army of 2883, minus 72 visiting fans, tried to get behind County as the came out for the second half and they started strongly. Robbie Willmott came on to replace Yan Klukowski after one minute of the second half and immediately began to make an impact down the left wing. His pace and skill caused a real problem for the Morecambe defence which conceded several corners at the beginning of the second half. Newport were certainly the stronger side right after half time.
The fans and players thought that County had equalised after fifty six minutes when Willmott curled a ball into the area that snuck into the bottom right hand corner of the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside against Shaun Jeffers who was deemed by the referee to have got a touch on the way through. This was only one of a few chances Newport had in the second half when they were by far the stronger side but with the rain intermittently falling it was becoming harder and harder to consistently string together passes, both sides turning the ball over several times.
County were knocking on the door for almost the entirety of the second half but could not find a way through. As in the first half the attacks came down the wings with crosses into the box but the sheer number of bodies in the way made it almost impossible to score. The closest opportunity fell again to Willmott who, in an almost identical play to the goal which was disallowed, curled a twenty five yard effort toward the back post which was just saved by Andreas Arestidou in the Morecambe goal with just a few moments left to play.
Newport were unable to find an equaliser and have fallen to eight in the table, two points off the playoff places with a tough game away at leaders Burton Albion next weekend before they are back at Rodney Parade on the third of March to face a struggling Mansfield Town.
FULL TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY AFC 0 – 1 MORECAMBE FC