Chris Gadsby reflects on the first month of the season.
Newport County’s second season back in the football league did not start as well as many fans would have hoped. Losing the first three games in the league and the first round of the Capital One Cup to Championship side Reading, it was not until Burton Albion came to Rodney Parade that the Exiles got their first point on the board, and the first win came right at the end of the month when the Amber Army visited Fratton Park on the South coast.
Saturday 9thAugust – Wycombe Wanderers (H) – Lost 2-0 – League Position: 23rd - HIGHLIGHTS
After a successful pre-season Newport suffered an opening day defeat to Wycombe Wanderers when two goals for the visitors within the last five minutes of the first half was enough to bring defeat upon Newport. After one game it was only Morecambe’s 3-0 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge that prevented County from propping up the football league.
Tuesday 12thAugust – Reading (A) – Lost 3-1 – Eliminated from Capital One Cup: 1stRound - HIGHLIGHTS
A trip to the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night saw Newport face a difficult first round game in the Capital One Cup against Championship side Reading. It was a game which nobody expected Newport to win and indeed that was the case. A last minute goal for Shaun Jeffers gave Newport their first goal of the season but it was not enough as Reading ran out winners and went on to face Scunthorpe United in the second round before eventually losing to Derby County in round three.
Saturday 16thAugust – Morecambe (A) – Lost 3-2 – League Position: 21st - HIGHLIGHTS
Back in the league and the second of three away games in a row for Newport. This time they came up against top of the table Morecambe and threw away a two goal lead after Adam Chapman and Aaron O’Connor gave the Exiles a two goal lead before the half hour mark. Three goals from the home side in the second half, including the winner from Paul Mullin five minutes from the end. Morecambe remained at the head of the pack but the two goals for Newport did improve the goal difference significantly enough to lift them into twenty first in the league and out of the relegation zone.
Tuesday 19thAugust – Mansfield Town (A) – Lost 1-0 – League Position: 22nd - HIGHLIGHTS
It was a long trip up to Nottinghamshire next for Newport and it was a strike in the second minute by Chris Clements that gave the home side the lead and no matter what County tried they could not find a way through the Stags defence. After three games in the league Newport were still yet to register a point, thankfully the same could be said for Accrington, Hartlepool and Oxford United
Saturday 23rdAugust – Burton Albion (H) – Drew 1-1 – League Position: 22nd - HIGHLIGHTS
Newport then returned to Rodney Parade to face a Burton Albion side who had a 100% record for the season. A Chris Zebroski goal eight minutes before half time had given County the lead going into the break although this only lasted for six minutes once the sides came back out for the second half. The point for Newport was their first of the season and was enough to keep them just outside of the relegation zone.
Saturday 30thAugust – Portsmouth (A) – Won 1-0 – League Position: 19th - HIGHLIGHTS
A trip to Fratton Park concluded the opening month for Newport and they went to Portsmouth still looking for their first win of the season. Substitute Andy Sandell score a free kick five minutes from the end, inflicting the first defeat of the season on Pompey and giving County their first victory.
With the first five games of the season having been played Newport found themselves in nineteenth in the league having only won one game. September however would prove to be a completely opposite month for the Exiles, unbeaten in the league and only two points outside the playoff places when the month of September had been completed.