Chris Gadsby reflects on a mixed month of results in January.
After half of the season Newport were only four points off the top of the table and three points from automatic promotion. A golden season was in store if they could keep up the magnificent run that they had been on before Christmas, but a run of five games without a win halted their stride and they struggled to find consistent form after that.
Saturday 3rdJanuary – Carlisle United (H) – Won 2-1 – League Position: 4th - HIGHLIGHTS
Newport moved to within a point of the automatic promotion places after they came from behind to win at home to Carlisle. After the visitors had gone ahead in the eleventh minute it was Adam Chapman’s penalty on the stroke of half time and a Lee Minshull second half strike that claimed all three points for the Exiles.
Saturday 10thJanuary – Portsmouth (H) – Won 1-0 – League Position: 3rd - HIGHLIGHTS
County completed the double over Pompey when they came to Rodney Parade and the Exiles’ fourth victory in a row moved them into the automatic promotion places for one game. It was a Mark Byrne goal with just twenty minutes to go that proved to be the difference between the two sides in what was a very even game, but it was Newport that came away with the three points.
Saturday 17thJanuary – Cambridge United (A) – Lost 4-0 – League Position: 5th - HIGHLIGHTS
They travelled to Cambridge full of confidence after having won the last four games in a row and knowing that they were coming up against a side right in the middle of the table. They were in for a shock then as the U’s prepared for their FA Cup tie against Manchester United in style, knocking four past Joe Day and leaving Newport’s stay in the top three over, as they dropped down to fifth.
Saturday 24thJanuary – Northampton Town (A) – Lost 3-0 – League Position: 6th - HIGHLIGHTS
Another away game and another heavy defeat for the Exiles, this time at the hands of Northampton Town. Two goals in the first half an hour made it difficult for Newport to get back into the game and when Lawson D’Ath converted a third with just eight minutes to go, County knew that they were going to fall further down the table again.
Saturday 31stJanuary – Shrewsbury Town (H) – Lost 1-0 – League Position: 6th - HIGHLIGHTS
County returned to Rodney Parade to face top of the table Shrewsbury Town. Despite the visitors going down to ten men it was they who came away with the three points. Substitute Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro found the net only two minutes after coming on. However other results went Newport’s way and despite falling seven points off the automatic places, they were still in the playoff positions.
Overall it was a disappointing month for Newport, winning two and losing three. They would go on to lose the next two games at the start of February and began to find themselves in a battle to hold on to the final playoff spot. A fight which would last right through to the end of the season.