Chris Gadsby reviews September, a month which saw County go unbeaten in the League
After a somewhat disappointing start to the campaign, Newport went into September hoping to carry the momentum forward that they had gained from the victory over Portsmouth at the end of August. This certainly seemed to be the case as the Exiles went unbeaten in the league, the only defeat of the month coming in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Monday 8thSeptember – Cambridge United (H) – Drew 1-1 – League Position: 19th - HIGHLIGHTS
The side returned from their victory at Fratton Park hoping that they could win their second game of the season against an average Cambridge United side. However Newport did not have the game all their own way and after falling behind just three minutes after the break, it took a Robbie Willmott equaliser in the final minute to secure County a point.
Saturday 13thSeptember – Northampton Town (H) – Won 3-2 – League Position: 17th - HIGHLIGHTS
The second game of the week at Rodney Parade saw Northampton Town visit South Wales. Chris Zebroski, Darren Jones and Lee Minshull gave Newport a 3-0 lead before the hour mark but unlike the game against Morecambe, they were able to hang on to all three points despite the late comeback in the last fifteen minutes of the contest which saw two goals go in for the away side. Newport now had eight points from four games and had a five point gap between themselves and the bottom two.
Tuesday 16thSeptember – Tranmere Rovers (A) – Drew 0-0 – League Position: 17th - HIGHLIGHTS
A goalless draw at Tranmere Rovers was an excellent result for County considering the sheer amount of pressure that they had to endure during the game. Joe Day was the hero for Newport as he managed to keep a clean sheet at the back despite the home side having twice as many shots as the Exiles. Tranmere finished the season bottom of the football league, although based on the early season performances, not many would have predicted that outcome.
Saturday 20thSeptember – Shrewsbury Town (A) – Drew 0-0 – League Position: 16th - HIGHLIGHTS
Another away game and another goalless drew for Newport County, this time against Shrewsbury Town who even at this early stage, were in the playoff positions and looking like a strong side for automatic promotion. The draw stretched Newport’s unbeaten run to six games and they did well to hold on for the last ten minutes after Andrew Hughes was sent off for a harsh tackle. Joe Day had another fantastic game between the sticks, keeping another clean sheet, despite the barrage of efforts on goal.
Tuesday 23rdSeptember – Swindon Town (H) – Lost 2-1 – Eliminated from Johnstone’s Paint Trophy: 1stRound - HIGHLIGHTS
Newport faced higher tiered opposition in another domestic competition as they faced Swindon Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. As in the Capital One Cup when they played Reading, no-one really expected Newport to come away from the game with the victory, and so it proved to be. Whilst Yan Klukowski found the net with just ten minutes to go it only halved the deficit that Swindon had already built up, and County were out of the competition after only one round.
Saturday 27thSeptember – AFC Wimbledon (H) – Won 4-1 – League Position: 15th - HIGHLIGHTS
September finished as positively as August. Newport didn’t let the home defeat by Swindon dampen their spirits and swiftly put four goals past AFC Wimbledon, including two goals for on loan striker Joe Pigott. Ismail Yakubu put County ahead after eighteen minutes, Joe Pigott got his brace, and then Aaron O’Connor rounded the scoring off in the final minute of the game to give Newport a very convincing victory that would see them in fifteenth place in the table.
Newport ended September fifteenth in the table and only two points outside the playoff places. They would lose to Oxford United in the first game of October but then wouldn’t lose again in the league until just before Christmas, an unbeaten run that saw them climb into the playoff places by the end of October, and keep them there until April.