A Zak Ansah brace helps County to victory in the Severnside Derby...
County boss John Sheridan named an unchanged starting eleven for the third game in a row, sticking with the team that defeat Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday evening.
In what was a lively opening encounter, typical of a local derby, it was the Exiles who had the first real chance of the game. Loanne Jazzi Barnum-Bobb skipped into the hosts area and found space to deliver a squared ball across the six-yard area that picked out Scott Barrow at the far post. The defender delicately tried to side-foot his effort into the net, but the ball cannoned into the post and the chance went amiss.
County didn't have to wait long for their next endeavor on goal. A deep-cross by Medy Elito was headed back towards his own goal by Tom Parkes and his header evaded goalkeeper Lee Nicholls and County took the lead courtesy of a peculiar own-goal.
County's lead last all of forty-five seconds. Billy Bodin found space in-front of the County defence to launch a spectacular strike from twenty-five yards, that flew into the net, with little Joe Day could do to prevent the eqauliser.
The home side were keen to find the lively Jermaine Easter at every opportunity, and the County defence had to remain alert to prevent the striker cutting in behind them. A Jake Gosling through ball did eventually find the forward, who forced Joe Day into making a great save with his outstretched leg. The rebound fell kindly for the supporting Matty Taylor, who stuck a first-time effort that clipped the right-hand post.
After the break County were gifted the lead, in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Goalkeeper Lee Nicholls looked to have the ball in his grasp, but then ball slipped out of his clutch and into the path of Zak Ansah, who gratefully tapped the ball home, for what will be easiest goal the striker will ever score.
If the second goal was fortunate, there was nothing lucky about the third goal Ansah added moments later. The host were sluggish to react and Zak capitalised, hitting a sweet shot from outside the area into the top corner, well out of the reach of the diving Lee Nicholls.
With twenty minutes to go, the third goal had clearly elevated the confidence of the County players, who started to express themselves by passing the ball around the pitch at will.
Ansah was again involved in the fourth goal, squaring a short pass to youngster Tommy O'Sullivan, who fired a shot into the top corner from twenty-five yards, in what was a magnificent strike.
In the final ten minutes County had chances to extend their goal tally. Striker Lenell John-Lewis won a physical battle on the right flank and took the ball past two players, before his effort on goal was deflected behind for a corner.
With back-to-back wins, todays victory lifts County out of the bottom two, with a three-point cushion now separating the Exiles from 23rd place Yeovil Town.