The Exiles score two late goals to draw at home against the Daggers...
A bottom of the table six pointer was in store for both Newport County and Dagenham and Redbridge ahead of the game at Rodney Parade on a sunny Saturday afternoon in South Wales.
Mitchell Beeney started in goal for the Exiles replacing the suspended Joe Day after he picked up a red card in the game against Blackburn Rovers on Monday night, Warren Feeney also handed debuts to Conor Wilkinson and Deane Smalley.
The game wasn’t even a minute old when a mistake from Janoi Donacian allowed Christian Doidge through on goal and his half volley lobbed keeper Mitchell into the top corner of the goal and gave the visitors the lead.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 0 – 1 DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE (CHRISTIAN DOIDGE 1’)
Newport almost hit straight back at their visitors though when Alex Rodman fired a shot towards goal after Yan Klukowksi’s initial effort was blocked on the edge of the penalty area and spun to him, but his effort was always rising and finished well over the crossbar. It was Dagenham and Redbridge who looked more threatening in the early stages of the game though and won a corner after five and a half minutes which was swung in towards the back post which Joe Worrall got his head to after he rose higher than everyone else and sent a looping header towards the far post that snuck into the corner and doubled the advantage after only six minutes.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 0 – 2 DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE (JOE WORRALL 6’)
Newport looked rattled and couldn’t string passes together and could barely get out of their own half, much to the annoyance of Warren Feeney bellowing instructions from the edge of his technical area. The crowd were getting annoyed in the stands it was the hundred or so
Dagenham and Redbridge fans who had made the trip from East London that were making the majority of the noise. County did have the occasional opportunity though and it was Mark Byrne who had the next chance when he chested the ball down on the edge of the area and struck it with his right foot towards Cousins in the visiting goal but in a repeat of Alex Rodman’s earlier attempt it was high over the bar.
The game began to quieten down in terms of chances created and it was not until Newport were given a freekick in the 22nd minute just on the edge of the area that there was a good chance at goal. Byrne delivered right footed swinging across the six yard box but the header on it was not strong enough to divert it goal wards and it went out of play for a gaol kick. Newport suddenly seemed as though they had a second wind and began to have long spells of possession in the Dagenham and Redbridge half, Alex Rodman was unlucky to see his shot blocked at point blanc range from twelve yards out.
Conor Wilkinson nearly grabbed himself a goal on his debut when he hit a shot first time with his left foot from the edge of the area which Cousins did well to parry out to safety and then ninety seconds later Scott Boden fired a shot towards goal after beating a couple of defenders but the ball was straight at the visiting keeper. This was a completely different Newport side to the one that showed themselves in the first ten minutes of the game but the crowd sensed that as the game ticked to the half hour mark, a goal was needed before half time if they were going to have a chance to win this game.
Danny Holmes did well down the right hand side just after the half hour mark to get the ball to Scott Boden on the edge of the area under pressure from two players and he did well to lay the ball off for Yan Klukowski to hit first time but his left footed strike was also high of the goal. Newport had chances to pull a goal back in the first half but it was a common theme that shots went a long way over the top of the bar.
With ten minutes of the first half remaining the crowd were urging Newport forward in a desperate attempt to get something out of the first half from chances that they could well have got a goal from. The game was becoming much more even but Dagenham and Redbridge had already delivered two hammer blows to the Exiles within the first six minutes of the game that left County with a big mountain to climb to take some points from the fixture.
As the first ticked into the final few minutes of normal time both sides were making mistakes and both sets of supporters were getting annoyed at the referee Darren Deadman for some of the decisions. Dagenham and Redbridge nearly scored a third goal which would have put the game to bed in the final minute of normal time when Ashley Chambers received the ball on the edge of the penalty areas, took a touch on the turn onto his left foot and drilled a shot towards the bottom corner of the net that had Beeney beaten but thankfully for Newport fans, also went a foot wide of the post.
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 0 – 2 DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE
Newport needed a goal and they needed it quickly as the second half started if they wanted any opportunity to take any points away from Rodney Parade in January. They started relatively brightly and won a free kick 25 yards out and just left of centre after a few minutes which Mark Byrne took right footed but he tried to curl the ball into the far post rather than the near and Cousins was able to make a comfortable save.
The first ten minutes of the second half went by without too much incident despite a few half chances going to County. The failure to make more of these chances was once again beginning to annoy the home fans and as the minutes continued to tick by the mood of the crowd began to steadily worsen. On the pitch John-Christophe Ayina was handed his Newport County debut just before the hour mark and instantly made an impact, feeding the ball to Yan Klukowski to drive a ball from 30 yards across the penalty area and inches wide of the far post.
It was still the visitors that had the majority of possession and the better of the possession. The Newport back line appeared unwilling to challenge their marker and the result was frequent Dagenham attacks in the Newport third. Feeney introduced Tom Owen-Evans for the final 25 minutes of the game in the hope that fresh legs might help to grab the Exiles a goal but despite numerous corners and crosses into the box the headers weren’t won and everything was safely cleared.
County did have plenty of half chances but on so many occasions the final ball wasn’t right, Conor Wilkinson had an opportunity to head goal wards when he was found all alone in the penalty area but the ball came off the wrong part of his head and looped high and wide and over the bar. With fifteen minutes of normal time to go Newport were yet to reduce the gap and time was rapidly running out with all of Warren Feeney’s options used once Scott Barrow replaced Janoi Donacien. As it stood the gap to the bottom two was reduced in half to just three points with Yeovil winning at home to Crawley and it looked as though Newport could potentially be right back in a relegation battle.
Newport then had a corner cleared off the line as they searched for the first goal that would spark the players and the fans into life that would allow them to go on and get the second but it was a matter of inches that prevented that from happening as Warren Feeney’s side showed some brief spells of very good football and with just ten minutes of normal time to go they got their fifth corner of the second half which had every member of Dagenham and Redbridge back in the penalty area defending as they looked to see the game out. It was clear Dagenham were not interested in scoring a third and were focussing entirely on defending and eventually Newport broke through and it was a superb debut goal for Ayina as his shot was too powerful for Cousins and he could only parry it further into the corner of the net and the deficit was halved.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 2 DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE (JOHN-CHRISTOPHE AYINA 82’)
The crowd were suddenly energised and the players were pushing forward with everything they had knowing that one more goal would level the game and that is exacrtly hwat they got when Conor Wilkinson was first to the rebound after Cousins could only parry Alex Rodman’s initial shot and all of sudden County looked like they could go on to win the game.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 2 – 2 DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE (CONOR WILKINSON 88’)
As the game ticked into four minutes of added time the crowd were desperate for a winner and the players continued to push forward and the crowd were as loud as they had been for the entire contest, Newport threw everything towards goal but were unable to grab that vital winner but after being two goals down after just six minutes, Warren Feeney will be happy to take a point.
FULL TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 2 – 2 DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE
Newport County: Beeney, Holmes, Davies, Klukowski (Owen-Evans 67’), Wilkinson, Donacien (Barrow 70’), Hughes, Boden, Rodman, Smalley (Ayina 57’), Byrne (c)
Subs not used: Green, M.Taylor, Ralph, Twumasi
Goals: Ayina 82’, Wilkinson 88’
Dagenham and Redbridge: Cousins, Passley, Labadie (c), Dikamona, Boucaud (Gutteridge 88’), Chambers, Doidge (Hawkins 68’), Muldoon, Hemmings, Worrall, Hoyte
Subs not used: O’Brien, Cureton, Jones, Raymond, Widdowson
Goals: Doidge 1’, Worrall 6’
Referee: Darren Deadman
Attendance: 2,323 (103 Away)