This game was the last of Newport’s games in hand following postponements in January, and Warren Feeney’s side were looking for a much better showing than at Rodney Parade seven days ago, when they fell by three goals to nil to Barnet. Tommy O’Sullivan made his return to Rodney Parade after re-joining the Exiles on loan for the rest of the season, and the fans were hoping for another performance equal to the excellent victory away at Portsmouth on Saturday.
It was an end to end game with neither side having chances to begin with, it took 16 minutes for the first shot on goal that Hartlepool took thanks to Lewis Hawkins from twenty yards that was comfortably saved by Joe Day who didn’t have to move to make the stop, clutching the ball to his chest.
It took another ten minutes for Newport to have their first chance on goal as Medy Elito played the ball from the left into the box which was chested down by Dean Morgan and Tommy O’Sullivan fired a shot at goal that was deflected over the bar for Newport’s first corner of the game. It was a game of very few chances and both sides were unable to keep possession and neither side looked like scoring as the game passed the half hour mark.
The first half came and went with very few chances for each side in what was a very slow and unentertaining first forty five minutes, both sides were relatively equal, and as the referee blew to bring an end to the half it remained goalless.
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 0 – 0 HARTLEPOOL UNITED
After a nip and tuck first couple of minutes to the second half, the first half chance came for Hartlepool with run from the right hand side, catching the Newport defensive sleeping with Hartlepool right winger Jake Gray running into the penalty area, but the shot was hit into the sidenetting of Joe Day’s goal.
The next chance came for the home side after an effective build up play, unfortunately the cross from the right hand side from Rodman could not find a player, and it was a comfortable save from Hartlepool keeper Carson.
The next chance came from Hartlepool, after a long ball up from Carson, who found the head of Hartlepool captain, Billy Paynter, knocked it down for the on rushing Nathan Thomas, who fired the shot over the bar.
After a wonderful bit of build-up play from the exiles Medy Elito fired a rasping long shot, which was more than exceptionally saved by the visiting keeper, and after bobble ball in the penalty area, it found the substitute Connor Wilkibson, who fired over the goal from the right hand side.
The home side kept up the pressure on the Hartlepool defence, with a quite incredible run from Rodman, who grabbed a free-kick for the exiles, which he took, which forced yet another incredible save from Trevor Carson, tipping the ball over the bar for a corner, which Newport couldn’t make the most of.
In the final stages of the game, for a rare attack from Hartlepool, a long looping pass from the Hartlepool defence, into the on rushing Jake Gray, which forced an unconvincing 50/50 save from County keeper Joe Day, bundling the Hartlepool forward to the floor, keeping the game at 0-0.
Into the 3 minutes of added time, the away side where able to muster up a few more half chances to force the County defence into a bit of action, but did not force any saves from Newport’s number 1 Joe Day.
The second was a vast improvement from the first half, with the exiles forcing United’s goalkeeper Trevor Carson into a couple of superb saves, a point a piece, County are now 14 points above the League 2 relegation zone.
FULL-TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 0-0 HARTLEPOOL UNITED
Newport County: Day, Holmes, Jones, Elito, Donacien, Hughes (Barrow 51’), Morgan (Wilkinson 66’), Boden, Rodman, O’Sullivan (Gosling 45’)
Subs not used: Green, Klukowski, Owen-Evans, Partridge
Hartlepool United: Carson, Magney, Carroll, Bates, Thomas (Oates 69’), Paynter (c), Featherstone, Hawkins, Jackson, Gray, James
Subs not used: Bartlett, Walker, Bingham, Woods, Richards, Laurent
Bookings: Featherstone, Oates
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance: 2394 (away: 70)