County pick up their third win at home on the bounce, with victory over Wycombe Wanderers.
County began the day eight points clear of the relegation zone but were looking to bounce back from their defeat at the hands of Crawley Town in midweek. Wycombe on the other hand knew that a win at Rodney Parade could see them move back into the playoff places as they tried to improve their recent run of form, only twelve points from the last ten games.
Newport had the first real chance of the game after just four minutes when Conor Wilkinson found that he had time to shoot on the edge of the penalty area which Ryan Allsop saw late and could only parry into the path of Mark Byrne whose first time effort went just wide of the far post. County had the better of the first ten minutes with any Wycombe possession in the final third being comfortably dealt with by the Newport back four.
Fifteen minutes into the game and Wycombe were still yet to trouble Joe Day in the Newport penalty area with John-Christophe Ayina and Alex Rodman dominating the wings and frequently delivering balls towards Boden and Wilkinson in and around the penalty area. It took 24 minutes for Joe Day to be tested when County failed to clear their lines from a right footed cross from the left hand side and the ball looped away to Jason McCarthy on the edge of the penalty area but his volley was just over the bar.
Newport then had the ball in the back of the net a minute later when John-Christophe Ayina did brilliantly down the left hand side to shake off his mark and deliver a low driven cross along the six yard box for Scott Boden to side foot into the middle of the net for his 13th of the season to give County the lead.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 0 WYCOMBE WANDERERS (SCOTT BODEN 25’)
Alex Rodman nearly doubled the advantage a few minutes later when he picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area after Donacien laid the ball off to him, and under urges from the crowd to shoot he took a touch and tried to curl a ball around the crowd of bodies and into the corner of the net, but there wasn’t enough power on it and it was a comfortable save for Allsop.
With ten minutes of the first half to go there was an extended break whilst Rowan Liburd received treatment for an injury and it gave a chance for all players to get a drink and receive instructions from their respective managers. Wycombe then got a free kick just outside the penalty area and a yard right of centre but the curling free kick was well wide of the goal and never troubled Joe Day.
The first corner of the game went the way of the Exiles with five minutes to go of normal time at the end of the first half which Ayina took out-swinging that Andrew Hughes took an ambitious swing at and it was comfortably high and wide of the top corner.
As the first half entered the two minutes of added time Wycombe received their first corner of the game which the County defence were able to comfortably deal with, firstly clearing the ball and then winning a free kick as the ball came back in. Yan Klukowski then received a yellow card for a nasty on Luke O’Nien just before the half time whistle but Wycombe were only able to launch the ball towards the penalty area before the referee brought the first half to an end.
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 0 WYCOMBE WANDERERS
Wycombe made a half time substitution in an attempt to change the game, bringing on Garry Thompson for Sam Wood. It was the visitors that had the first chance of the second half and it took a good save with his knees from Joe Day to keep the Exiles in front. Yan Klukowski almost doubled the advantage a minute later though from a Scott Boden cross and it took an incredible diving save from Allsop to turn the ball around the post.
The first ten minutes of the second half went much more in the way of the visitors than the first half did and it was Newport who were often penned into their own third with everyone behind the ball apart from Wilkinson. The crowd began to get annoyed as Newport failed to clear their lines repeatedly.
As the game ticked to the hour mark Wycombe continued to push for an equaliser and Newport appeared quite happy to play the ball long towards Scott Boden repeatedly, on very few occasions actually reaching him. The visitors then got another corner which Joe Day got a fist to and was able to punch clear and Newport were able to counter, winning a corner of their own with some nimble footwork from Boden. Ayina delivered and it was flicked on by Klukowski but Andrew Hughes’ shot with his left foot on the turn was high and wide of the goal.
Wycombe then hit the crossbar as Newport again couldn’t clear their lines and Liburd almost had the away side level. Warren Feeney decided to bring on Jake Gosling to replace Alex Rodman and with his first contribution he won County a free kick which ran all the way through the Wycombe half and out for a goal kick near the corner flag.
A clever free kick from Newport almost provided a second goal when Scott Boden caught the defenders napping but his shot was eventually blocked and span to Jake Gosling who tried to curl a left footed shot into far corner but it was a couple of yards high of the crossbar.
With 15 minutes to go Newport were still hanging on to the one goal lead they established in the first half from Boden’s six yard effort. After barely blowing his whistle in the first half, referee Ross Joyce produced several yellow cards in the second as the intensity picked up. Wilkinson forced a good save out of Allsop from the corner of the penalty area when he fired a low driven shot with his left foot towards the right hand post.
With five minutes to go the crowd were getting increasingly anxious but Newport began to look more and more as though they may hold on to their lead and Scott Boden was unlucky not to double his tally for the afternoon when he tried to volley Mark Byrne’s driven cross but he didn’t get the contact he wanted and the ball dribbled wide of the goal.
Feeney bought on Ben Davies with a minute to go to try and secure the three points throughout the five minutes of added time as Wycombe desperately tried to find an equaliser. They were throwing everyone forward and Newport nearly scored on the counter attack and won a corner which was played short and Conor Wilkinson tried to keep the ball there for as long as possible.
The final few moments were incredibly nervy for the home supporters as they desperately tried to urge their players over the line and finally after the longest five minutes of the season so far, the full time whistle blew and Newport increased the gap to the bottom two to eleven points.
FULL TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 0 WYCOMBE WANDERERS
Newport County: Day, Holmes, Jones, Klukowski, Wilkinson, Donacien, Hughes, Ayina, Boden (Davies 88’), Rodman (Gosling 65’), Byrne (c)
Subs not used: Green, Barrow, Morgan, Owen-Evans, Meechan
Goals: Boden 25’
Bookings: Klukowski, Jones, Boden
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Jombati (Bloomfield 73’), Jacobson, McCarthy, Pierre, Harriman, O’Nien, McGinn, Wood (Thompson 45’), Liburd, Hayes (c) (Ugwu 81’)
Subs not used: Richardson, Stewart, Sellers, Kretzschmar, Ugwu
Bookings: Jombati, Pierre, Jacobson
Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 2,375 (302 Away)Tweets by @NewportCounty