Our look back at the 2015/16 season hits its halfway stage with a review of the month of December.
After the unbeaten month in November, Newport County began December with an FA Cup 2nd round match against Barnet, where they aimed to reach the third round of the FA Cup for the first time since the Club’s reformation in 1989. Aside from the FA Cup, there were four league matches for County to overcome, but these didn’t exactly go to John Sheridan’s plan.
Saturday 5th December 2015 – Barnet (A) – Won 1-0 – Through to FA Cup 3rd Round
A Scott Boden goal just before the hour mark proved to be the only goal of the game as Newport got themselves into the third round of the FA Cup for the first time since the club was reformed in 1989. Despite being the away side County dominated the match with double the amount of shots as the home side and triple the amount of shots on target, limiting Barnet to just one effort on goal. The unbeaten run in all competitions now stretched to 10 games, but a seven goal thriller at Meadow Lane a week later bought all that to an end.
Saturday 12th December 2015 – Notts County (A) – Lost 4-3 – 21st position – 19 points
After County went 2-0 up inside the first ten minutes of the game away at Notts County, it was a 96th minute winner for Liam Noble that gave the Magpies all three points and bought the Exiles’ streak to an end. Noble scored his first with ten minutes of the second half to play before Izale McLeod cancelled out Mark Byrne and Alex Rodman’s efforts when he equalised with five minutes of the half to play. Notts then took the lead for the first time in the game with twenty minutes to go through McLeod once again, before Newport’s top scorer Scott Boden levelled the game at three goals each with just seven minutes of normal time to go. It was Noble’s right footed shot from the centre of the box though that finally sank Newport and meant that they had nothing to show for their efforts as they made the long trip back to South Wales.
Saturday 19th December 2015 – A.F.C Wimbledon (H) – Drew 2-2 – 20th position – 20 points
The Exiles threw away a two goal lead when A.F.C Wimbledon came to Rodney Parade. Alex Rodman had given the Exiles the lead a quarter of an hour into the game when he fired home from long range and the advantage was doubled on the half hour mark when Paul Robinson put the ball into his own net. The visitors couldn’t have had a better start to the second half though when Lyle Taylor pulled a goal back twenty-five seconds in from the restart and they completed their comeback ten minutes from time when Taylor once again put the ball past Joe Day. -
Saturday 26th December 2015 – Barnet (A) – Lost 2-0 – 20th position – 20 points
County’s second trip to The Hive in three weeks wasn’t as happy as their first. This time it was the home side who came away the victors as a brace from John Akinde proved to be the only difference against ten-man County, who had Medy Elito sent off in the process of conceding a penalty for the first goal. Newport were lucky though that throughout this slump in form, the sides below them were also struggling and half way through the season the Exiles were seven points clear of the bottom two.
Monday 28th December 2015 – Plymouth Argyle (H) – Lost 2-1 – 20th position – 20 points
The final game of 2015 was a difficult one for Newport as they welcomed the then top of the table Plymouth Argyle to South Wales. Despite the stature of the opposition in the league though it was County that took the lead when Scott Boden lobbed Luke McCormick midway through the first half to give the Exiles the lead going into the break. It was in the second half again though, similarly to the last two fixtures, that Newport lost their position. Jake Jervis headed home three minutes into the second half to level the match and they then took the lead twenty minutes from time when Ryan Brunt was given too much space on the edge of the area, he was able to turn and shoot towards goal, Joe Day was unable to keep it out, and Newport took just one point in December.
After an almost perfect month in November, County only had the third round tie against Blackburn Rovers to take from December, having thrown away leads in three of the four matches. They ended 2015 though four points clear of the bottom two and were looking to continue to push on through the next couple of months to try and put daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.
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