Take a look back at how the Exiles began the year.
As 2016 began, County were excited about the prospect o their home fixture against Blackburn Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup, but because of the appalling weather that hit the country at the start of the month, County’s January campaign began on the 16th with a trip to bottom club York City for Warren Feeney’s first game in charge after John Sheridan left for Oldham Athletic.
Saturday 16th January 2016 – York City (A) – Won 1-0 – 20th position – 23 points
An early goal for Aaron Collins inside the first ten minutes of the game was the only difference between the two sides as both were desperate for points to slightly ease their relegation worries. The victory over York meant that Newport were now six points clear of the relegation zone and they made the long trip back to Rodney Parade knowing that the rescheduled match against Blackburn Rovers was only two days away.
Monday 18th January 2016 – Blackburn Rovers (H) – Lost 2-1 – Eliminated from FA Cup 3rd Round
County gave Blackburn a thrilling game and were somewhat unlucky not to win the game, which saw both teams go down to ten men. After Rovers had taken the lead through an early penalty they had Chris Brown sent off ten minutes into the game and Mark Byrne was able to equalise with a stunning strike on the half hour mark to ensure that the teams went in to the break level. Blackburn bought on Jordan Rhodes at half time and he proved to be the difference when he struck just fifteen minutes from time. Joe Day was also dismissed from the game in the fifth minute of added time as he was caught rushing to the edge of the area and clattered into Craig Conway giving the referee little choice but to show the red card. County now had to focus on another six-pointer at the bottom of the league when they hosted Dagenham and Redbridge the following Saturday.
Saturday 23rd January 2016 – Dagenham and Redbridge (H) – Drew 2-2 – 20th position – 24 points
The Exiles couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start at home to Dagenham and Redbridge when they found themselves two goals behind inside the first six minutes of the game. Christian Doidge put the visitors ahead in the first minute, shortly followed by Joe Worrall who headed home from a corner five minutes later. It really looked as though County were down and out in this fixture but in the final ten minutes of the contest debut goals for both John-Christophe Ayina and Connor Wilkinson rescued a point for Newport, who saw their gap to the bottom two cut to four points.
Tuesday 26th January 2016 – Leyton Orient (A) – Lost 1-0 – 20th position – 24 points
A trip to London was up next for Warren Feeney’s side to face playoff chasing Leyton Orient. Newport matched their opponents for much of the game and the two sides could only be split by a single shot on target. That came just five minutes from the end when the home side were awarded a penalty after Darren Jones bought down Jobi McAnuff and Jay Simpson made no mistake from the spot to score his 22nd goal of the season.
Saturday 30th January 2016 – Morecambe (A) – Won 2-1 – 20th position – 27 points
Newport were ahead in the first minute against Morecambe when Scott Boden converted Mark Byrne’s cross in a game in which the Exiles really didn’t look as though they were the away side. Morecambe were able to pull the goal back when Shaun Millar put the ball past Beeney on the hour mark, but Scott Boden sealed the game for County when he once again converted a cross, this time from Alex Rodman’s delivery, with twenty minutes of the game to go. The win pushed the gap to the relegation zone back up to seven points, although the sides in the bottom two had a game in hand on the Exiles.
All in all January was a mixed month for Newport County with the unfortunate exit out of the FA Cup but with seven league points from twelve over the four league games that County played, the gap to the bottom two was a three-game gap, and a lot more comfortable than it was at the end of December. February was also a frustrating one for Newport s because of the weather only three games were played throughout the month, but on the pitch, the results were much more promising.
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