We continue our look back at last season, focusing on the month of March.
Two games a week for four weeks lay ahead of Newport County in March as they caught up with all of the postponed fixtures that they lost over the last two months. This marathon month for the Exiles began on the first day of the month with a trip to Crawley Town.
Tuesday 1st March 2016 – Crawley Town (A) – Lost 2-0 – 19th position – 34 points
Crawley completed the double over Newport County when a goal either side of the break gave them a 2-0 victory over the Exiles. The first game from a Scott Boden own goal after he headed past Joe Day in an attempted clearance ten minutes before the break, and Shamir Fenelon doubled the advantage eight minutes after the restart when he headed home. Newport were then reduced to ten men when Medy Elito was sent off for a second yellow card five minutes from time and would miss the next fixture against Wycombe Wanderers.
Saturday 5th March 2016 – Wycombe Wanderers (H) – Won 1-0 – 19th position – 37 points
From having the double done over them to doing it themselves, Newport County beat Wycombe by a goal to nil thanks to a Scott Boden tap-in midway through the first half following some good work by John-Christophe Ayina to find Boden in the area unmarked. Wycombe had chances in the second half including Rowan Liburd’s effort striking the crossbar, but County were able to hold on to their slender lead and claim the three points, extending their gap to the bottom two to eleven points in the process.
Tuesday 8th March 2016 – Barnet (H) – Lost 3-0 – 19th position – 37 points
It was a disappointing result for Newport when Barnet came to Rodney Parade as the Exiles fell by three goals to nil as County never really got going in the contest. Andy Yiadom gave Barnet the lead just nine minutes into the game when the ball was pulled back to him in the area and the visitors were 2-0 ahead just before half-time when Mark Randall converted the rebound from John Akinde’s penalty, after Danny Holmes fouled him in the area. Akinde was on the scoresheet himself with twenty minutes of the game to go when he headed home from Luke Gambin’s cross, County remained eleven points clear of the drop.
Saturday 12th March 2016 – Portsmouth (A) – Won 3-0 – 18th position – 40 points
County hit the 40 point barrier in emphatic fashion as they maintained their 100% record at Fratton Park. Darren Jones gave Newport the lead when he beat goalkeeper Ryan Fulton to a cross and headed home, the Exiles having a 1-0 lead at half time. Portsmouth had Gary Roberts sent off on the hour mark for a second yellow card and ten minutes later Scott Boden doubled the advantage. County looked as though they had the game wrapped up and when Dean Morgan scored a third goal with three minutes of normal time to play, it put the game beyond doubt.
Tuesday 15th March 2016 – Hartlepool United (H) – Drew 0-0 – 17th position – 41 points
Newport returned to Rodney Parade to face Hartlepool United and played out a dull 0-0 draw. The best action in the first half came from Billy Paynter when he tested Joe Day but the County keeper was equal to the effort. Newport were better after the break but their best effort was a long-range attempt from Medy Elito that again was comfortably saved. The positive that County were able to take from the encounter was that they gained another point over York City and were now fourteen points clear.
Saturday 19th March 2016 – Bristol Rovers (H) – Lost 4-1 – 17th position – 41 points
Bristol Rovers got their revenge for the 4-1 result that County inflicted on them after putting Newport on the receiving end of the same scoreline. Despite a perfect start for Newport with Alex Rodman scoring in the second minute of the game the visitors were level after a quarter of an hour when Ollie Clarke fired home to take the sides level into the break. The second half was dominated by the visitors and strikes from Christian Montano, Matty Taylor and Ellis Harrison put Rovers in the automatic promotion spots.
Friday 25th March – Northampton Town (A) – Lost 1-0 – 17th position – 41 points
The result didn’t do Newport County justice when they travelled to top of the table Northampton Town on Good Friday. John Marquis gave the eventual Champions the lead midway through the first half and that proved to be the only goal of the game as despite Newport’s best efforts, including Medy Elito striking the crossbar, they were unable to score and it was Northampton who took the win.
Monday 28th March – Accrington Stanley (H) – Lost 2-0 – 18th position – 41 points
County dropped a place as they fell to their third defeat in a row after Accrington Stanley scored two goals in three minutes towards the end of the first half sealed the game for the visitors as they maintained their push for the automatic promotion places. Newport dropped down to 18th in the league but remained 13 points clear of the bottom two with 21 left to play for.
After eight games in four weeks Newport could see the end in sight as they knew a couple of wins could potentially see them safe in the division for another season if results went their way. Wins though were something that Newport wouldn’t experience again this season, scoring only two points in the six games in April, although as the games unfolded these two points would be enough for the Exiles to keep their football league status.