Cambridge score tw0-second half goals to defeat the Exiles at Rodney Parade.
After defeat to Doncaster Rovers, Newport returned to Rodney Parade looking for their first home win of the season against bottom side Cambridge United, who were yet to win in the league this season. County started the game strongly, penning Cambridge into their own half and forcing the visiting back line to make several key blocks. It was United who had the first real shot of the match however when the ball spun kindly for them, but Joe Day was equal to the effort as the shot went calmly wide of the post.
County were in front after just ten minutes of the game when the Cambridge defence failed to pick up Rhys Healey at the back post following a superb cross from Grego-Cox, and Healey was able to nod the ball down towards Will Norris’ feet, and the Cambridge keeper couldn’t react quickly enough to keep it out.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 0 CAMBRIDGE UNITED (RHYS HEALEY 10’)
Not satisfied by just leading by the one goal, County continued to look the stronger of the two sides and push forward, Sean Rigg was unlucky on eighteen minutes not to double the advantage from close range after Grego-Cox was left all alone to pick up a long through ball and was able to put a good cross into the far post, just headed over the bar.
Cambridge were only inches away from pulling level just before the half hour mark however when County conceded a free kick twenty five yards from goal and just to the right of centre. Adam McGurk struck a crisp left footed effort that rebounded off the bar and back into play, only for the second effort to fly over the bar.
County received two back to back corners with a little over ten minutes left to play in the first half. The second almost resulted in the second goal when the wind took hold of the ball and almost diverted it under the crossbar directly from the corner, but it was Scot Bennett’s overhead kick that had the crowd gasping as it flew towards the net, but it bounced well wide of the goal.
The visitors looked rattled and County’s fourth corner of the afternoon had to be cleared off the line after Mark Randall headed it straight at Will Norris and it rebounded off him, trickled along the goal line and was eventually cleared after hitting the post.
County would have felt disappointed at the break to only be one goal in front but after Jon Parkin had a stoppage time header brilliantly saved by the Cambridge keeper to keep their deficit to only one goal.
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 0 CAMBRIDGE UNITED
Cambridge came into the game much more in the second half after making a double substitution at half time. It took a while for the teams to get back into the flow of the match but the first event also brought the first booking of the match when goal scorer Rhys Healey was shown the yellow card for a foul in the middle of the Cambridge half.
The game was getting scrappy and fouls were being recorded in every section of the midfield. Ben Tozer and Adam McGurk were the next to go into the book just before the hour mark after squaring up to one another after McGurk’s strong challenge on Bignot. Cambridge captain Leon Legge then had is name recorded only a minute later after a late tackle on Sean Rigg.
County then gave away a silly free kick close to the edge of their penalty area and after the ball was floated in towards the back post and the County back line failed to deal with it, substitute Uche Ikpeazu was able to nod the ball back across the face of goal and level the game for the away side.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 1 CAMBRIDGE UNITED (UCHE IKPEAZU 62’)
Cambridge United suddenly came to life and looked like the side more likely to score in the closing half an hour of the contest. They had a number of opportunities that could have resulted in the leading goal had the final pass been there and County looked as though they could be left to rue the missed opportunities in the first half.
The game was incredibly tense going into the last quarter of an hour with both sides having chances to score a second goal. Both sets of supporters were nervous and the players heard it. Sadly for County it was the visitors who scored it after a free kick for Medy Elito was scrambled about in the penalty area and Luke Berry scored an overhead kick from six yards out to put Cambridge in front with just seven minutes of normal time to go.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 2 CAMBRIDGE UNITED (LUKE BERRY 83’)
County were given a lifeline when the fourth official signalled a minimum of six minutes added time but they spend the majority of it in their own half. They won a corner which Joe Day went up to contest but he was unable to get his head onto the ball, and Cambridge United were able to hold on and secure all three points.
FULL TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 2 CAMBRIDGE UNITED
Newport County: Day, Butler, Randall (Sheehan 79’), Parkin (Jackson 69’), Tozer, Bignot, Bennett (c), Cameron, Healey, Rigg, Grego-Cox
Subs not used: Bittner, Compton, Green, Jones, Myrie-Williams
Goals: Healey 10’
Bookings: Healey, Tozer, Grego-Cox
Cambridge United: Norris, Roberts, Legge (c), Berry, Williamson (Ikpeazu 45’, Coulson 95’), Dunk, McGurk, Gosling (Taylor 45’), Clark, Elito, Halliday
Subs not used: Gregory, Long, Dallison, Newton
Goals: Ikpeazu 62’, Berry
Bookings: McGurk, Legge, Clark
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley
Attendance: 2205 (141 away)