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Match Previews

PREVIEW | County end 2017 with a trip to Cheltenham Town

29 December 2017

Newport County AFC head to Cheltenham Town this Saturday for the third meeting between the two sides this season. Both sides have one win apiece thus far from meetings at Rodney Parade in league and the CheckaTrade Trophy, with another victory the perfect way to end 2017 for either team.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 encounter.

Last six league matches 

County head to Gloucestershire on Saturday to face a Cheltenham side that have picked up eight points from the last 18 available, following two wins, two draws and two defeats from their last six matches.

That run starts with the two draws, the first of which was just Cheltenham’s second goalless draw of the season in all competitions at home to Cambridge United.

A Mo Eisa strike in the second-half ensured they took a share of the spoils in the ‘El Glosico’ game, with the striker cancelling out an early Christian Doidge effort in the 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers.

They secured their first league win since 21st October in their next game, a third goal of the season from Jamie Grimes enough to see off Crewe Alexandra at the LCI Rail Stadium.

That unbeaten run came to an end in their next match, however, as the Robins suffered a 2-1 defeat to Coventry City. Eisa netted an equaliser during the game with his 10th goal of the season, only for Marc McNulty to send Cheltenham away from the Ricoh Arena empty-handed with a late winner.

Goals from Kevin Dawson and Carl Winchester saw Cheltenham return to winning ways in their next match, securing just their second away league victory of the season with a 2-0 success at struggling Barnet.   

In their last match, however, the Robins slipped down to 15th in the League 2 table following a first home defeat since 17th October.

Ex-Exile Jordan Green scored late-on to complete the victory, while Omar Sowunmi also scored in Yeovil’s 2-0 win on Boxing Day.   

 

Team-News

 

The Robins have several injury headaches ahead of our trip to Gloucestershire.

Midfielder George Lloyd is returning to fitness following a hip-flexor injury but is unlikely to be risked, while striker Brian Graham could only manage 20 minutes against Yeovil on his return from a hamstring injury.

Fellow striker Dan Holman could be pushing for a start for the home side after his recent return from a three-month loan deal to Boreham Wood, a spell that saw him net four goals including their winner against Blackpool in the Emirates FA Cup.  

Defender Jordan Cranston is expected to miss the remainder of the season following a serious hamstring injury in November’s clash with Luton Town, while ex-Exile Janaai Gordon (knee) and Jordan Forster (Achilles) are also long-term absentees.

All these injury concerns meant manager Gary Johnson made one change to his side for Tuesday’s game with his former club Yeovil, as Jerell Sellars came in for Freddie Hinds.    

 

Cheltenham team vs Yeovil Town (4-4-2): Flinders, Moore, Grimes (C), Boyle, Winchester, Dawson, Morrell, Atangana, Sellars, Eisa, Pell

 

One to Watch – Carl Winchester

Winchester has been a mainstay in the Cheltenham Town team since his free transfer to the club on 12th January 2017.

The midfielder celebrated his 50th appearance for the club on Boxing Day and he has scored five goals for the Gloucestershire outfit to date.

The first of those came during the 2016/17 campaign, and it was a goal of real value to his side as it was the solitary goal in a victory over Leyton Orient which propelled the Robins away from the danger zone.

He scored his first home goal in the 3-2 defeat to Grimsby Town in October, while also netting in away games at Wycombe Wanderers, Notts County and Barnet.

Cheltenham is the 24-year old’s third professional club, having come through the ranks of Linfield in his native Northern Ireland.

Following just one appearance with the club, a successful trial with Oldham Athletic saw Winchester afforded his first-shot at English football.

And the 24-year old had a highly successful time with the Latics over a seven-year spell. He made a total of 140 appearances in all competitions, whilst adding a further eight goals, all of which came in the league.

Winchester has also been capped at all age-grades by Northern Ireland, while he also received a full international cap on 27th May 2011.

Incidentally, that came at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, as goals from Robert Earnshaw and Aaron Ramsey secured a 2-0 victory for Wales in the Nations Cup. Winchester came on with 14 minutes remaining in that game, replacing Robert Garrett.

 

Stadium – LCI Rail Stadium

 

Built in 1927, the LCI Rail Stadium has been home to Cheltenham Town since 1932, although no senior football was played at the stadium until 67 years later.

National League South side Gloucester City also shared the ground for seven years (2010-17) before they moved to Evesham.

Home to one of the narrowest pitches in the entirety of the Football League, the official capacity of the ground is 7,066.

Away supporters are allocated the Hazlewoods Stand on matchday, an all seater stand behind one of the goals which can accommodate 1,100 supporters. For larger followings, teams can also be given two sections of the Colin Farmer Stand.

Since promotion to the Football League, County have visited the LCI Rail Stadium on three previous occasions.

The first occasion was November 23rd 2013 when 964 County fans made the trip to Gloucestershire for a 0-0 draw.

County’s second trip came the following season, on the 28th December 2014, when 1,094 away supporters saw Chris Zebroski hand the Exiles a 1-0 victory with a first-half strike.  

841 County fans were there last season to witness Janaai Gordon’s 95th minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw on 4th February 2017.

 

Last time out

Newport County AFC 1 - 2 Cheltenham Town

Tuesday 7th November 2017

A youthful County side ended their CheckaTrade Trophy group stage exploits with a 2-1 defeat to Cheltenham Town.

The Robins made a quick start at Rodney Parade and had both of their goals within the opening 11 minutes.

In-fact, it only took the visitors 71 seconds to find the opener as Brian Graham rose highest from a Kevin Dawson delivery to loop a header over James Bittner from just outside the six-yard area.

And it wasn’t too long until the Robins extended their advantage.                                            

Bittner made a fantastic save to deny Graham from getting his second of the night, although the clearance only fell as far as the edge of the area to Harry Pell, who fired home despite the best efforts of two County players on the goal-line.

From there, the Exiles took control of the proceedings and got a reward for their efforts when Lamar Reynolds got his first competitive goal in County colours just three minutes after the break.

Fellow striker Joe Quigley played a splitting pass through the two Cheltenham centre-halves into the path of Reynolds, who composed himself with a neat first-touch, before dinking an effort over away goalkeeper Scott Flinders from just inside the penalty area.

And despite constant pressure on the Cheltenham goal from there to the end of the game, no equalizer could be found as County were knocked out of the CheckaTrade Trophy following three defeats in the group stages.

But the main story of the night came as Flynn gave four debuts to players from Byron Anthony’s U18s Academy.

Academy captain Jay Foulston, who had played twice previously for County already this term, started alongside team-mates Evan Press, Tom Hillman and Lewis Collins. Owen Taylor came on with twenty minutes remaining.

 

Officials

 

Referee: Antony Coggins

Assistant Referee 1: John Farries

Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Brown

Fourth Official: Ronald Ganfield

Coggins is currently embarking on just his first season as a Football League referee having been promoted from the National League at the start of the season.

He has refereed 18 games so far in his debut season, of which the last came on Boxing Day as Colchester United beat Crawley Town 2-0.

Three yellow cards were given out in that game taking his season tally to 40 yellow cards and one red card from the 18 games.

That follows on from his record in his final season as a National League referee, which reads as 84 yellow cards and seven red cards from 24 matches.

 

County Connection

 

Coggins has refereed County on just two previous occasions, both of which have come this season.

And the Exiles have a 100% record in matches officiated by Coggins following a win in League 2 and another success in the Carabao Cup.

The first of those games came as Shawn McCoulsky made it three goals in two games after scoring both goals in the 2-0 victory at Southend United in the Carabao Cup First Round.

County received two yellow cards on the night, Matty Dolan and Ben White the offenders in the only bookings brandished by Coggins.

Coggins also officiated the 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town as Padraig Amond scored the match-winner for the second successive game at Rodney Parade.

No yellow cards were distributed by Coggins to County players, although Nathan Clarke was booked for the visitors.

 

Other League 2 matches that weekend (All 3pm kick-offs unless stated)

Morecambe vs Yeovil Town (Friday 7:45pm)

Cambridge United vs Crewe Alexandra

Carlisle United vs Coventry City

Chesterfield vs Colchester United

Crawley Town vs Stevenage

Exeter City vs Barnet

Grimsby Town vs Accrington

Lincoln City vs Forest Green Rovers

Port Vale vs Luton Town

Swindon Town vs Notts County

Wycombe Wanderers vs Mansfield Town

 

Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Tim Thraves and Glyn Neale can also be found at the Match Centre from 2:45pm.


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