Will Pritchard recaps a fantastic victory for the Newport County AFC Academy who ran away four two winners with a dominant performance away at Forest Green Rovers.
Our U18 side returned to winning ways against Forest Green Rovers with an emphatic 4-1 away win at the Royal Agricultural University. Goals from Liam Bishop, Lewis Collins and a double from Modou Touray lead Byron Anthony’s side to their first Merit League 2 win.
The Young Exiles dominated the opening exchanges of the match, and only four minutes in found themselves ahead. Tom Hillman made a brilliant run down the left flank, before beating Rovers defender Madden and putting a delightful cross into the direction of Wales Under-19 international Lewis Collins, who made no mistake in firing past Lehman with a brilliant volley.
Forest Green’s Jay Malshalsky almost levelled the scores with his right-footed shot in the 9th minute, but Callum Beckett showed great determination to get in front of the forward’s shot and keep County’s lead intact.
Despite this, the Young Exiles should’ve found themselves ahead by two goals just a few minutes later through Modou Touray. The striker looked like he had doubled his side’s lead with a cool finish past Lehmann after Callum Beckett headed the ball in the striker’s direction; despite this, the referee had adjudged that Beckett was offside and ruled out the goal with twelve minutes played.
The decision would prove to be costly, with the subsequent free-kick being taken quickly and the visitors out of shape. Eventually the ball found its way to Rovers captain Will Davidson, who levelled the scores just a minute after County had the ball in the back of the net through Touray.
Eventually, Modou Touray got his goal. The forward – who signed a pro contact last Saturday - showed great strength and determination throughout the first-half, and he proved a real handful for the hosts. Touray calmly finished past Lehmann from 15 yards-out to make it 2-1 to County with 30 minutes gone.
Liam Bishop had the final chance of the half, and the forward made a brilliant run past the Rovers defenders before hitting a powerfully struck effort with his right-foot which Lehman fumbed, before eventually managing to catch the effort; meaning the Young Exiles went into the break with a one goal lead.
Lewis Collins came of for Owura Edwards at the break, and County started the second-half in the same dominant fashion that they started the first. Bishop made a good run down the left-flank before putting a decent ball into the Rovers area, but the ball was slightly overhit, and Hillman couldn’t connect at the far-post and the ball went out of play for a goal kick.
County continued to push for a third goal, and it would be Liam Bishop who got it with a brilliant finish on his favoured right-foot. The striker made an excellent run and finished the move off with a superb strike into the bottom left-corner, leaving Lehmann with absolutely no chance at keeping it out in the 54th minute.
It was a clinical few minutes for the Young Exiles, and it only took two more minutes to put the game to bed. Modou Touray doubled his tally for the afternoon with a moment of excellence to leave Lehmann helpless yet again with a superb finish.
Despite a three-goal lead, Dan Jones and Jay Malshalsky both had brilliant efforts which tested ‘keeper Matt Mayor, but he made two brilliant saves in a minute to avert the danger and County held on for a brilliant 4-1 win against Chris Barker’s Rovers.
Up next for the Young Exiles is a trip to Yeovil for a rearranged fixture on Tuesday, 24th April, where County will be looking to pick up their second win in as many games.
County Starting XI: Mayor, George, Beckett, Murray, King (Watts 71’), Evans, Jefferies (Williams 80’), Collins (Edwards 45’), Hillman (Jones 87’), Bishop (Benham 68’), Touray (c).
Yellow Cards Shown: Lucas Murray, Owura Edwards.