Taking four points from league leaders and champions elect Accrington Stanley this season can give Newport County AFC the confidence that they can replicate the exploits of the Lancashire outfit next season, according to Exiles striker Padraig Amond.
Amond, who played for Stanley from 2011 to 2013, came back to haunt his old club when finding the net after half-an-hour.
The Irishman benefitted from some intricate passing between Ben White, Josh Sheehan and Ben Tozer in the Accrington half – Amond reading the situation well to latch onto a pass from Tozer before smashing an attempt into the net from eight yards.
That goal gave the Exiles a lead at half-time, but they would soon be thanking Joe Day for preserving the advantage when the shot stopper made three unbelievable saves before 65 minutes of the match had elapsed.
Lethal strike duo Kayden Jackson and Billy Kee were both prevented from close-range, before Day superbly turned a powerful effort from Mark Hughes onto the post via his shoulder and away from danger.
The Exiles weathered that storm from the away side and doubled the advantage in the final ten minutes.
It was a goal started and finished by Frank Nouble, the striker superbly making his way past two challenges with splendid skill on the right-hand side, before calmly curling an effort into the far corner from outside the area.
Billy Kee did get one back for Stanley in stoppage time, smashing home from close range amidst a host of bodies, but the Exiles had already done enough to secure back-to-back home victories for the first time since January.
Post-match, Amond spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about the victory against the already promoted side, netting his 14th goal of the campaign and why he feels the side can excel themselves even more next season.
On the victory over Accrington that prevented the Lancashire side from confirming themselves as League 2 champions…
“I think they will still go and on and win the title – in-fact, I hope they go and win the league.
“It’s a very good club, I obviously have experience in playing there under the management. John Coleman and Jimmy Bell have done a fantastic job there and I’m delighted to see how they are doing there.
“We knocked a little bit out of them tonight, but it was a great win for us. Obviously, playing against the first team to be promoted out of League 2 and we’ve taken four points off them this year which is a good showing for us.
“I think we started a little bit slow and had to grow into the game. Got the first goal and then we were on top for a lot of the game, probably should have killed the game off a little bit quicker than we did.
“Obviously we let them in during those last few minutes and we’re very disappointed not to get a clean sheet. But delighted that we’ve won the game tonight.”
On why the team needed to respond following the defeat to Barnet on Saturday…
“We let everyone down on Saturday – the fans, the club, ourselves.
“We were terrible on Saturday and it was probably one of the worst performances that I have ever been involved in during my career.
“We wanted to have a reaction tonight and it’s easy for people to say that it’s easy to get that reaction against the teams at the top of the league, but we wanted to prove that we were going out to win the game tonight and try really hard.
“It’s great we’ve won the game and we’ve set ourselves the target now of trying to get the record points total for the club and finish as high as possible in the league.
“Hopefully we can take that on into the weekend and the last three games of the season.
On his goal and the other from Frank Nouble…
“There were quite a few passes in the build-up to my goal. Tozer ran through and then he just slipped it past the defender and thankfully I just about got there.
“I thought I would hit it early and take the goalkeeper by surprise. The lads said to me at half-time, did you see him slip? And I genuinely didn’t.
“I knew the defender was coming close to me and I thought I would hit it quickly on the turn to try and catch him off guard. Speaking to their centre-half at half-time, even he didn’t think I was going to shoot.
“I tried to catch them both by surprise, if he slipped then it would have helped, but once it hit the net I was very happy.
“Frank worked really, really hard today and I think he deserved his goal. It was a great individual goal, when you’re not scoring it can be very frustrating at times.
“But as long as you put in good performances then that’s kind of the main thing. He’s been a little disappointed the last few weeks being in and out of the team a little bit, but he obviously showed his quality tonight.
“It was a great goal for Frank and hopefully he can go on a bit of a purple patch now between now and the end of the season, get a few more and get into double figures.”
On facing Cambridge United on Saturday in what is the last game of the season at Rodney Parade…
“Obviously they will come down here trying to make sure that we don’t do the treble over them this year in the league and the cup.
“It’s going to be a tough game for us, but we’ve set our stall out tonight with the performance that we put in and we need to match that performance.
“The new manager there can change the game a little bit. A new manager brings different ideas, so we’ll have to prepare for the game like we do every game.
“We’ll do our homework on them and stuff like that. Hopefully it won’t make too much of a difference, I think the management changed quite a bit a go so I think they’ve settled since.
“Hopefully we can go in and get a good result.”
On finishing the season on the road and his thoughts of the season as a whole…
“We want to win the last three games of the season and wherever that leaves us in the table is where it leaves us.
“We’re a little bit disappointed with how the season has sort of fizzled out a little bit. Obviously we had the high of how the league was going and the FA Cup run in January.
“It kind of knocked the stuffing out of us and we went on a bad run and sometimes, when that happens, you just don’t seem to get the breaks and you can’t get yourself out of it.
“It’s not for lack of trying or anything like that – the lads have been trying in every game. Just a small bit of lack of quality from us in certain parts of certain games.
“I think tonight we all proved that we are good players and we can play against any team in this league and beat them.
“You have to look at everything as a club. A lot can change in 12 months – you only have to look at where the club was this time last year and it was probably close to not even being a club.
“You only have to see how difficult it has been for Hartlepool when they got relegated with the finances and stuff like that.
“As a club, we are progressing. I think that’s what everyone looks at and if you look at the bigger picture, people would have snapped your hand off 12 months ago to be in this position in the league.
“As players, we are a little bit disappointed and I think the staff are as-well. It’s been a good season for us, but we know we were so close to moving that little bit higher as-well.
“If we hadn’t have gone on that run [from January] then who knows, we may have been looking at the play-offs.”
JUST ONE MORE CHANCE TO WATCH THE EXILES AT HOME THIS SEASON.
Newport County AFC
28th April 2018 | 3pm