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Match Reports

REPORT| County back to winning ways against Swindon Town

14 April 2018

First-half goals from Padraig Amond and Ben Tozer were enough to see Newport County AFC return to winning ways as they secured a 2-1 victory over Swindon Town at Rodney Parade.

The opening goal of the contest came with the first real opening of note in South Wales and it was Amond to get it, scoring his first goal in over two months in the process.

The Irishman superbly controlled David Pipe's cross into the area, requiring just one touch to get it under his control, before volleying a stunning effort over away goalkeeper Stuart Moore and into the top corner.

That lead was doubled after 35 minutes as Tozer scored for the second successive game against his former employers after his winner at the County Ground back in November.

It was again the product of another pinpoint delivery into the area, the cross from Ben White on this occasion, with Tozer rising highest to guide a header into the bottom left corner from eight yards.

Swindon found a way back into the contest just after the hour-mark, substitute Donal McDermott having the desired effect after his half-time introduction, whipping a cross into the area which seemed to evade everybody on its way into the far corner.

Bristol Rovers loanee Rollin Menayese was then sent off for the away side with 20 minutes remaining for a second bookable offence, a late challenge on Matty Dolan from a corner seeing the defender given his marching orders.  

And the Exiles held on from there with sheer resilience, Tozer hitting the post late on as Swindon searched in vain for an equaliser, meaning a first win at Rodney Parade for County since 19th January.

The three-point haul sees County rise above Crawley Town and back into the top half in 12th position, closing the gap on the play-off positions to 10 points with five fixtures remaining this season.

Mike Flynn elected to name just the one change to his starting side that was narrowly edged out against Stevenage at Rodney Parade last time out.

That saw Scot Bennett return for his first start since the defeat to Mansfield Town on February 13th, with Frank Nouble making way in his place to be named amongst the substitutes.

Despite that alteration not necessarily being a like-for-like change, the Exiles were still able to field their familiar 3-5-2 formation from the first whistle at Rodney Parade.

Bennett came in as part of the three central defenders, while Ben Tozer pushed further up into the centre of midfield after playing as part of the defence last weekend.

Paul Hayes, Marlon Jackson, Mark O’Brien and Joss Labadie all missed out through injury.

Swindon Town manager Phil Brown also made one change to his starting side that were held to a draw at home to Yeovil Town on Tuesday night.

Captain Olly Lancashire was forced to miss out on the entire matchday squad after being knocked unconscious for a moment in midweek.

Ex-Cardiff City youngster Rollin Menayese was the player chosen to deputise for his captain, that a like-for-like change as the Robins stuck to a 4-4-2 formation with Marc Richards and Kaiyne Woolery leading the line up-front.

The opening ten minutes of the match in South Wales came and went without a moment of note, both sides happy to contest a midfield battle to start proceedings.

A shot from Tozer that drifted narrowly over the crossbar on 12 minutes should have given the away side a warning that County were starting to edge things in terms of ascendency.

And the Exiles weren’t kept away for too much longer as they took the lead just as 14 minutes had elapsed on the scoreboard.

Aaron Collins skipped past two challenges with intent on the County right-hand side before allowing David Pipe to curl a pinpoint delivery into the area for Amond to get hold of.

The Irishman only needed one touch to get the ball under his control, allowing it to bounce before volleying a looping effort over away goalkeeper Stuart Moore and into the top left corner.  

That was Amond’s first goal since 30th January and it certainly gave him confidence, trying an audacious overhead kick shortly after that Menayese had to head away from the goal.

But the early goal also sparked a response from the away side and Mickey Demetriou had to be alert and get a foot in to stop a cross reaching Richards at the far post.

The Robins were slowly edging their way into a dominant spell of possession and some more expert defending was required from Bennett to keep the away side out on the half hour.

Woolery forced his way past Butler out-wide before smashing a cross along the six-yard line that looked like it may present Scott Twine with a chance for his first EFL goal, only for Bennett to get a vital interception in and prevent the opportunity.

But the best way to stifle that spell of dominance from the away side was for County to get a goal and they duly doubled the advantage with 35 minutes played.

It was the product of some more superb work off the ball from Amond, forcing Chris Hussey to scuff a clearance into the path of Ben White just outside the area. The left-back did the rest, drilling an inch perfect cross into the area for ex-Robin Ben Tozer to plant a header into the far bottom left corner from eight yards. 

That was the final chance mustered by either side despite the indication of two minutes additional time, meaning County had a healthy lead to take back to the dressing rooms at half-time.

It was certainly no more than the Exiles deserved for a commanding first-half, taking their best chances when they arrived, while also controlling the majority of the midfield.

The off the ball running from Amond was causing Swindon a whole host of problems in-behind, while Mickey Demetriou was marshalling the defence expertly when the Robins were coming forward.

Swindon showed in glimpses why they were narrowly outside of the play-off positions before kick-off, Scott Twine impressing on just his second start for the club, although Joe Day would have been mightily pleased with the output from his defence in that first-half.

Brown made two changes at half-time to try and turn the tide in their favour, Paul Mullin and Donal McDermott both taking to the field, and those alterations almost made the required impact within 60 seconds of their introduction.

Mullin was twice denied on the goal line from consecutive corner kicks, Day and Demetriou getting in the way, before Twine sent a volley in that Dan Butler had to clear away from danger with a leaping header.

McDermott rattled the crossbar after 57 minutes as the Robins continued to look for a way back into the contest, the away side definitely implementing a more attacking formation for the second-half.

But they almost got caught out by County on the counter-attack - and had it not been for a smart reaction save from Moore then the game could have been out of sight after a powerful header from Demetriou.

And that save proved even more vital when the Robins did find a route back into the contest just 60 seconds later.

It was the product of some intricate passing play from the away side, McDermott curling a dangerous delivery into the area that seemed to miss everyone on its way through and into the far corner.

Mullin may have got the slightest of touches onto that delivery, but instead of springing them back into life, their job was about to get a lot harder on 65 minutes as Menayese was dismissed for a late challenge on Matty Dolan.

That sending off seemed to stifle the game somewhat and it took until the 80th minute for another chance to be created.

County substitute Frank Nouble was the player to create that opportunity after chasing down what looked to be a lost ball, although Moore reacted with haste to narrow the angle and make a smart save.

Tozer then dramatically hit the post with 60 seconds remaining, trying an audacious attempt from halfway after Swindon had thrown everyone including the goalkeeper into the area for a corner.

That was the final chance created at Rodney Parade as the Exiles held on for a long-awaited home victory, completing the double over the Robins thanks to matchwinners in both games from Tozer. 

 

County: Day, Pipe (C) (Reid 81’), White, Bennett, Demetriou, Butler, Dolan, Willmott, Tozer, Collins (Nouble 64’), Amond

Subs not used: Bittner, Foulston, Touray, Sheehan, Jahraldo

 

Swindon Town: Moore, Knoyle, Purkiss (Mullin 45’), Menayese, Hussey, Twine (Linganzi 69’), Banks, Dunne, Taylor, Woolery (McDermott 45’), Richards (C)

Subs not used: Charles-Cook, Elsnik, Anderson, McGivern

 

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 3,911 (949 AWAY)

Next up for County: Barnet (21st April) AWAY

 


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