Newport County AFC’s composed and polished team performance in the 4-1 victory at Cambridge United in the Carabao Cup was as good an away performance as the team could have hoped for, according to striker Jamille Matt.
Matt used his attributes to great advantage against the Cambridge defence and managed to grab himself two assists and his first County goal from the encounter at the Abbey Stadium.
On 18 minutes his deft flick-on bounced off Harry Darling’s foot and into the path of strike-partner Padraig Amond, the Irishman reacting quickly to finish first-time into Dimitar Mitov’s near post from outside the area.
Four minutes later, Matt and Amond again combined to finish off a simply sublime passage of play that must be earmarked as an early goal of the season contender.
14 passes, nine County players involved. The Exiles covered every blade of grass with a polished and accurate passing move, the ball eventually falling into Matt’s path who split the defence to allow Amond to run clear and calmly dispatch his second of the contest.
Matt then capped off a fine individual performance with his first goal since joining County in the summer, looping a header over Mitov from eight yards after being found in the area from an inviting Matty Dolan delivery.
Substitute Antoine Semenyo then put the game beyond any question in Cambridgeshire when extending County’s advantage with four minutes to play, waltzing past the defence before firing a shot emphatically into the bottom corner from a tight angle on the edge of the penalty area.
Cambridge did grab themselves a late consolation when Ade Azeez coolly dispatched a penalty late on but that couldn’t put a dampener on the County performances as they booked their place in the Second Round of the Carabao Cup with a comprehensive display.
The win also stretches County’s winning run over their League Two counterparts to four matches and here, you can read what Matt exclusively told iFollow Exiles following the completion of the game.
On his two assists and first County goal at Cambridge United in the Carabao Cup…
"Definitely I’m claiming the assist for the first one [even though it may come off the defender] and I’ve been saying to Podge in the changing room that I’ve two assists and a goal today.
"To be honest, I’m just happy that Podge got on the end of it, he’s so sharp in and around the box so I know when I flick it on, he’ll be there or thereabouts and fortunately he was there tonight, and he took that first goal really well.
"We did talk at half-time because we knew 2-0 was a precarious kind of lead. We wanted to guard against that because we thought they would come out and try to press us, get in our faces and try and get back into the game.
"So I was obviously happy to get my first goal for the club as it did kill them off a bit and it managed to keep us on top of the game.
"It was a great cross from Matty Dolan to be fair. The ball sat up in a great area for me to go and attack it. There were a few lads around me, but I was able to get myself in there, I’m backing myself to score a few headers this season, so I was happy to get on the end of it and score.
"As a striker, you’re obviously never happy with just the one goal. But like I said, I’m delighted to get off the mark for the club first and foremost – it’s a long season so I’ll be looking to carry that on into the weekend or whenever I’m next selected."
On the second County goal that includes 14 passes and involved nine members of the squad…
"Yeah definitely [it’s one of the best goals I’ve ever been involved in.] Even at the time, we were saying to each other on the pitch that we knew we had kept the ball for quite a bit.
"We passed and moved, when the ball came to myself I saw Podge and just tried to play him in.
"It’s always a good goal to score because you work on that kind of stuff in training and it doesn’t always come off. But it’s a brilliant feeling when it does come off and I’m looking forward to seeing it back properly because even on the pitch it felt like a great goal, so it will be brilliant to watch it back.
"Like I say, it definitely felt good when we were playing it. I don’t think Cambridge got anywhere near us and it was so crucial that we got that move finished off.
"But if you give it to Podge in the area, he normally scores so it was a brilliant end to a brilliant move."
On the attacking unit at the club…
"At any club I’ve been at, we’ve always had different options up-front and I think we’ve definitely got that here.
"We’ve got different players that complement each other quite well in different combinations. It’s always good when a couple of the strikers score, okay Sparky didn’t score on Saturday, but he was really brilliant in that game.
"He was really, really good and I’m sure the gaffer has got some selection headaches for the weekend. But that’s always good because it means that all the lads are playing well.
"It’s still early days for us but I’m excited to see what it brings for the rest of the season. We’ve not played many games together, we obviously train together, but I’m really excited to see what can happen.
"I have to say, it’s great for Antoine to get his first professional goal. He’s a great lad, willing to learn, he’s young and he’s got everything needed – you can see that already even at a young age.
"The first thing I saw [when he arrived at the club on loan] was that he’s willing to learn and take advice on board which you can see on the pitch and he took his goal brilliantly.
"Myself and all the lads congratulated him because that feeling of your first professional goal really is a massive feeling.
"It’s not a feeling of a weight being lifted off your shoulders but it’s a feeling of pure jubilation.
"You could see he was really happy to score his first professional goal and I’m absolutely buzzing for him."
On trying to replicate recent performances at early pace setters Exeter City on Saturday…
"I thought every man that went out there today played well and did their job. It’s a team game, so if we can all do that during the season then you might have a game where we don’t play as-well as tonight but if everyone sticks together then we might nick a win.
"It’s a very good result to get through to the next round of the competition but I don’t think we can get too carried away, we’ve just got to keep our feet on the ground and focus on Saturday against Exeter.
"It will be a very tough game. They have started off really well, but we’ll have the confidence coming from these two most recent games. We’re looking forward to it and itching to get into that game on Saturday.
"All the boys today are pushing for a starting place, so the gaffer will have some selection headaches.
"Just looking forward to it really. The standards we have set today must be kept to, everyone doing their jobs and not switching off or allowing their man to get free.
"I think we have to do the same Saturday, and of course week in week out as-well because it’s inevitable that there will be games where we don’t play well in a 46-game season, so we’ve just got to make sure that we stick to the basics and the standards set today. If we do, we’ll be alright.
"We have to go there with the belief that we can win. I don’t think there’s any point in turning up if you don’t think you can win. We’ll go with confidence and try to implement the performances from the last two games and if we do, I’m sure we won’t be too far away from a result."
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