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Match Reports

REPORT| County secure victory against Crewe Alexandra in Rodney Parade opener

11 August 2018

Padraig Amond and Joe Day were the heroes as Newport County AFC ushered in their first success of the 2018/19 campaign with a 1-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra.

After a frantic opening by both sides, the only goal of the game came on 33 minutes and highlighted everything that was good about the County attack at Rodney Parade.

Mickey Demetriou and Mark Harris were both involved on the left-hand side to allow the former to whip an inviting delivery into the area, the Irishman met it and planted a header into the far side and away from the best attempts of Dave Richards.

Crewe were certainly displaying why they topped the table before the game even at this early stage, James Jones hitting the post with a long-range freekick.

Their best chance was still to come, however, as they were awarded a penalty on 65 minutes after Paul Green was fouled in the area by Mickey Demetriou.

The Railwaymen captain for the day got up to take it, but found a resurgent Joe Day in his way as the County shot stopper got a powerful hand down quickly to his right-hand side to keep out the spot kick.

That means even after two matches, the Exiles rise seven places and up to 16th in the League Two table as Mike Flynn mounts his charge towards a better league finish than last season. 

Flynn elected to make three changes to the side that suffered an opening day defeat to Mansfield Town last time out.

It was a change in each area of the field during a trio of attacking changes for the Exiles in their 3-5-2 formation, starting with David Pipe replacing Tyler Forbes in the right-wing back position.

Keanu Marsh-Brown missed out on the matchday squad as part of the five injury problems for County, having his place in the team taken by Josh Sheehan – who came off the bench last weekend.

Mark Harris completed the changes when coming into the side for his Exiles debut, starting with Padraig Amond up-front as Jamille Matt was named on the bench at Rodney Parade.

Crewe manager David Artell made one change to his starting side that won 6-0 against Morecambe last weekend, although it was an enforced change for the 37-year old to make.

Club captain George Ray missed out completely after taking a hit to the ribs against the Shrimpers, his place taken by Nicky Hunt as the Railwaymen stuck to their 4-4-2 formation in South Wales.  

If last weekend was anything to go by, the Exiles and their opposition were again out of the traps with intent and both could have had a goal within the opening three minutes.  

Crewe were the side to initially hit the ground running at Rodney Parade - but after some clever work on the right-hand side, Charlie Kirk found Scot Bennett in his way and the County defender timed an interception to perfection to deny the shooting chance.

The Exiles hit back from there and almost opened up the away defence with some splitting play. Harris was the main architect of the attack, his run and cross finding Amond in the area, but neither he or Sheehan on the follow-up could find a way of beating Abergavenny born Dave Richards in the Crewe goal.

County were not afraid to implement a system that pressurized the away side from the off, putting them on the back foot by playing with intensity, and creating a couple of chances against the early League Two pace setters.

Amond had a further two chances in the opening half-hour but they only tested the palms of Richards, and for all the endeavour from the Exiles, it was in-fact Crewe who had the best openings in that period.

After a marauding run past three challenges, Alex Nicholls fired narrowly wide of the mark on 12 minutes, before James Jones hit the outside of the post with a curling 25-yard free-kick.   

But the lively presence of Amond in the penalty area was a constant source of attack for the Exiles; it was only a matter of time before the Irishman found the net and it came on 33 minutes.

It came from another clever piece of play on the left-side - the area County had been exploiting from the off - although it was Mickey Demetriou and not Dan Butler on this occasion to whip the delivery into the area, pinpointing Amond to allow him to head back across the goalkeeper and into the far corner.

Crewe did attempt to hit back immediately but despite some encouraging pieces of play, no further chances could be created by either side as County took a slender lead back with them to the dressing rooms.

From an Exiles perspective, Harris was particularly standing out on his competitive debut, his tenacity and attitude of chasing every cause highlighting just why Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock rates the 19-year old so highly.

County were backing that intense attacking play with a resolute defensive system, and Fraser Franks and Scot Bennett almost used their skills to advantageous effect at the other end when sending headers just wide of the post from corners within minutes of the restart.

Sheehan was next to see his attempt from range tipped over the bar by Richards, but that was the only other chance produced before the hour mark as the wet, windy and swirling conditions were certainly playing their part on the football played at Rodney Parade.

At that point, Flynn decided to make his first tactical substitution of the afternoon as Harris was replaced to a standing ovation, the youngster working his heart into the ground for the Exiles until being replaced by Antoine Semenyo.

On 65 minutes, Crewe had a massive chance to get an equaliser in the contest after captain-for-the-day Paul Green was felled in the area by Demetriou and the visitors had a spot-kick.

Joe Day got down well to the effort after Green stood back up to take it, getting a strong hand on the attempt to not only save the penalty but push the ball away from any potential rebounds.    

Crewe certainly had the ascendency at that point but found a resolute defensive unit in their way, Charlie Cooper coming on in place of Josh Sheehan to provide that extra shield for the Exiles.

That change worked a treat for County as even with the indication of four additional minutes, no further chances could be created as the Exiles kicked off their Rodney Parade campaign in style with a victory against the early table toppers.

 

Newport County AFC (4-3-3): Day, Pipe, Franks, Demetriou, Butler, Bennett, Crofts (C), Dolan, Sheehan (Cooper 69’) Amond (Matt 90’), Harris (Semenyo 60’)

Subs not used: Townsend, Bakinson, Foulston, Forbes

 

Crewe Alexandra (4-4-2): Richards, Ng, Hunt (Raynes 89’), Nolan, Pickering, Jones, Green (C), Wintle, Kirk (Ainley 55’), Nicholls, Bowery

Subs not used: Garratt, Walker, Lowery, Finney, Reilly

 

Referee: Brett Huxtable

Attendance: 3,243 (253 AWAY)

Next up for County: Cambridge United (14th August 2018) AWAY – Carabao Cup First Round


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