Newport County AFC will be looking to keep their unbeaten record at Rodney Parade alive when they welcome Notts County on Tuesday night. The Exiles will take encouragement from three positive results in the past week, whilst the visitors will be looking for their first victory of the season after a slow start to the campaign so far.
Here, you can read all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
League and cup results
It’s been nothing short of a nightmare for title favourites Notts County to start the 2018/19 campaign, but if there’s any squad that on paper should be able to deal with it, then it’s the Magpies.
After a failed play-off campaign last season, the Nottinghamshire outfit splashed the cash over the summer whilst bringing in a combined total of 10 summer additions.
Five of those new arrivals were involved on the opening day of the season at Meadow Lane, but the home side were ultimately left frustrated as ex-Exiles Frank Nouble and Aaron Collins helped Colchester United to a credible 0-0 draw.
The Magpies were able to find the target in their next match following that false start, but were ultimately left to rue a glorious opportunity as Cambridge United struck in stoppage time to secure a 3-2 victory.
Enzio Boldewijn’s first-half wonder strike put the Magpies in at the break ahead, but two goals from Ade Azeez turned the game on its head before Richard Duffy levelled the scorings once again.
New recruit Kane Hemmings then spurned the chance to win the game late on when blasting over the top from virtually underneath the crossbar, and they were ultimately punished as Barry Corr headed in off the woodwork to leave Notts County stunned.
The Magpies then had the chance to forget about their league worries when kicking off their Carabao Cup campaign, but they were unable to cause an upset despite a thriller as Middlesbrough went through on penalties.
The Championship side had to come from behind on three occasions – Ashley Fletcher scoring twice alongside Enes Mahmutovic, whilst Notts County’s goals came from debutant Tom Crawford and two from Jon Stead – who missed the vital spot-kick in the shootout.
Notts only had three days to rest and recover before returning to league action against Yeovil Town on Friday night.
But what happened at Meadow Lane was something virtually no-one would have expected as the Glovers secured an emphatic away victory – Alex Fisher grabbing a hat-trick and former Magpie Yoann Arquin completing a remarkable victory after Kane Hemmings missed a penalty for the home side.
Notts County have a couple of injury concerns to contend with ahead of travelling to Rodney Parade on Tuesday night.
The Magpies and manager Kevin Nolan will be without at-least two players in South Wales as summer addition Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and defender Ben Hall both remain side-lined.
Goalkeeper Branislav Pindroch will face a late fitness test after picking up an injury during the warm-up in midweek, while another summer signing in Kristian Dennis may start from the bench after only making his first start on Friday night.
For the encounter with Yeovil Town, Nolan made six changes after resting several key members of his squad during the Carabao Cup tie at Middlesbrough.
Enzio Boldewijn, Matt Tootle, Kane Hemmings and David Vaughan were all given the night off so they were ready for the league clash – and Nolan may again experiment with his squad following that disappointing night in-front of their home support.
Notts County team vs Yeovil Town (4-4-2): Fitzsimons, Hewitt, Duffy, Brisley, Jones, Boldewijn, Vaughan (Kellett 57’), Husin, Thomas (Crawford 57’), Dennis (Stead 68’), Hemmings
One to Watch – Enzio Boldewijn
The shining light from a stuttering start for the Magpies, Enzio Boldewijn has at-least been starting to repay the undisclosed fee Notts County forked out for him, a transfer that is believed to have commanded a six-figure sum.
Upon his arrival, manager Kevin Nolan described the 25-year old by the following: "He's one who will definitely excite, and he'll give us that extra little bit of quality in the final third.”
And those sentiments were certainly echoed by the attacking midfielder when opening his account for Notts County against Cambridge United earlier this month.
Described by opposition manager Joe Dunne as a “worldie,” Boldewijn ran and cut in from the left-hand side before curling an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 30 yards.
An ever present in the Notts County midfield so far in League Two this season, the 25-year old joined the Magpies after two glittering years at Crawley Town.
The midfielder played in all bar one of Crawley’s league fixtures in that time, going on to score 16 goals from a total of 100 appearances.
Ten of those goals came in the 2017/18 campaign as he started to show his worth in the English game, as Crawley were the first team to attract Boldewijn from his homeland the Netherlands.
He spent three seasons with hometown team Almere City before Crawley came calling. In all competitions, the winger made just shy of 100 appearances, netting 16 goals in the process.
Prior to his spell with Almere, the winger started his career at FC Utrecht. But he only lasted a season with the club, making 11 appearances and producing no goals, before being loaned out to Den Bosch.
He didn’t fare too much better with them either, scoring only once in 31 games, before kickstarting his career at Almere and then Crawley Town – doing enough to attract Notts County at the beginning of this campaign.
Manager – Kevin Nolan
Notts County manager Kevin Nolan has demanded a response from his promotion favourites after they fell to a comprehensive home defeat against Yeovil Town on the weekend.
Speaking after the game, the 36-year old said: ““I can deal with losing if we’ve been played off the park, but we were out-worked, showed no desire and lost second balls and 50/50s. We were not ourselves and that is totally unacceptable. We cannot put in another performance like that.
“There was so much wrong, which is bizarre because we have worked on a lot of those things. Normally we don’t change the plans, but we have to get the players in [tomorrow] and make them watch that back so they can learn from it.”
Before that shock defeat for Nolan’s side, the former Premier League star had made a bright start to life at Meadow Lane and mirrored Mike Flynn’s managerial career in many aspects.
Not quite to the standard of County’s ‘Great Escape,’ but when Nolan took over in Nottinghamshire on 12th January 2017, the Magpies were in deep trouble and were certainly a contender for the drop in League Two.
They were in the drop zone as late as 21st January following Nolan’s first couple of games, but they bounced back from there with great effect and a run of 10 wins from the final 20 matches saw them comfortable in 16th position.
Like Flynn, Nolan was also tasked with a rebuilding job last season, and after a good Emirates FA Cup run themselves, Nolan took Notts County to the League Two play-offs after a fifth placed finish.
They had been an automatic promotion contender for most of the season – residing in second place in January – mostly down to the fact that they had the longest unbeaten run at home in the entire division before defeat to Exeter City on 20th January 2018.
That meant Nolan had to lead his side into the play-offs, but after a credible 1-1 draw at Coventry City in the first-leg, the Magpies couldn’t capitalise on home advantage and instead went down to a 4-1 defeat thanks in no small part to a stunning display from Maxime Biamou.
Nolan has been given the transfer funds to strengthen where needed in order to get Notts County promoted come the end of the season, but it’s currently been a false start for the Magpies as they trail the early pace setters by six points after the opening three fixtures.
All this has happened in Nolan’s second position in management, following his spell as player-manager at Leyton Orient towards the back-end of the 2015/16 campaign.
Even that brief spell highlighted just how good a manager the 36-year old could yet be, as Orient won seven of his 15 games in charge, before he was somewhat unfortunately relieved of his duties having led them to just two points outside of the League Two play-offs.
Meetings between the two clubs in the 2017/18 campaign
One of the trickier opponents for Newport County AFC last season, the Exiles only managed to accumulate one point from their encounters with Notts County in the 2017/18 campaign.
In the first meeting between the two sides on 28th October 2017, County were comprehensively beaten at Meadow Lane as Notts County returned to the top of the League Two table with a 3-0 victory.
Despite the scoreline, County actually started the brighter and Frank Nouble, Dan Butler and Mickey Demetriou were all denied in the opening half-hour by the reflexes of home goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons.
But the game turned against County on 34 minutes when Butler was harshly adjudged to have led into a challenge against Matt Tootle with a leading arm and was sent off.
From there, the result was virtually inevitable, and it only took the Magpies 100 seconds to take advantage when Jorge Grant curled home into the far corner after clever work from the home side through the middle.
Grant – on loan at the time from neighbours Nottingham Forest – then turned provider as Shola Ameobi crashed in from close range, before the 22-year old capped off a stunning individual performance with his second and 10th of the season.
In the reverse fixture at Rodney Parade on 17th February 2018, the Exiles slightly made up for the defeat when holding the automatic promotion chasers to a 0-0 draw.
The resilience shown by both the defences and midfields of the two sides limited the amount of chances within the game, with both sides actually having their best attempts in the opening five minutes of the contest.
Padraig Amond fired high of the crossbar in the first 30 seconds after encouraging work from Dan Butler and Robbie Willmott down the left-side, while Jon Stead passed up a good chance when found unmarked just five yards out.
Liam Noble could have won the game for the away side with 20 minutes remaining, but he uncharacteristically fired high and wide of an empty net after Joe Day had originally made a smart save to deny Lewis Alessandra.
That meant both sides had to settle for a point at Rodney Parade that did neither side any favours – Notts County realistically out of contention for automatic promotion with the result, while the Exiles drifted further away from the play-off positions.
Referee: Alan Young
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Griffiths
Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Howick
Fourth Official: Thomas Harty
Matchday referee Alan Young will take charge of a League Two fixture for just the third time in his career when he visits Rodney Parade on Tuesday night.
That means he has never before been involved in a Newport County AFC or Notts County fixture in any capacity – whether that be referee, an assistant or the fourth official.
He was one of the 12 referees promoted to the Football League at the start of the season and if his previous League Two fixtures are anything to go by, it could be a thriller in South Wales.
Between the two games, a total of 11 goals have been scored, starting on the opening day of the season when Crewe Alexandra thumped Morecambe 6-0 at Gresty Road. Three yellow cards were awarded in that fixture.
On Saturday, Young gave out his first ever red card in the Football League when dismissing Jay Harris of Tranmere Rovers in their 3-2 defeat at Swindon Town.
The sending off came at a crucial point in the contest as the away side were 2-0 up at the time, but were ultimately undone from there as Joe Romanski rescued Swindon with a second-half strike. A further three yellow cards were also brandished.
All those statistics follow on from the three seasons which Young spent in the National League. He gave out 62 yellows and three red cards from 17 matches in 2015/16, 96 yellows and nine reds from 21 games in 2016/17, meanwhile last season 90 yellows and three reds were awarded from a total of 26 matches.
Other League Two fixtures that day (All 7:45pm kick-offs)
Cambridge United vs Exeter City
Carlisle United vs Port Vale
Colchester United vs Crewe Alexandra
Crawley Town vs Swindon Town
Forest Green Rovers vs Stevenage
Lincoln City vs Bury FC
Macclesfield Town vs Cheltenham Town
Milton Keynes Dons vs Grimsby Town
Morecambe vs Northampton Town
Tranmere Rovers vs Mansfield Town
Yeovil Town vs Oldham Athletic
Can’t make the match?
You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat (OfficialExiles) and Instagram pages.
Commentary by Charlie Brown and Richard Shepherd can as always be found at the Match Centre from 7.30pm. Subscribe to iFollow Exiles for this service.
An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to #iFollowExiles.