Newport County AFC’s victory over Grimsby Town on Saturday was more important than the Emirates FA Cup win over Championship outfit Leeds United the previous week, according to Exiles striker Frank Nouble.
Nouble played a pivotal part in Robbie Willmott giving County the lead in Lincolnshire on 19 minutes, linking up with Padraig Amond and Matty Dolan, before allowing Willmott to fire past home goalkeeper Jake Kean from just outside the area.
Joss Labadie and Dan Butler both had attempts cleared off the line by Ben Davies as County searched to increase their lead, while ex-Mariner Padraig Amond also saw a chipped effort hooked away by Zak Mills before half-time.
But the Exiles wouldn’t be prevented from getting a second for too much longer, however, as on 55 minutes Nouble scored his eighth of the season with a curling effort that deflected off Karleigh Osborne on its way in.
Jamille Matt then pulled a goal back for Grimsby with ten minutes remaining, before being sent off nine minutes later, as County held on to move within two points of the play-off positions.
Post-match, Nouble spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about that impressive away victory, his desire to get the club promoted and how County can take another step towards the top seven in League 2 with a victory over Crawley Town on Friday night.
On the victory against Grimsby Town…
“I thought we were brilliant all game.
“Obviously it’s a long journey coming up here, very cold and I think we did start off a bit slow.
“But at the end of the first-half I think we had a well-deserved lead, a few goal-line blocks for their defenders who really did put their body on the line.
“But overall, we’re just happy to get the win, another game ruled off the list, we’ve got 19 to go so hopefully we can give it everything we can for that last push.”
On avoiding any potential FA Cup hangover…
“The FA Cup has gone now.
“We’re in League 2 and we have got to make sure that we try to get ourselves out the league. If we lose to Grimsby and beat Leeds, then it’s pathetic really.
“Obviously a few results went our way today and it’s just about trying to get those back-to-back wins.
“It’s very important in this league – if you get two wins then you shoot up the table.
“Even Grimsby today, they weren’t too far off us. If they won, they would have been two points behind us and they think they’re having a bad season by their fans.
“So we’re just happy to be on 42 points and two points off it (the play-offs.) We’ll get in there because we’re better than most teams in the league anyway, so we’ll be fine.”
On his eighth goal of the campaign…
“Yeah it’s my goal.
“I think it was going on target anyway and I put enough power on it. Maybe the keeper would have saved it but either way, it’s taken a deflection and gone in.
“It’s definitely my goal, I’ve cut inside and had a shot, luckily for me and the team it’s gone in, so I’ll take that.”
On Joe Day’s incredible save mere seconds before the goal…
“That’s what happens when you have the best goalkeeper in the league. We know we can rely on him to make a save and it’s tough for him because that was their first clear cut chance.
“We’ve got a great goalie so I’m buzzing for him that he made that save.
“The goal was a bit difficult for him because he’s on the side obviously, a deflected shot and it’s come in and he’s got the rebound.
“Obviously well done to them for getting that goal but we were still well in control. It’s just about defending the long balls they were doing at the end there and I think we did that well overall.”
On Robbie Willmott’s second successive league goal…
“Robbie has come into some great form and we’re just lucky to have a player like that in our team.
“He’s a ball carrier for us and we know we can give the ball to him under pressure and he can handle it.
“It’s a great strike, I didn’t see it too much because I was on the other side. I didn’t celebrate with him, he was a bit far away from me but I’m buzzing for him as-well to score today.
“We’re just happy for the fans that travelled, a long way here, so three points is great.”
On the battling desire shown by County during the eight additional minutes…
“It was a bit crazy but that’s football at the end of the day and you just have to deal with that.
“Obviously, I’m sure people watching thought it was a nail-biting time when eight went up and we were thinking that as-well.
“But everyone put their bodies on the line, Tyler came on for his debut and I thought he did well, any time he got it he tried to push the ball forward and was a good carrier for us.
“Shawn coming on late, trying to get in the corners and buy us some time, it was good.”
On targeting the play-offs this season…
“There’s teams in there at the moment that we know that we are better than so we just need to prove it. Promotion is everything to us.
“I think some people will say that we are over-achieving but let them think that. We know we have a good, solid group here.
“We’re always going to score a goal. I don’t think there’s been many games where we haven’t scored so as long as we can keep it to them not scoring or maybe the odd one then we’ll most likely win the game.
“We’ve got 19 games left and we need to prove ourselves every week just like we did against Leeds in the FA Cup.
“But we can’t just do it against the big teams. We have to prove it against the Grimsby’s, Morecambe’s and Crawley’s of this league.
“Every week we need to prove ourselves. We know we are the underdogs, nobody wants to come to Newport, so we’ll give it to them when they come to Rodney Parade.”
On putting the upcoming Tottenham game firmly to the back of his mind…
“Everyone will probably want to play that game. They will probably want to bring their families and stuff like that so it’s a big game.
“But we’ve got two games before that which I think are bigger for us right now.
“If we win them two, hopefully, then it puts us right in the mix. It could be us challenging for promotion and that’s more important than the Tottenham game.
“If you play well in any game, you will give yourself a chance of the Tottenham game, and I think that’s the goal.”
On the January additions brought in by the Exiles…
“I think everyone is looking forward to seeing Josh Sheehan play after what he did last year. So am I.
“But the team are winning so it’s hard to mix it too much now. He’ll get his chance and he’ll take it.
“He’s a good lad, everyone is training well, Tyler came in today only for a short time but you can see what he can offer us.
“Paul Hayes and Aaron Collins as-well, a few players itching to come on so the boys playing just have to give it everything because we know we have good quality coming in.”
On facing Crawley Town on Friday night at Rodney Parade…
“We beat them last time didn’t we? Yeah, so hopefully it’ll be a repeat.
“I saw their result today, they won, so they will probably come in a bit more confident.
“But I think we have a few tickets sold for that game and it will be a great atmosphere.
“Even that game against Leeds, I had never before experienced Rodney Parade that busy.
“I think the boys did last year in the last game but that will be brilliant again. They will spur us on and hopefully we can do that again.
“We just have to beat them, that’s all we can do. Just think about beating them and concentrate on that, no Tottenham or nothing like that, focus on Crawley and hopefully we can get the result we want.”