Newport County AFC continued their pre-season preparations with a narrow 1-0 defeat against a highly experienced Swansea City side.
The only goal of the game came after 13 minutes of the contest and involved two players of Premier League calibre, Andre Ayew sending a deft flick behind the County defence for Luciano Narsingh to collect and curl into the bottom far corner from inside the area.
For the game at Fairwood Training Complex, Mike Flynn elected to name a strong side from the off against his Championship counterparts.
The Exiles again lined-up in the 4-2-1-3 formation implemented at Bristol City and Chippenham Town, with Dan Butler, Mickey Demetriou, Mark O’Brien and David Pipe composing the defensive line in-front of Joe Day.
Summer signing Andrew Crofts and Scot Bennett made up the covering line in-front of the defence, whilst Matty Dolan was the furthest forward of the midfield trio.
All those players provided support to an attacking line-up of Keanu Marsh-Brown, Padraig Amond and Robbie Willmott.
Swansea, meanwhile, also went for a senior side during the friendly and fielded a starting 11 that had played over 200 Premier League games combined.
And it was one of the more experienced players for Swansea, Andre Ayew, that stole the show in the first-half.
The attacker controlled the first-half proceedings for his side and had a heavy hand in them taking an early lead after just 13 minutes.
His deft flick behind the County defensive line sent Luciano Narsingh in-behind, the left-winger taking a couple of touches to compose himself before curling a shot past Joe Day into the far corner from inside the area.
Before half-time, the 28-year old also had three key chances to double his sides advantage but found a stubborn County defence in his way.
Ayew’s snapshot from just outside the area on 19 minutes forced Mark O’Brien to deflect it out for the corner, Wayne Routledge’s delivery also falling to the attacker, but he could only send an acrobatic attempt over the training pitch.
Day was also forced into a clever save on the half-hour to deny the former West Ham United striker and also had to react quickly to deny a header from home captain Federico Fernandez.
County’s greatest attacking threat during the first-half came from the aerial deliveries of Robbie Willmott and Matty Dolan.
Mickey Demetriou nearly found the top corner as the half drew to a close following a scramble in the box, while Padraig Amond also came close when forcing a smart save from home goalkeeper Erwin Moulder.
Flynn elected to keep to the same team in the second-half but decided to make eight changes on the hour mark to give more first-teamers a chance against their Championship counterparts.
Antoine Semenyo came straight in after arriving at the club yesterday, playing wide right of a spear-headed attack and was joined up-front by Jamille Matt.
Josh Sheehan entered the midfield fray to play against his former side, while Charlie Cooper, Fraser Franks and Tyler Forbes were joined by two trialists.
And one of the oncoming players for County almost made the desired impact as Fraser Franks came agonisingly close to his first goal of pre-season when skimming the crossbar with a header from Charlie Cooper’s delivery.
Swansea made six changes themselves at this point and Jefferson Montero certainly made his presence known with some dazzling footwork having entered proceedings on the left wing.
Like the first-half, County were coping well against a highly experienced Swansea side and no further chances could be created as the Exiles made a further two changes with fifteen minutes to go.
Demetriou and Marsh-Brown came off to leave Joe Day as the only player to appear for the whole ninety minutes, that duo replaced by Jay Foulston and Lewis Collins.
The home side almost, however, doubled their advantage after 80 minutes.
It required some unbelievable reflexes from Day to keep the attempt out, Matt Grimes’ drilled effort taking a deflection on its way through, but the County goalkeeper managed to get an outstretched leg to the attempt.
Jordan Ayew and Yan Dhanda combined well shortly after as Swansea looked to press home their ascendency, only for the midfielder to drag his attempt from outside the area wide when under pressure from Franks.
But for all their arduous work and desire, County refused to give up and kept pressing the home defence as the clock wound down, Semenyo unlucky not to force an equaliser with a curling attempt.
Day again had to be called into action deep into added time when repelling a thumping attempt at his near post, with Joe Rodon hitting the roof of the net with his header from a corner.
That was how it remained at the Fairwood Training Complex, a useful exercise for the County players against a highly experienced Swansea City side.
Newport County AFC First 60 minutes XI (4-2-1-3): Day, Butler, Demetriou, O’Brien, Pipe, Crofts, Bennett, Dolan, Marsh-Brown, Amond, Willmott
Newport County AFC Final 30 minutes XI: Day, Forbes, Franks, Demetriou (Foulston 75’), Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Cooper, Sheehan, Semenyo, Matt, Marsh-Brown (Collins 75’)
Swansea City (4-1-4-1): Erwin Moulder, Connor Roberts (Kyle Naughton 63’), Mike Van Der Hoorn, Federico Fernandez (Joe Rodon 42’), Matt Grimes, Jordi Amat (Jay Fulton 63’), Tom Carroll, Dan James (Joel Asoro 63’), Wayne Routledge (Yan Dhanda 63’), Luciano Narsingh (Jefferson Montero 63’), Andre Ayew (Jordan Ayew 63’)