Scoring the first goal to help Newport County AFC to a 2-0 victory over Yeovil Town was a special present for the fans that worked so hard to bring him back to the club on a permanent deal in January, according to Exiles midfielder Josh Sheehan.
Sheehan’s goal broke the deadlock after 57 minutes in what was the first real chance of the afternoon, the 22-year old curling home into the far corner after bursting into the area to meet Ben White’s inch-perfect delivery.
The Exiles then had to rely on the heroics from Joe Day once again to maintain that lead just ten minutes later, the County shot stopper not only somehow getting a hand to a Francois Zoko header, but also tipping the attempt away from the danger area.
Paul Hayes then ensured that County would get their first three-point haul since 19th January by adding a late second, calmly dispatching the opportunity after substitute Frank Nouble had unselfishly squared the ball into the area.
Post-match, Sheehan spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about that first goal since re-joining the club, the first win in ten matches for the Exiles and how the side are ready to make it back-to-back wins when Luton Town visit Rodney Parade next weekend.
On the victory against Yeovil Town at Huish Park…
“It’s been very frustrating the last few months not winning a game, but we’ve been pushing on the last few games, especially against Port Vale and Forest Green where we should have won.
“But today I’m glad I’ve got in the team and I’ve proved why I should be starting and finally got a goal so I’m really happy.
“Yeovil played well I thought. They played some good football as-well, switching the play a lot, and they caused us some problems in midfield because there was a lot of running for us.
“The result shows that we managed that effectively and we just rode the storm when they were attacking towards the end, that will happen in every game because there’s always a period of defending.
“It paid off because as soon as we got the goal it kind of knocked a bit out of them, we settled more and then Hayesy killed it off with the second goal.”
On dedicating his goal to the fans that helped bring him back to Newport County AFC in January on a permanent basis…
“That goal of course goes towards those fans, if you see my celebration then I think you would see that I did get a bit overexcited.
“It’s been frustrating for me this past year being out injured and things like that, frustrating being on the bench now even though it is really good to be back from the injury.
“A lot of frustration had built up, but it paid off after the goal.
“The fans in particular were different class today throughout the game. I could hear them chanting my name and I really appreciate it from them.
“They brought me back to the club as-well, so I can’t really thank them enough. We’ll try and do our best by them now and try and get in the play-offs.”
On scoring a first goal for the club in 420 days…
“I think it was Colchester at home the last time I scored, around January last year I think, the injury then happened in March, so it’s been a frustrating year really.
“I’m back now with a goal and I think it has showed everyone that I’m truly back now.
“Obviously it’s been a long time coming but it was perfect timing really, to help get the win after ten games because we are looking towards promotion to be honest and looking for the play-offs, we’re not looking to have an easy ride and just stay in the league this season.”
On Paul Hayes scoring another goal for the Exiles…
“Hayesy is on fire at the moment.
“He scored a hat-trick the other day even though the first one was a bit lucky, so he just has to keep it going.
“We always back ourselves when we get those chances to be ruthless.
“We might not have been so ruthless in the last few games, but today we really were ruthless because we only had two real clear-cut chances and we managed to score them both.
“We’re [Sheehan and Hayes] really close off the pitch as-well, we always speak to each-other off the pitch at the training ground and things like that.
“Hopefully we can show that bond on the pitch in future games just like today.”
On the battling resilience of the defensive line at Huish Park…
“The defence was a different class I thought. Ben Tozer just slotted back in there and he seemed really comfortable, no real threat to him.
“The back five was solid so I think it was quite easy for them.
“We’ve had a few clean sheets lately, another one today and scored two as-well. We’ve been ruthless today at both ends of the pitch and that’s a big thing moving forward.
“We deserved the three points today and we can go home happy now.”
On whether the play-offs are a realistic target for the Exiles…
“We’re going to try and win every game left obviously, there’s ten left so we’ll try and win ten.
“There’s no doubt about that and I think with the quality that we have in our squad from 1-20 men in the team shows we have what it takes.
“Hopefully we can go on that run and keep going just like they did at the end of last season.
“That’s what the gaffer told us after the game – we’ve closed the gap and it’s all down to us now.
“We’re not concerned about anybody else because however they get on is how they get on.
“If they win every game, then it’s impossible for us. But I doubt they will so if we keep winning our games then I’m sure we’ll have a very good chance of getting there.”
On facing a Luton Town side next weekend who were knocked off the top of League 2 for the first time since 25th November…
“We won’t take it any different whether they are at the top of the league or the bottom of the league.
“We’ll just do our thing, do our analysis on them and play our game. We’ll make sure we go into that game full of confidence after the result today, they might be down you don’t know, you never really know how any team is going to react.
“Regardless really, we just want to win every single game from now until the end of the season.
“Luton have always been one of the top teams in this division, they’ve got a great fan base and a lot of money behind them I think.
“But on the pitch, it’s 11v11 so we’ll just back ourselves and obviously try and win the game.”
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