The 1-1 draw with high-flyers Luton Town showed the true credentials of Newport County AFC as the side continue to battle for a place in the League 2 play-offs, according to Exiles midfielder Matty Dolan.
County were ahead within the opening two minutes of the contest as Josh Sheehan scored for the second successive match, finishing off the opportunity inside the area after Aaron Collins had seen a shot saved by Hatters goalkeeper Marek Stech.
More good work from Collins almost presented the Exiles with a second on the quarter-of-an-hour, although Robbie Willmott couldn’t find the net against his former employers as his header cannoned back off the post.
The visitors then found their equaliser with 23 minutes on the clock, defender Dan Potts rising highest from an Alan Sheehan corner to head home into the top corner.
Exiles goalkeeper Joe Day had to repel a shot from Luton striker James Collins as the visitors looked to turn the game on its head, the Hatters talisman also hitting the crossbar before half-time.
That was how it stayed at Rodney Parade as County extended their unbeaten run to five matches, whilst remaining in 11th position in the League 2 table and seven points adrift from the play-off positions.
Post-match, Dolan spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about the draw against the Hatters, the impact of Aaron Collins on his first start since re-joining the club on loan and how he hopes the £5 a ticket initiative against Crewe Alexandra will entice a bumper crowd to once again fill out Rodney Parade next weekend.
On the draw with Luton Town…
“I thought we did well to be fair.
“Obviously a good start getting the goal early, nice to see Josh get on the scoresheet again, thought Aaron Collins did brilliantly as-well from minute one to the end.
“Deserved his chance, he’s been on fire all week in training so that made it a good result.
“Obviously, kind of hung on there at the end and it was disappointing to concede from a set piece.
“We owed them one I think, and we competed well throughout.
“Could have got the three points but it wasn’t to be obviously because of the set-piece, I think their budget is three or four times bigger than ours and it just shows how well we have done as a squad.
“We’re pushing on now so hopefully we can get in the play-offs come the end of the season, like you say great result today and good to pitch ourselves against Luton and obviously come out maybe on top.
“A good point and we move on now.”
On the impact of Aaron Collins and another goal for Josh Sheehan…
“Aaron deserved his chance. He’d probably be the first to tell you that he was a little bit sloppy when he first came in, but he was just getting used to it again and I thought he was fantastic today.
“The way he glides past players looks a bit easy for him. Like I said, it was a great performance from Aaron and hopefully that confidence will mean that he will give even better performances from now until the end of the season.
“Josh is a top quality player and to be fair to the club, to get Josh here was absolutely brilliant and it’s a marker of where we are going to go as a football club.
“He will get you them goals, he will find you those pockets. Maybe today, where it was a bit more direct then he might get frustrated but that’s up to us then to make sure we get him on the ball.
“Like you say, he’s there for the goals, that’s his job as the nu.10.
“And obviously today missing the skipper, everyone had to work their socks off and we want to do everything we can for him until the end of the season.
“We’ll get in them play-offs and we’ll give them to him.”
On trying to break into the League 2 play-offs before the end of the season…
“That’s what the manager has told us – we’re not letting this season peter out and you can see that the squad is not letting it peter out either.
“The home games are obviously massive [from now until the end of the season.]
“We knew at the start of the season with all the away games that if we put ourselves in with a chance then we could do it. Everyone in that dressing room believes that we are a match for anyone at home and I think we proved that today.
“In a season, you are going to go through tough spells. We were doing so well, and it was so frustrating in the dressing room to drop off them play-offs.
“We’d rather drop off them early, storm on and then hopefully nick in and get into them. We won’t be writing ourselves off those play-offs just yet. If we get the win next weekend, then we can push on from there.”
On the visit of Crewe Alexandra to Rodney Parade…
“They are a very good footballing side on their day.
“I think they are fighting for their lives down there so that will be tough next week. We’ll go out there and hopefully get them three points.
“They went down to 10 men in the last game against us, so we know that they have quality. They are a good young side, so we will have to do our homework on them all week.
“We’ll do everything we can to get three points because there’s not a chance in hell that we are going to let the season peter out.”
On the £5 a ticket initiative for that game with the Railwaymen next weekend…
“It’s massive for us of course.
“I think you saw when we brought the massive crowds to Tottenham and that Chesterfield game at the start of the season, they are atmospheres that you will never forget as footballers.
“To be fair to them, they create that home and away. I think the away following last week was amazing, it spurred us on so like you say, we hope we’ll give them something to shout about next week.
“With it being a fiver a ticket, hopefully everyone can get here, and we can get that bumper crowd in. As footballers, you want to play in-front of the big crowds and you want to perform on the biggest stage that you can.
“Like you said, get everyone into Rodney Parade and let’s get the three points.”