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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Exiles head to Somerset for a League 2 encounter with Yeovil Town

8 March 2018

Match Previews

PREVIEW | Exiles head to Somerset for a League 2 encounter with Yeovil Town

8 March 2018

Newport County AFC will be looking for their first away victory in two months when they travel to Huish Park to face Yeovil Town on Saturday. A victory would also be County’s first in ten matches from all competitions, while the home side will be looking to bounce back from the heartache of missing out on a game at Wembley following the midweek defeat to Shrewsbury Town in the semi-final of the CheckaTrade Trophy.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 fixture.



Last six league matches

Yeovil Town will play their first League 2 match in two weeks when County visit Huish Park on Saturday, after their game against Swindon Town last weekend was one of ten matches called off due to the extreme weather conditions.

Before that postponement, the Glovers had been on a pretty decent run of form, having collected 10 points from a possible 18 since 30th January.

That run starts with a comfortable 3-0 home victory over struggling Grimsby Town.

The victory was somewhat aided by the Mariners receiving two red cards during the contest, ex-Exile Mitch Rose and Karleigh Osbourne both dismissed, with Lewis Wing opening the scoring in the game for the Glovers.

Rhys Browne and Jake Gray both found the net late in the second half to apply the extra gloss to the victory in Somerset, lifting the side to 19th position in the process.

That soon became back-to-back home wins as Yeovil again kept a clean sheet in the 2-0 victory over Cambridge United.

This time it was Nathan Smith and a first ever Yeovil goal from Alex Fisher that did the damage at Huish Park, with the home side again scoring twice in the second-half of the match.

The mini-winning run was halted in their next match, however, as the Glovers had to settle for a 0-0 draw following their exploits at Crewe Alexandra.

But Yeovil soon returned back to winning ways with yet another clean sheet at home, this one coming as part of a 2-0 success over bottom club Barnet.

Sam Surridge struck early from the penalty spot to put the wheels in motion for another Glovers victory, with fellow attacker Francois Zoko confirming all three points with a goal in stoppage time.

That victory happens to be Yeovil’s most recent three-point haul in League 2, as the Glovers have lost their last two league matches.

Goals from Luke Amos, Jon Smith, Danny Newton and Ben Kennedy eased Stevenage to a 4-1 home victory in the first of the defeats, although a goal from Ryan Seager did at-least give the Glovers a consolation from the game.

And that became successive defeats after Hallam Hope continued Carlisle’s late charge towards the League 2 play-offs by scoring the solitary goal in the contest, leaving Yeovil in 17th place ahead of the match on Saturday, eight points clear of Chesterfield in the final relegation place.



The Glovers are certainly a depleted squad at the moment with several first-team players expected to miss the game in Somerset through injury.

One confirmed absentee will be midfielder Jake Gray, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with the ankle injury sustained in the defeat to Carlisle United late last month.

Striker Marcus Barnes is also expected to miss the game with his own ankle problem, while goalkeeper Artur Krysiak has been struggling of late with a knee injury.

Midfielder James Bailey, alongside defenders Dan Alfei and Nathan Smith are all nursing knee problems, with the trio all looking likely to miss out on the contest at Huish Park.

Ryan Seager, Lewis Wing and Stuart Nelson could all return to the starting side having been ineligible to play in Tuesday’s CheckaTrade Trophy semi-final defeat to League 1 Shrewsbury Town.  

Yeovil were targeting a first national cup final since 2002 during that tie at New Meadow, with manager Darren Way making five changes to his starting side, including a return to the side for ex-Exile Jordan Green.

Yeovil team vs Shrewsbury Town (4-3-3): Maddison; Whelan, Sowunmi, James, Dickson; C. Smith, Gobern (Surridge 46'), Bird (Santos 73'); Green (Browne 50'), Zoko, Khan.


One to Watch – Otis Khan

Yeovil midfielder Otis Khan has already hit a career high amount of goals for a season with 12 games still left to play for the Somerset side.

He has found his name on the scoresheet ten times already this campaign, although he has only managed to directly win his side two points this season after netting in 1-1 draws against Barnet and Port Vale.

Khan also scored in the 8-2 defeat at Luton Town on the opening day of the season, with his remaining goals in League 2 coming against Forest Green Rovers, Chesterfield and Morecambe.

The 22-year old also found the net in the CheckaTrade Trophy away victory at Exeter City, while becoming a key figure as the Glovers reached the Emirates FA Cup fourth round.

He scored in the 1-0 victory over Southend alongside two in the 3-2 success over Port Vale, although missed the tie with Manchester United after being sent off just five days before the game.

Khan is a boyhood Man Utd fan so was clearly devastated to miss the game, with the midfielder actually spending the majority of his youth days at Old Trafford.

Ten years were spent with the Premier League giants before switching allegiances to the Sheffield United academy in 2012.

But he could only make two appearances with the club, the first of which came in March 2014, before being released on 25th January 2016 following loan spells at Buxton, Matlock Town and Barrow – Khan scoring 10 goals across 27 appearances between the trio of loan clubs.

Barnsley signed the playmaker on the same day as his release, but only spent half a season with the club after making just three appearances in League One.

That saw him move to the Glovers at the start of last season, Khan scoring on his debut against Notts County, with that coming as part of the eight goals he scored in his debut season.

He was called up to the Pakistan national team for a friendly against Afghanistan in January 2015, although missed the game after failing to get the correct vaccinations for the match. Khan has since been called up again, although has turned down the opportunity in the hope of one day making the England team.

Interestingly, away from sport, Khan competed on the ITV gameshow Ninja Warrior UK back in 2016. He completed the obstacle course in a time of two minutes and 41 seconds.


Stadium – Huish Park

Yeovil Town have resided at Huish Park since its inception in 1990 at an estimated cost of £3.5million.

A friendly with Newcastle United was arranged to open the new stadium, the Glovers suffering a 2-1 defeat in the inaugural match, although Yeovil did pick up their first win at the stadium on 18th August 1990 in a 2-0 success against Colchester United.

The current capacity of the stadium is 9,565 (5,212 of which is seated) – with the record attendance of 9,527 being set on 25th April 2008 in a League One tie with Leeds United.

This year’s home Emirates FA Cup defeat to Manchester United saw 9,195 fans attend Alexis Sanchez’s debut for the Premier League side.

Huish Park is also home to the Yeovil Town Ladies team, who are currently in their second season at the Somerset ground, as-well as hosting several England U16 and U18 matches since 1991.

On matchday, County fans will once again have the entirety of the Radio Cabs Stand, which is an uncovered terrace that can house 1,500 supporters.

Around 600 tickets will also be available in the Screwfix Community Stand, which runs along one side of the pitch and is directly adjacent to the away terrace.

The Exiles have visited Huish Park on two occasions in recent years, suffering 1-0 defeats both times.

439 away supporters made the trip for the game last season on 15th October 2016, as Dan Butler’s late own-goal condemned County to defeat in Graham Westley’s first game in charge of the Exiles.


Last Time Out

Newport County AFC 2 – 0 Yeovil Town

Saturday 7th October 2017

Newport County AFC made their best start to a Football League campaign since 1982 with a comfortable home victory over struggling Yeovil Town.

It was certainly an impressive start to the game by the Exiles at Rodney Parade, ex-Glover Matty Dolan coming close early-on, while they probably should have been in-front on the quarter-of-an-hour.

The chance came as the product of a well-constructed 15 pass move, with David Pipe playing a cross-field ball to Dan Butler to split the Yeovil defence apart. A one-two with Frank Nouble saw Butler in down the left, with the full back unselfishly squaring for Joss Labadie, who skied the ball over the top from all of five yards.

And County could have been punished for that missed opportunity on 20 minutes had Joe Day not pulled off one of the saves of the season. Francois Zoko tried what looked to be a speculative attempt from 30 yards, only for the ball to ricochet off Mickey Demetriou.

But even though Day had originally gone the wrong way, he somehow managed to get a hand to it and clip it past the post.

County had the ball in the net on 34 minutes, only for the linesman’s flag to rule out Labadie’s attempt, after the County captain had reacted quickest to a fine save from Artur Krysiak to deny Padraig Amond’s headed attempt.

The Exiles were edging closer to the opening goal of the contest and they got it right on the stroke of half-time.

Dolan was the provider against his former side, delivering an inch perfect cross for Amond to head home from six yards, becoming just the fourth player to score in three successive matches at Rodney Parade in the process.

Labadie had a glorious chance to double the County advantage just a minute into the second-half, unlucky to see his header palmed away by the goalkeeper.

It was one-way traffic at this point for the Exiles, Amond unlucky to not connect to a Nouble cross, before Labadie came close again with a strike that clipped the crossbar.

But it wouldn’t require another chance for the County captain to finally get his deserved goal. And it was another assist for Dolan, with Labadie coolly dispatching a header that ex-Exile Sid Nelson couldn’t clear off the line.

That came on 55 minutes, and County were unlucky to not extend the lead even further with Demetriou twice coming close from headers.

The indication of four additional minutes gave the visitors some license to really try and rescue something from the game, Southampton loanee Olufela Olomola smacking one off the crossbar right at the start of added time.

But if anything, after that opportunity, it was the Exiles that ended the game strongest. County substitute Lamar Reynolds had a shot saved by Artur Krysiak at the death, as the Exiles ensured their unbeaten record at Rodney Parade would pass at least 204 days with a convincing display.

It also confirmed that the Exiles had a record of six wins, three draws and three defeats from their opening 12 league matches. That is their best start to a Football League season in 35 years, when Colin Addison’s men compiled six wins, four draws and two defeats to start the 1982/83 campaign.

Mike Flynn said of the victory: “I thought the boys were outstanding today. That’s only the second game since I took over that we have won by more than one goal. The only disappointing thing really is that we didn’t score more goals today.”

Yeovil Town manager Darren Way added: “I accept missed tackles and arriving late, but I thought they bullied us from start to finish.We knew their threat and as far as our preparation is concerned we did everything we could to combat that, and as always I accept responsibility.”




Referee: Lee Collins

Assistant Referee 1: Paul Hobday

Assistant Referee 2: Darren Wilding

Fourth Official: Marc Whaley

Collins is currently embarking on his 7th season as a Football League referee having officiated his first game on 6th August 2011 as Gillingham secured a 1-0 home victory over Cheltenham Town.

Interestingly, Collins has only refereed nine games this season, of which the last came on Boxing Day as Portsmouth beat AFC Wimbledon at Fratton Park.

Four yellow cards were given out during the game, taking his tally to 31 yellow cards and one red card from the nine matches. 

All this follows on from his record last season which reads as 28 yellow cards and two red cards from just 10 matches.


County Connection

Collins has previously refereed matches involving Newport County AFC on five occasions in both the Football League and the Conference.

The Exiles have a relatively good record in games overseen by Collins, having won two, drawn another two and lost just one of the previous five matches.

Interestingly, Collins was supposed to be the man in the middle for the Colchester United away game on 3rd February 2018. But he was forced to withdraw on the day before the match, being replaced by Gavin Ward.

That means his last time refereeing the Exiles came on 2nd January 2017 as County suffered a 2-1 away defeat to Wycombe Wanderers, despite Mark Randall opening the scoring.  

Sam Wood and a wonderful strike from Paris Cowan-Hall turned the game on its head at Adams Park, as the Exiles started the year with a defeat.

Four yellow cards were given out on that occasion by Collins, three of which to County – Jennison Myrie-Williams, Mark Randall and Darren Jones the offenders.

The second game was County’s first win of the 2014/15 season at Portsmouth. Andy Sandell’s 84th minute free-kick gave the Exiles victory on the day, securing their second of three successive wins at Fratton Park in the process. Interestingly, this was Joe Day's debut for the club.

A total of 10 yellow cards were brandished that afternoon – Andrew Hughes, Adam Chapman, Mark Byrne, Lee Minshull, Andy Sandell and Aaron O’Connor all given a caution by Collins from a County perspective.

The final Football League game came during County’s first season back in the fourth tier. It came on 17th August 2013 and the Exiles secured a 1-0 victory over Bristol Rovers.

Andy Sandell’s penalty settled the first competitive Severnside derby between the clubs in 27 years, although the two clubs did face off in the pre-season leading up to that season.

County received two yellow cards on that afternoon at Rodney Parade, Robbie Willmott and David Pipe both getting a booking.

That just leaves the two games when the Exiles were in the Conference, with both matches coming during the 2010/11 season.

Goals from Danny Rose and Robbie Matthews secured a 2-2 home draw with Histon on 21st August 2010, as no County players were booked on that occasion.

Garry Warren and Paul Bignot were both booked when County played out a 0-0 draw with Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn on 19th March 2011.


Other League 2 fixtures that day (All 3pm kick-offs)

Chesterfield vs Lincoln City

Coventry City vs Barnet

Crawley Town vs Morecambe

Exeter City vs Carlisle United

Forest Green Rovers vs Notts County

Grimsby Town vs Port Vale

Luton Town vs Accrington Stanley

Mansfield Town vs Colchester United

Stevenage vs Crewe Alexandra

Swindon Town vs Cheltenham Town

Wycombe Wanderers vs Cambridge United


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.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Tim Thraves can also be found at the Match Centre from 2.45pm.

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 iFollow Exiles. 

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