The 2017/18 campaign was another record breaking season for Newport County AFC. Some of the more notable ones include a best run in the Emirates FA Cup since 1979, securing a top-half finish in League 2 for just the second time since promotion as-well as travelling to Elland Road for just the second time in our history.
Here, re-live everything that happened across the entirety of the campaign – including some statistics you may not have noticed.
Long standing records broken
29th October 2001 - Before the start of this season and the incredible run in the Emirates FA Cup, you would have to go back to the 2001/02 season to find the last time County eliminated a higher league opposition from the competition.
A 3-1 victory over Conference outfit Woking was the last time County had been able to achieve that feat on 29th October 2001, with the Exiles in the Southern League Premier Division at the time of that game.
In a season of breaking records, this one can also be added to the list as goals from Frank Nouble and Shawn McCoulsky saw the Exiles to a 2-1 victory against League 1 outfit Walsall in-front of the S4C cameras on 4th November 2017.
24th January 1959 – Before this season, County didn’t have the best of records against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
The two sides had met on three previous occasions – Spurs winning every single one of them – with County only able to muster one goal in those games.
That solitary strike from County came on 24th January 1959 as part of a 4-1 defeat at White Hart Lane. Ken Hollyman was the man to get it, rifling a shot straight into the top corner from 40 yards that left Spurs goalkeeper John Hollowbread with no chance.
“He would have been really pleased at scoring in the FA Cup as he didn't really score many goals and to do it at White Hart Lane would have been one of the highlights of his career,” said his son Paul and granddaughter Kate.
“To be the last one to have scored against Spurs would have given him a great thrill but he most probably would have thought ‘what have they been doing all these years!!’
“It's been a long time since he scored that goal and he'd say it's about time his record was broken, and he'd feel much happier knowing that they did it by securing a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup.”
Just over 59 years later, Newport County AFC finally broke that goal drought against Spurs as Padraig Amond thumped a header past Michel Vorm following Robbie Willmott’s pinpoint delivery.
11th October 1975 – In the 2-0 victory over Yeovil Town on 7th October 2017, County shot stopper Joe Day kept his fourth clean sheet in a row at Rodney Parade.
Wycombe Wanderers, Cheltenham Town and Grimsby Town had also failed to find the target in South Wales against Day before the Glovers were thwarted, meaning a long-standing County record was about to be broken.
It sounds easy for a goalkeeper to keep four successive clean sheets at home but in reality, no County goalkeeper had achieved that feat in over forty years.
John Macey was the last goalkeeper to do that for the Exiles, achieving his fourth clean sheet in a row on 11th October 1975 against Barnsley, before actually going five without conceding at Somerton Park.
2nd September 1986 – During the 2-1 victory over Exeter City at Rodney Parade, Newport County AFC broke a long-standing record that concerned the Grecians.
The Exiles had failed to beat Exeter City in any competition at home since 2nd September 1986, when Roger Gibbins scored the only goal in a 1-0 success in the League Cup.
Five matches had been played in South Wales between the two sides over the intermittent period, with the Grecians winning just once alongside four draws – so it was finally time for County to register a victory themselves.
Padraig Amond and Robbie Willmott were the players to score this time around, netting either side of Jayden Stockley’s equaliser to give County a long-awaited victory.
24th September 1955 - Prior to this season, Swindon Town’s County Ground had not been the happiest of hunting grounds for Newport County AFC.
The Ironsides had won in Wiltshire on a few occasions, but had also suffered defeats by score lines including 5-2, 7-1 and 8-0.
The last time County had managed to win there during a league fixture prior to this campaign came on 24th September 1955 during a 2-1 victory in Division Three South.
Ben Tozer made sure that statistic wouldn’t carry on for another season, however, haunting his former employers when scoring the only goal on 25th November to the delight of the 880 away supporters.
29th November 2011 – The 4-0 victory over Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn on 14th October 2017 was the first time Newport County AFC had won away from home by that scoreline in nearly six years.
Padraig Amond’s first away goals for the club gave County a 2-0 lead at half-time in Nailsworth, before Scot Bennett and Shawn McCoulsky made the scoreline an unfamiliar one for the Exiles on the road.
The last time they achieved that scoreline was 29th November 2011 against Hayes & Yeading United at their Kingfield Stadium.
Two goals from Ismail Yakubu, one from Sam Foley and another from Danny Rose completed a convincing away victory for Justin Edinburgh’s men on that particular occasion.
24th October 2015 – It’s already been established that a 4-0 scoreline on the road is a rarity for the Exiles, but before that win at Forest Green – when was the last time that County scored four on the road?
Interestingly it came against a side who were promoted later that same season when the Exiles ran rampant at Bristol Rovers in a 4-1 success on 24th October 2015.
An own-goal from Tom Parkes put County on their way at the Memorial Ground, only for Billy Bodin to equalise. Zak Ansah scored twice for County to put some distance between the two sides, before Tommy O’Sullivan added the fourth late-on.
28th November 2015 – Newport County AFC played their first competitive match at Rodney Parade on 14th August 2012 during a convincing 4-0 victory over Nuneaton Town.
From that moment until this most recent campaign, only one hat-trick had been scored at the stadium – that coming on 28th November 2015 as Oli McBurnie’s treble completed a 3-0 success over Luton Town.
Frank Nouble ensured that record wouldn’t continue for much longer, however, as he helped the Exiles on their way to a 4-1 victory over Chesterfield in the ‘Homecoming’ match on 26th August 2017.
An amazing 1,002 days separated those three goal hauls for the respective strikers – but both as important as the other.
23rd October 1982 – Since the introduction of three points for a win was brought into the English league system in 1981, County this year made their best start to a Football League campaign since 1982/83.
After the opening 12 fixtures of the season, the Exiles had amassed 21 points following a record of six wins, three draws and three defeats.
That was slightly less than what Colin Addison’s men achieved over 30 years ago, when the Ironsides secured statistics of six wins, four draws and two defeats in the opening months of the campaign.
Notable appearance milestones
150 – The number of league starts achieved earlier in the campaign by Exiles goalkeeper Joe Day.
County’s shot stopper celebrated that triumph with a 2-1 victory over Crawley Town on 19th January 2018, while at the completion of the campaign Joe had made a total of 191 appearances for Newport County AFC.
He told iFollow Exiles after the Crawley game: “Firstly, thank you, I’m quite proud to have reached 150 league games for Newport.
“Immediately I felt welcomed here and haven’t really looked back. I just wanted to keep playing every week and to notch up 150 league games for Newport is something I’m proud of.”
100 – Behind Joe Day, Dan Butler became the second member of the current squad to register a century of appearances for Newport County AFC, that coming on the final day at Carlisle United.
A total of 53 of those appearances came this campaign as Butler missed out on just three competitive fixtures, whilst 47 came in his debut campaign, alongside scoring four goals for the Exiles.
Butler told iFollow Exiles following the Carlisle game: “I’m really proud that I have played 100 times for Newport County AFC.
“I was really happy that the gaffer gave me the armband today as-well, up there with probably one of the best achievements of my career so far - captaining Newport - so I’m really happy.
“Mark O’Brien is a great guy and he wanted me to be captain on my 100th game. I’m really proud that I got to captain the side today.”
Six – The number of players from the County academy that were given their first-team debut at some point in the season.
Aged just 16 years and 255 days, Jay Foulston became the third youngest player to ever feature in a competitive fixture for the Exiles when coming off the bench against Southend United, only trailing behind Regan Poole and Steve Aizlewood.
In the CheckaTrade Trophy tie with Cheltenham Town at Rodney Parade on 7th November 2017, a further four academy stars were afforded a chance in the first-team.
Tom Hillman, Lewis Collins and Evan Press all started on that occasion, while Owen Taylor came off the bench in the second-half during the 2-1 defeat.
That list is completed by Momodou Touray coming off the bench on the final day of the season at Carlisle United, playing 11 minutes on his Football League debut for the club.
Other interesting records broken by Newport County AFC during the 2017/18 campaign
206 – The number of days that Newport County AFC went unbeaten at Rodney Parade before Swansea City U23s secured a 2-1 victory in the CheckaTrade Trophy.
That victory for the Young Swans came on 10th October 2017 and was County’s first defeat at Rodney Parade since they lost 3-1 to eventual promotion winners Blackpool on 18th March 2017 in what was Mike Flynn’s first home in charge of the Exiles.
Four – Padraig Amond became just the fourth ever Newport County AFC player to score in three successive home league matches at Rodney Parade when finding the net against Cheltenham Town, Yeovil Town and former employers Grimsby Town.
Interestingly, it is only strikers who have achieved this feat at Rodney Parade, with Aaron O’Connor and Christian Jolley both doing so in 2013 alongside Scott Boden in 2015.
Four – The number of players to mark their debuts for Newport County AFC in the 2017/18 campaign with a goal.
Frank Nouble and Shawn McCoulsky both found the net on their first appearance for the Exiles during the six-goal thriller with Stevenage, while Reece Cole scored the solitary goal in the victory at Coventry City.
Padraig Amond completes the list of goal scoring debutants for the Exiles when he volleyed home in the latter parts of the ‘Homecoming’ victory against Chesterfield.
Four – Out of the 23 league fixtures at Rodney Parade during the 2017/18 campaign, Newport County AFC only suffered defeat on four occasions.
Colchester United, Crewe Alexandra and Barnet all secured 2-1 victories whilst Stevenage also won 1-0 in South Wales.
That record of just four home league defeats actually beats County’s record during the promotion season of 2012/13 when the Exiles suffered five defeats at Rodney Parade.
You in-fact have to go back to the 2009/10 season to find a season where County lost on fewer occasions at home, a campaign in which the Exiles secured the Conference South title without once tasting defeat at Spytty Park.
Four – At the start of January, Newport County AFC put a remarkable run together when winning four successive games by a 2-1 scoreline across all competitions.
Exeter City, Leeds United, Grimsby Town and Crawley Town were all beaten by the narrowest of margins – the first time County have been involved in the same scoreline that many times in succession since returning to the Football League.
Three – Only three teams in League 2 remained unbeaten against champions Accrington Stanley last season, one of which was the Exiles.
Frank Nouble’s thumping finish from a well-worked corner tactic secured County a 1-1 draw at the Wham Stadium, while Padraig Amond and Nouble inflicted their first defeat in 16 matches later on in the campaign during a 2-1 victory that put their title celebrations on hold, albeit temporarily.
Crawley Town and Exeter City were the other two teams not to suffer defeat to Accrington in the 2017/18 campaign.
152 days – If there’s one thing you can say about the impact of Mike Flynn when he first took charge of the club, it was that he taught the side how to grind out results and win by the narrowest of margins.
The 2-0 victory over Southend United on 8th August 2017 was the first time that County had won by more than a solitary goal since Flynn took temporary charge of the club, that coming courtesy of a double from Shawn McCoulsky.
It was the eighth victory of Flynn’s managerial career during that Carabao Cup tie – the Exiles winning five of the previous seven by a scoreline of 1-0 alongside two 2-1 victories.
Two – Only two sides were able to beat Newport County AFC both home and away in the 2017/18 campaign.
Coincidentally, both teams came away with the same score lines as Colchester United and Barnet both secured 2-0 victories against the Exiles at their respective home stadiums alongside a 2-1 away success at Rodney Parade.
A figure of two is County’s joint best since returning to the Football League in 2013/14 when Northampton Town and Morecambe were the only sides able to pick up maximum points against the Exiles.
7,200 - The number of Newport County AFC fans that travelled to watch the team in action at Wembley for the Emirates FA Cup fourth-round replay, a number which is believed to be the highest ever away following at a Tottenham Hotspur match.
That comes after the Exiles took more fans than both AFC Wimbledon and Rochdale – the only other games where the away ticket allocation was increased past its quota – meaning more Newport fans went to Wembley this season compared to Real Madrid, Juventus, Arsenal, Liverpool and many more.
What records will Newport County AFC break during the 2018/19 campaign? #TheJourneyContinues next season.