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EXCLUSIVE | Mark O'Brien expects a response on Tuesday night after Cheltenham defeat

25 November 2018

Newport County AFC have shown time and time again that they have the resilience and desire to bounce back from defeat and they will do that again on Tuesday, according to Exiles defender Mark O’Brien.

The Exiles dropped back out of the League Two automatic promotion places with a 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town, a game where the Robins got both of their goals through Will Boyle and Tyrone Barnett in a dominative first-half.

Once again, County were much better after the break but ultimately couldn’t get anything from the contest, although Antoine Semenyo grabbed himself another goal with a minute to go through another splendid volley.

Here, you can read what O’Brien exclusively told iFollow Exiles following the completion of the game.

 

On the defeat to Cheltenham Town…

"We’re extremely disappointed because we all know that we’re much better than that performance. We showed what we’re capable of in the second-half, but I do honestly think we didn’t get it right in the first-half in the sense that Cheltenham picked up every second ball.

"When you come away from home, those are the essentials really, you have to come and fight. But we’ll dust ourselves off and go onto the next game. We’ve done that before already this season and we know we’re capable of doing that again.

"It was a game of two halves because you could see in the second-half that there wasn’t much in it. They got their two goals in the first-half and with the run of form that they’ve been in, it’s always going to be a tough ask to come back from that.

"In the second-half, we played with more belief, got a goal back and nearly got the equaliser. I think, as a whole, we look at it and say we’re very disappointed overall. We just have to look on and move on to the next one.

"We know exactly what we are capable of from start to finish in a game and today we just weren’t quite at it. We’ll sit down, reassess what went on and push on from there. It’s going to be another tough game on Tuesday and we know we’ve got to prove a point."

 

On the goals scored by both sides in Gloucestershire…

"The way we look at the goals is we knew what they were about, we knew they would go long a couple of times and they’d put it out wide and put balls in. We just needed to be a bit more resilient but stuff like that will happen – it’s now a matter of how we bounce back.

"We showed in the second-half that we could be a completely different side and proved why we are where we are in the league table.

"For our goal, the ball got played up off a second-phase, I won the flick-on to Antoine and he’s finished it really well. It was one of those things where it did give us that glimmer of hope where we knew we’d have them on the back foot.

"We know when things start going against you, you start sitting deeper and deeper, so we knew we could exploit Cheltenham and maybe get a few half chances near the end.

"Unfortunately they never really fell kindly to us but on other day, we could have come away with a point.

"In an overall sense, we know we should have done better over the full 90 minutes and not just 45."

 

On getting another 45 minutes under his belt – and the same for captain Andrew Crofts…

"It was brilliant. We have both sat around and bided our time waiting for the chance to return.

"I’ve been slightly unlucky with my injury because it keeps reoccurring at times where I felt I was playing well and getting a run in the team.

"Crofty’s back now which is a real positive and we’ll be looking to get a few more lads back as well. It’s a really busy period for the team so we’ll need more depth within the squad and hopefully we’ll be a stronger outfit for it.

"I’ve been building things back up in training, managed to get 90 minutes in the CheckaTrade against Plymouth, then another 45 away at Met Police FC.

"I’ve done it more to the book this time around I guess whereby I’m building it back up in training, doing my strength work, and I’m feeling better for it.

"For any footballer, it’s always frustrating when you’re injured because all you want to do is play football. To be close to playing then having to drop out again, sitting and watching so many games, it is a very frustrating thing.

"Crofty is delighted in the dressing room, he’s kept himself well during his injury and he was able to come on and put a shift in for 45 minutes having been out for so long. It’s a massive positive for us having people like him back and we’re hoping to get a few more back and we’ll see where it goes from there."

 

On hosting a resurgent Northampton Town side on Tuesday…

"No matter what time you play Northampton Town, they are always going to be a tough side to play against.

"They’ve just come down from League One and you always expect a tough game from a team relegated in the previous season. We know that it’s them coming to our back yard and we know that on our day, in our stadium, with the fans behind us that we’re capable of anything.

"We’ve shown that in the past and we’ve shown it this season as well. We know it’s going to be a tough game but if we’re all at our best as a squad then hopefully we can grab the win.

"Anyone in any league wants to make their home a fortress. We know that most teams that come to Rodney Parade don’t really fancy coming down to us.

"We’ve just got to keep that momentum up and give the opposition what they expect."

 

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