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Match Previews

PREVIEW | County looking for CheckaTrade Trophy qualification when they host Plymouth Argyle

12 November 2018

Match Previews

PREVIEW | County looking for CheckaTrade Trophy qualification when they host Plymouth Argyle

12 November 2018

After Emirates FA Cup success on Saturday, Newport County AFC will be looking for more cup triumph on Tuesday night when they host Plymouth Argyle in the CheckaTrade Trophy. The permutations are clear for the Exiles – a win will send them through, whilst the Pilgrims can’t qualify but can keep a good run of form going against County with a victory at Rodney Parade.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this CheckaTrade Trophy encounter.


How CheckaTrade Trophy Southern Group C is shaping up

This season, County have the added luxury of heading into their final group game against the Pilgrims with the qualification picture as clear as crystal.

Tuesday’s meeting between the two sides is the last fixture in CheckaTrade Trophy Southern Group C and the Exiles still have a big part to play in which clubs will qualify for the last 32 of the competition.

With Chelsea U21s and Swindon Town picking up six points from their group games, only a victory will see County advance from the group stages for the first time since the change in the layout of the competition at the start of the 2016/17 campaign.

Swindon have the inferior goal difference compared to both Chelsea U21s and the Exiles so a victory for County will see them through at the Robins expense.

The Exiles currently trail Chelsea U21s by a goal difference of four so a victory of five or more would be required for County to top the group – and therefore secure a home tie in the first knockout round.

Plymouth Argyle have already been eliminated from the competition.



With the Pilgrims already eliminated from this competition and facing a relegation battle in League One, it remains unclear as to what sort of side manager Derek Adams will bring to Rodney Parade. 

In definitive team-news, Plymouth will be missing some first-team players through injury, including defender Scott Wootton who has suffered a setback in recovery from a thigh injury which has already kept him out since the end of September.

Full backs Joe Riley and Gary Sawyer are both also unavailable with knee and foot injuries respectively, while centre back Ryan Edwards has been struggling with a chest infection of late.

The starting team at Rodney Parade will have to resemble something similar to the matchday squad from their last gasp Emirates FA Cup victory over Stevenage on Saturday, but what side the Pilgrims will field still remains unclear.

Last Emirates FA Cup team - Plymouth Argyle team vs Stevenage (4-3-3): Macey, Moore, Songo’o, Canavan, Grant, Sarcevic, Fox, Ness (Lameiras 55’), Carey, Ladapo, Grant

Last League One team - Plymouth Argyle team vs Sunderland (4-3-3): Macey, Moore, Songo’o, Canavan, Grant, Sarcevic, Fox (Lameiras 73’), Ness, Carey, Ladapo, Grant

Last CheckaTrade Trophy team - Plymouth Argyle team vs Chelsea U21s (4-4-2): Cooper, Songo’o, Ness (Grant 66’), Sarcevic (Carey 72’), Fox (Grant 59’), Lameiras, Canavan, Moore, Smith-Brown, Fletcher, Jephcott.


One to Watch – Ryan Taylor

Trying to guess what team manager Derek Adams will select on Tuesday night is tricky to say the least, but striker Ryan Taylor will likely feature at some point after recovering from injury to be an unused substitute on Saturday.

The 30-year old has been out since mid-September with an ankle ligament injury and this contest might be the perfect opportunity for Taylor to gain more match fitness before playing his part in the Pilgrims relegation scrap.

Since joining the Pilgrims midway through the 2016/17 campaign, Taylor has hit 10 goals from 50 appearances, including one against County in their 6-1 home victory when the Pilgrims secured promotion to League One.

Starting his career in 2005 with Rotherham United, Taylor spent six seasons with the Millers alongside loan spells at Burton Albion and Exeter City. He made over 150 appearances at the club and most notably scored twice in the 2010 League Two play-off final, although it wasn’t enough to overcome Dagenham & Redbridge.

He joined Bristol Rovers for an undisclosed fee in June 2011, but never really made the desired impact with the Robins and left for Portsmouth midway through the 2013/14 campaign.

Eighteen months at Fratton Park attracted Oxford United to make a move for the striker and whilst he featured a lot for the U’s, Taylor missed the end of the promotion campaign to League One through injury.

He left the club through mutual consent in Janaury 2017 after mainly coming off the bench for the club in the third tier, joining Plymouth immediately and making an impact at Home Park.


Manager – Derek Adams

Ultimately, it’s been a tenure of success for Derek Adams since joining Plymouth Argyle on 11th June 2015, but it has certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions for the 43-year old.

Taking over a team who had suffered defeat quite convincingly to Wycombe Wanderers in the League Two play-off semi-finals just a month before, Adams was able to galvanise the team from that low and again achieve a play-off berth in his first season.

He managed to get the Pilgrims one step closer to promotion, but it was ultimately in vain, however, as after defeating arch rivals Portsmouth in the ‘Dockyard’ derby, AFC Wimbledon won the showpiece event at Wembley 2-0 on 15th May 2016.

The subsequent season was much better as the Pilgrims secured promotion to League One through the automatic promotion places, although it probably still hurts the Pilgrims that they only missed out on the title via goal difference to Portsmouth having drawn at Grimsby Town on the final day of the season.

Their inaugural season back in the third division wasn’t without its plethora of emotion either as the Pilgrims were sat around the relegation zone at Christmas having spent quite a while at the foot of the table. An unbelievable run of form in January and February saw them in with a shot of the play-offs, but they ultimately missed out by three points in what would have been an unbelievable turn of events.

This season, Adams might again have to take his side on a zig-zag motion as before the break from league action for Emirates FA Cup and CheckaTrade Trophy commitments, the Pilgrims once again reside in the relegation zone. Everyone at Home Park would welcome the upturn in form provoked by Adams midway through last season.

Adams has faced County on seven previous occasions, with all those prior meetings coming as Pilgrims manager.

The Exiles will be hoping to make the 43-year old taste defeat against them for the first time ever, as Adams as won every visit to Rodney Parade and the only blemish on his record against County was when a battling display from 10 men held out for a draw in the Emirates FA Cup Second Round on 3rd December 2016 at Home Park.

He’s only had one other managerial position and that came in two spells either side a stint as assistant manager at Hibernian.

Initially joining Ross County as player-coach in June 2006, Adams took caretaker of the club just over a year later before getting the job permanently. Highlights in the first spell include winning the Scottish Second Division in 2008, before beating Celtic on the way to the final of the Scottish League Cup in 2010, a game they lost 3-0 to Dundee United.

A seven-month stint as number two at Hibernian then follows, before moving back to Ross County and winning promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2012. He was relatively successful in the top flight when trying to fight against the bigger clubs in the division, but he parted company with the club on 28th August 2014.


Previous meetings

Newport County AFC and Plymouth Argyle have met on 61 previous occasions for competitive fixtures. It is fair to say the Pilgrims hold the superior advantage from those prior meetings as they have won on 34 occasions, County have 16 wins alongside 11 draws.

Since County’s promotion to League Two and before Plymouth’s eventual promotion to League One, the two sides faced off on 11 occasions across three different competitions.

Plymouth Argyle have the better record in that time frame as well, with County only managing one victory against the Pilgrims since February 1986. That came on Boxing Day 2014 as goals from Chris Zebroski and Mark Byrne gave County victory at Rodney Parade.

The most notable meetings between the clubs in recent times was in the 2016/17 campaign when the sides met each other on five occasions.

After 10-man County held out for a draw in the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup, the draw for the third round was made and pitted the winner of the replay against European giants Liverpool. It wasn’t to be for County, however, as Graham Carey’s extra-time penalty sent Plymouth through. Who needs Liverpool when you can have Tottenham Hotspur the following season?

The Pilgrims also defeated the Exiles in the CheckaTrade Trophy and on both occasions in League Two. The game at Home Park on 17th April 2017, the last time the sides met, was notable for the home side sealing promotion to League One in emphatic fashion.

Looking a little further back in history, the first meeting between the sides came on 11th September 1920 but resulted in a 5-1 home victory for Plymouth Argyle. County’s first victory over the Pilgrims came on 5th May 1923 in a 1-0 success.



Referee: Brett Huxtable

Assistant Referee 1: Paul Hobday

Assistant Referee 2: Thomas Harty

Fourth Official: Philip Staynings

Huxtable is currently embarking on just his third season as a Football League referee having first taken charge of a League Two fixture on 13th August 2016 as Doncaster Rovers and Crawley Town played out a 1-1 draw at the Keepmoat Stadium.

He has refereed 17 matches already this season, giving out 45 yellow cards and three red cards, including just the one yellow in his first game of the campaign as Chelsea U21s kicked off their CheckaTrade Trophy exploits with a thumping 4-0 victory at Swindon Town.

Three games this season have been played without Huxtable going to his pocket, two of which were in the CheckaTrade Trophy, alongside Barnsley’s slender victory over Southend United in League One.

Huxtable's season high tally is 10 cards, seven of which were yellow and three were red, as Charlton Athletic beat Southend United in a feisty encounter at Roots Hall. The dismissals all came in stoppage time, Shrimpers duo Mark Oxley and Michael Kightly alongside Charlton’s Tariqe Fosu were given their marching orders after an 18-man brawl.

All that follows on from Huxtable’s two previous seasons in the Football League. In the 2016/17 season, Huxtable awarded 140 yellow cards and five red cards from his 39 matches, whilst 136 yellow cards and seven red cards were brandished in the 37 matches he presided over in the last campaign.


County Connection

Huxtable has refereed Newport County AFC matches on twelve previous occasions across League Two, the Conference, the FA Trophy and the CheckaTrade Trophy. The Exiles have a mixed bag of results from the previous matches officiated by Huxtable – following five wins, two draws and five defeats.

Alongside being fourth official for the Carabao Cup defeat against Oxford United, Huxtable has already taken charge of two County matches this season, the last of which came on 29th September as the Exiles fought back from two goals behind to defeat Cambridge United 4-2 at Rodney Parade.

The other game this season also comes at home, with Huxtable overseeing the slender 1-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra on 11th August. Captain Andrew Crofts was booked as County started off the home campaign with a Joe Day penalty save and a Padraig Amond matchwinner.

Those previous matches also include being the man in the middle for three County matches last season, the most recent of which was the 0-0 draw with Lincoln City on 23rd December 2017.  Mark O’Brien was given his marching orders in that game, whilst captain Joss Labadie also picked up a caution.

He also refereed two of the CheckaTrade Trophy encounters last season. Tom Owen-Evans was booked in both – the 2-0 defeat to Forest Green Rovers and 2-1 reverse to Swansea City U23s – whilst Robbie Willmott was also cautioned against the Young Swans.

In the 2016/17 campaign, Huxtable again took charge of three matches involving the Exiles.

He coincidentally officiated the tie with Swansea City U23s – again the same 2-1 scoreline at Rodney Parade on 4th October 2016 – with Mark Randall and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb this time booked.

Huxtable then refereed the 4-1 victory over Alfreton Town in the Emirates FA Cup – goals from Rhys Healey, Jordan Green, Josh Sheehan and Barnum-Bobb sealing a comfortable win. Sheehan also found himself cautioned in one of three bookings on the night.

The final game that season came in Mike Flynn’s first ever home game in charge of the Exiles – against Blackpool on 18th March 2017. Three County players were booked in the 3-1 defeat – namely David Pipe, Dan Butler and Scot Bennett.

There is then a couple of years break between County matches presided over by Huxtable, although again it was three matches in the 2012/13 promotion season.

The first came in County’s first ever competitive fixture at Rodney Parade – goals from Jefferson Louis, Lee Evans and two from Aaron O’Connor seeing them to success over Nuneaton Town.

Next comes the 3-2 home defeat to Woking on 27th October 2012 and the 4-1 victory over Macclesfield Town on 11th April 2018. No yellow cards were given to any County players in either fixture.

Finally, Huxtable also officiated a County game in the 2010/11 season. That came on 11th December 2010 as the Exiles were held to a 0-0 draw in the FA Trophy by Wealdstone. No bookings were awarded to either side.


Other CheckaTrade Trophy matches involving fellow League Two clubs

Carlisle United vs Stoke City U21s

Morecambe vs Sunderland

Bury FC vs Fleetwood Town

Macclesfield Town vs West Bromwich Albion U21s

Crewe Alexandra vs Shrewsbury Town

Walsall vs Port Vale

Grimsby Town vs Newcastle United U21s

Mansfield Town vs Scunthorpe

Gillingham vs Crawley Town

Cambridge United vs Colchester United

Exeter City vs Bristol Rovers

Cheltenham Town vs Coventry City

MK Dons vs Brighton & Hove Albion U21s



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.

As the game is a cup match, no live showing of this fixture will occur on iFollow Exiles. However, commentary by Richard Shepherd can be found at the Match Centre from 7:30pm.

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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