Continuously scoring goals in stoppage time shows what kind of character and togetherness has been engrained into the Newport County AFC squad this season, according to midfielder Matty Dolan.
Alongside another emphatic finale at Rodney Parade, Dolan set County off on the front foot when finding the target after just 46 seconds – playing a neat one-two with Tyreeq Bakinson before spectacularly volleying into the top corner.
Due to the swirling conditions, only one other shot on target could be created in the opening 45 minutes but that also resulted in a goal, Stevenage defender Luther James-Wildin placing a header back across Joe Day and into the far corner.
After the restart, County again made the livelier start but were thwarted in their tracks by Boro goalkeeper Seny Dieng, who denied Dan Butler, Mickey Demetriou and Jamille Matt before an hour had elapsed.
Just as it seemed like County would have to settle for a point at Rodney Parade, super-sub Antoine Semenyo popped up to secure the three points in the 98th minute.
The 18-year old reacted quickest to Demetriou’s initial attempt being blocked, taking one touch to steady himself before rifling into the bottom corner and cueing joyous scenes within the stadium.
Here, you can read what Dolan exclusively told iFollow Exiles following the conclusion of another nail-biting contest at Rodney Parade.
On the dramatic victory over Stevenage…
"In the previous games, the slow starts weren’t ideal, but I think we showed great character to come back in them as well. So obviously the fast start today was good, the gaffer spoke about it before the game and about getting on the front foot, so it was good to score early.
"Disappointing then to concede just before half-time but again we showed character to fightback and get the deserved goal in the end.
"I think it was maybe a scrappy game. I thought we tried to get it down as much as we could but obviously the weather conditions made it really tough.
"I think everybody worked tirelessly up until the 99th minute in the end so it’s a massive credit to everyone.
"The gaffer made the substitutions at the right time, the boys kept on going and we got our just rewards in the end. The atmosphere at the end was just unbelievable."
On hitting the target after just 46 seconds with a spectacular strike…
"The gaffer has talked about us getting on the front foot early on and when I picked up the second-ball, popped it off to Tyreeq Bakinson but obviously with his shooting record, I thought it best to take it off him before he hit it.
"Look, it’s nice to see it nestle in. I promised my fiancé that I’d score a goal so it’s about time I got one for her.
"My fiancé was here today actually, bless her. She’s nearly 38 weeks pregnant so she makes me very proud and it’s nice for me to get a goal for her.
"She was sat in the Bisley Stand, supports me through thick and thin – she’s really been amazing so nice to get a goal for her."
On the character and togetherness within the squad to keep going in matches and score in the added extras…
"We were very disappointed to concede and it’s a goal that we’ll probably look at to see what was wrong.
"But it set it up perfectly for a 98th minute winner so actually, it was ideal!
"That character has been engrained into us from the start of the season. The hard work that we put in during pre-season, the momentum we’ve had throughout the season itself.
"This is not the first time we’ve scored this season in 90+ so obviously that must show something. We got what we deserved in the end and I have to say, there isn’t a better way to win a football match.
"A goal like that shows everyone is pulling in the right direction and that we’re going the right way about it.
"I think the skipper said a massive thing at the start of the year that we needed to take things game by game, we have targets in the dressing room so if we keep chipping away at those targets then we’ll see how we go."
On Antoine Semenyo’s match winner…
"It was a fantastic finish. I said to Antoine during the game that once he gets it on his right-foot, just hit it.
"He strikes the ball so well on both his right and left foot, he’s been fantastic all season, didn’t start today but he came on and had that impact.
"Credit to Antoine, it shows he’s grown and in another ten games, who knows where he’ll be? He’s got everything, he’s a raw talent – pace, power. A confidence boost like that will do him the world of good.
"I think it goes to show what kind of dressing room we have here, you only have to look at Ben White last season as well, because players have come in on loan and fallen right into the squad and excelling.
"The young boys are blossoming as such and Antoine is getting his just rewards. He’s a grounded lad, humble, works hard and if he keeps scoring stoppage time winners for us then he’ll be all right."
On heading out on the road to Crawley Town next weekend…
"I think the confidence will keep on rolling over to the Crawley Town game. We’ve got a full week to get out on the training ground, rest up our legs because there are some tired legs from today, and make sure we’re right.
"We need to try and keep the run going, obviously we’ll be away from home next weekend, but we’ve got a good away record as well.
"I think Crawley are a very good team. They have a big budget and try to play football in the right way. They lost Harry Kewell at the start of the season, but they are a good club, so it won’t be an easy place to go – it never is.
"We’ve got to take our good away form, take confidence out of today and try to get a point or hopefully three. We always back ourselves away from home. We get a great following, sometimes the pressure might be off when you’re away from home.
"That’s the best way to be but we know that we’re kind of a scalp for teams now – we’ll keep our feet on the ground, keep working hard and making sure we do the right things."
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