Mike Flynn says his overriding emotion is “frustration” after his Newport County AFC side missed the chance to go joint-second in League Two after being held to a 1-1 draw with Morecambe at Rodney Parade.
At Friday’s pre-match press conference, Flynn highlighted his displeasure at County starting the two most recent games on the slow side, so the easiest thing to do to appease the manager would be to start on the front foot this time around.
That’s exactly what County did, and they took the lead after just 19 seconds with Morecambe only touching the ball once before scoring the goal.
Robbie Willmott confidently collected a Josef Yarney clearance on the edge of the area before sending a wicked ball into the unmarked Jamille Matt. Morecambe goalkeeper Barry Roche may have made an unbelievable save to keep it out, but Padraig Amond was on hand to head home the rebound.
Antoine Semenyo also forced the acrobatic best from Roche with a powerful header as County controlled the majority of first-half proceedings, and Matty Dolan and Jamille Matt also came close.
Morecambe had their moments, however, and Willmott blocked one on its way through from Rhys Oates, alongside Joe Day holding a Jordan Cranston free-kick.
County couldn’t quite start second-half proceedings in as quick a manner as the first, but Semenyo did see a curling effort just go wide and Tyler Forbes was only denied his first goal of the campaign when Zak Mills stuck a leg out to deflect his shot onto the post and out for a corner.
Despite not asserting any real presence on the game for large periods, Morecambe were always in the contest at 1-0 and they found their equaliser 13 minutes before the end.
No prizes for guessing who got it as Kevin Ellison got another against the Exiles, his sixth in total, calmly dispatching the opportunity into the centre of the goal having worked some space outside the area.
That equaliser was enough for County’s winless home record against Morecambe to continue – leaving Flynn disappointed that his side didn’t get all three points after a commanding display.
He affirmed: “It was a frustrating game because it was two points dropped today, let’s not dress it up.
“We should have been out of sight but then a little bit of sloppiness allows Kevin Ellison to get his annual goal against us. It was obvious it was going to be Kevin. I think it was the only time he touched the ball, but he’s got his goal.
“I thought we did play quite well today without finishing our chances or killing Morecambe off. It’s frustrating because it was a great start, but it means nothing when you concede like we did.
“We’re fourth in the league so we’ve had plenty of them [complete performances.] It’s just a frustrating day at the office today.”
In terms of the match statistics, County had more shots as well as more shots on target, alongside having every single one of the nine corners at Rodney Parade.
Flynn continued: “Second half, we had four or five corners in a row with three or four shots from them, so it was relentless.
“We didn’t finish them off, we missed too many chances and we needed that second goal.
“As soon as we scored, I know it was early, but the first thing I did was turn to the bench and say we needed a second goal because that would have killed them off then. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it.
“It’s frustrating because we missed too many chances today. We should have buried Morecambe and really, there was only one team who should have won that football match.
“But listen, Morecambe are a strong group, resilient and they made the most of our error.”
County remain fourth in the League Two table after the home draw, but still only trail the automatic promotion places on goal difference after Exeter City lost and MK Dons could only draw.
League Two pace setters Lincoln City also suffered a defeat to now 5th placed Colchester United, who trail County by just a point, while the Exiles have a four-point cushion on Stevenage and the other teams in the chasing pack for a play-off position.
Flynn stated: “It’s another point on the board, I think Exeter City lost and Lincoln City lost. You can look at it as a point gained, MK Dons drew so nobody above us has gone any further away.
“But that means the frustrating thing is that we didn’t get the extra two points to [close the gap.] It’s one of those things, we take it on the chin and we’ll go again to try and get another result at Carlisle United next week.”
The Exiles now have a full week to rest and recover before the longest away league trip of the season to Carlisle United next Saturday.
County’s injury list was extensive before the Morecambe game, and that won’t be helped by Scot Bennett and Mark O’Brien both having to withdraw with hamstring injuries.
“The injuries are killing us if I’m honest,” Flynn admitted.
“Having to make substitutions when I don’t want to, it’s not good. On top of everything, it’s killing us. We’ve got to make the players right this week and hopefully, we’ll have one or two back."
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