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Stoppage time winners were once a thing that only Manchester United could do but Newport County AFC again showed the resilience and courage to go and win it in added time during a 2-1 victory against Stevenage.

Matty Dolan gave County the perfect start when smashing a spectacular volley into the top corner after just 46 seconds, but Luther James-Wildin headed home in first half stoppage time to level the scoring. 

Just as it looked like County had to then settle for a point, Semenyo popped up in stoppage time to send Rodney Parade into rapture.  

The victory means County stay in the automatic promotion places by three clear points on MK Dons, whilst trailing Exeter City on goal difference and pace setters Lincoln City by four points.  

Mike Flynn elected to make one change from the side that fought back to take a point from unbeaten Forest Green Rovers last weekend.

After only recovering enough to make the bench last time out, Matty Dolan fully recovered from his knee injury to replace Antoine Semenyo from the first whistle, with the striker named on the bench.

That change saw a slight formation alteration for the Exiles as they switched to the ever so effective 3-5-2 formation at Rodney Parade, with Padraig Amond and Jamille Matt up-front.

Stevenage manager Dino Maamria made nine changes in midweek as they were dismantled by Charlton Athletic in the CheckaTrade Trophy and again switched back to a team more resembling the familiar league line-up.

There was still three changes from the side that beat Colchester United at the Lamex Stadium seven days ago, starting in the Boro defence as Luther James-Wildin replaced the absent Terence Vancooten.

The other alterations came in an attacking sense of a 4-3-3 formation as Kurtis Guthrie and James Ball both missed out on the matchday squad through injury to be replaced by Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Danny Newton respectively.

At the pre-match captain’s coin toss, the swirling difficult conditions clearly played on the mind of Mickey Demetriou and he elected to swap ends, meaning County were attacking the Stand in the first-half for the first time in a long while.

But it didn’t matter which end County were shooting towards because there was absolutely nothing Stevenage goalkeeper Seny Dieng could do to prevent the Exiles taking the lead after just 46 seconds.

Some clever interchange set Robbie Willmott clear on the right, Ben Nugent rose well to head the initial delivery away but only as far as Matty Dolan. The midfielder played a neat one-two with Tyreeq Bakinson outside the area, before thumping a spectacular volley into the top corner to set County on their way.

Apart from that, there was a distinct lack of opportunities as the swirling conditions really started to take control at Rodney Parade, and that was highlighted as a cross from Dan Butler turned into a decent attempt at goal and it rested on the roof of the net.

But after having the ball for a sustained amount of the first-half, Stevenage made their ascendency pay when equalising on the stroke of half-time with the only other attempt on target in the first-half.

Jamal Campbell Ryce, Joel Byrom and Steve Seddon all combined well down the left and after the first cross was blocked back to the trio, Seddon whipped it back in and found Luther James-Wildin unmarked at the far post who headed back across goal into the far corner.

That meant every shot on target ended up in the back of the net during a first-half in which both sides had their spells, and going in level was probably a fair reflection on proceedings.

Bakinson twice had shots blocked as they were getting their greatest success down the left-side through Butler and Padraig Amond, while Ben Kennedy went close at the other end with a curling attempt from a central position 20 yards out.

The cross-breeze was slightly aiding County in the second-half and it allowed to put neat passages of play together – Butler and Matt stinging the palms of Dieng within 90 seconds of the restart.

Matt came even closer just before the hour after an unbelievably weighted 45-yard pass from Bennett, but he hit the side netting, whilst substitute Antoine Semenyo also saw a shot saved as County continued to control the ascendency.

Stevenage defender Nugent glanced a header wide form a free-kick when he should have hit the target, but even that came against the run of play as Semenyo again dragged a shot wide after more encouraging from Amond up-front.

After a lengthy delay due to a nasty looking injury to Robbie Willmott, County again returned on the front-foot and Semenyo was unlucky not to get to a loose ball first after Dieng had denied Demetriou’s audacious effort.

Due to that stoppage for Willmott to receive treatment, nine minutes of additional time was indicated at the end of the contest.

And County found their deserved winner in the eighth minute of the added extras. Demetriou’s effort was only blocked as far as Semenyo and the striker did the rest – smashing home from 25 yards to send Rodney Parade into rapture and secure the deserved three points.


Newport County AFC (3-5-2): Day, Forbes, Bennett, Franks, Demetriou (C), Butler, Bakinson (Semenyo 58’), Dolan, Willmott (Pipe 76’), Matt, Amond

Subs not used: Townsend, Sheehan, Pring, Cooper


Stevenage (4-4-2): Dieng, James-Wildin, Cuthbert, Nugent, Seddon, Timlin (Ferry 78’), Byrom, Campbell-Ryce (Sonupe 85’), Kennedy (Reid 90+2), Revell (C), Newton

Subs not used: Appleyard, Hunt, Iontton, Wilkinson


Referee: Keith Stroud

Attendance: 3,126 (71 AWAY)

Next up for County: Crawley Town (20th October 2018) AWAY