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PREVIEW | County return to League Two action with a home tie against Cambridge United

28 September 2018

Newport County AFC will be looking to make it five wins in succession against Cambridge United when they host the U’s at Rodney Parade on Saturday. The Exiles head into the game on the back of keeping two clean sheets against tough opposition, while the visitors head to South Wales looking to kickstart their campaign after a slow start so far.

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Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter.

 

Last five results in League Two

It’s not been the easiest start to the campaign for Cambridge United and they have struggled to fulfil expectations in League Two and the various cup competitions.

Looking generally, their last five league results don’t make too bad reading, they have picked up four points in that time, but the game at the start of that run doesn’t paint them in the desired light as they suffered a home defeat to managerless Cheltenham Town.

Sam Jones, just 24 hours after joining on loan from Shrewsbury Town, fired home the winner after coming off the bench in the second-half to give the Robins their inaugural victory of the campaign.

Manager Joe Dunne must have demanded a response from his players following the shock defeat at the Abbey Stadium, and they managed to provide it when ending Stevenage’s unbeaten start at home. David Amoo volleyed home to give Cambridge some much needed rest bite, securing their first away win of the season in the process.

They couldn’t take that spirited desire back with them to the Abbey Stadium, however, and they were left to rue a good start when succumbing 2-1 to Carlisle United. Some good interchange resulted in Jevani Brown opening the scoring, but John Sheridan’s side fought back thanks to goals from Richie Bennett and Ashley Nadesan.

In their next match, they couldn’t achieve back to back away victories as Colchester United comprehensively won 3-0 in the U’s derby. Sammie Szmodics opened the scoring, ex-Exile Frank Nouble got his first goal for the club and Courtney Senior sealed proceedings with a goal of his own late on.

Dunne can take some confidence from how his side performed in their most recent contest, fighting back and perhaps unlucky not to secure a home victory over Mansfield Town in the 1-1 draw. Danny Rose finished well to put the visitors in-front but Cambridge soon took charge of proceedings, achieving something for their troubles when George Maris rifled a 25-yard strike straight into the top corner.

 

Team-News

Having not played in the CheckaTrade Trophy in midweek, Cambridge United manager Joe Dunne should be able to recall some of his players who missed the last League Two fixture.

He will have to make at-least one change from the side against Mansfield Town, however, as captain Gary Deegan picked up his fifth booking of the season and is therefore suspended at Rodney Parade.

Dunne will also be without goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov, who played against County in the Carabao Cup last month, as he has since done some damage to the ligaments in his knee.

The Cambridge manager said recently: “Unfortunately Dimi is going to miss a few weeks with a knee injury, we think it’s a ligament injury. He’s not on crutches now but it’s got to be clinically treated.”

It is also expected that defender Harrison Dunk will miss the game in South Wales as he is another to have suffered a knee problem early on in the season.

Dunne confirmed: “He did a little bit more than what was expected of him, but we’ve got to see how that reacted and he still needs one-two weeks full training in him. He’s not someone in the immediate future (we can hope to play.)”

After appearing from the bench last weekend, midfielder Paul Lewis should be able to start from the off after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Dunne has confirmed striker Jabo Ibehre is back in contention after his own injury concerns.

Cambridge United team vs Mansfield Town (4-2-3-1): Forde, Halliday, Taylor, John, Carroll, Deegan (C), Maris, Amoo (Lewis 81’), Brown (O’Neil 90+2), Lambe, Corr (Azeez 68’)

 

One to Watch – Jevani Brown

It doesn’t look like its been the best of starts to the season if you look exclusively at Jevani Brown’s goal scoring form, but that doesn’t paint the full picture as the attacker has been instrumental with his assists and general play.

He has only found the net on one occasion in the 2018/19 campaign, a goal that mattered little as they suffered a home defeat to Carlisle United, but his endeavour and link-up play has counteracted that, and he has been a key player for Cambridge United this season, making eight appearances so far.

It is only his second season with the U’s having joined at the beginning of last summer, and he went on to score six times from 47 appearances – including a 25-yard screamer when County went to the Abbey Stadium and won in stoppage time last December.

Still at the young age of 23, Brown started his career in several youth academies before settling with Peterborough United in 2012, although despite starring in the youth ranks couldn’t force his way into the first-team before his release.

From there, Brown spent several years in the non-leagues, featuring for sides including Barton Rovers, Arlesey Town, Kettering Town and Stamford.

A combined total of 10 goals across 69 appearances saw the attacker move on to St Neots Town midway through the 2016/17 campaign, a club in the Southern League Premier Division.

That’s where Brown’s career finally started to kick-off and 19 goals from as many games attracted clubs in the Football League – Birmingham City, Hull City and Cambridge United to name a few – with the youngster choosing the Abbey Stadium as his destination.

 

Manager – Joe Dunne

It’s not been the easiest starts to the season for Joe Dunne as he has struggled to replicate the form shown by his side following his temporary appointment at the club midway through last season.

After Shaun Derry was dismissed, Dunne came in as caretaker manager in February 2018 and guided the team into the top half of the League Two table by the end of the season.

He picked up some notable results in that time – beating play-off occupying Notts County as part of a three-game winning streak – alongside draws with promoted sides Luton Town and Wycombe Wanderers.

Dunne has led his side to another home success over the Magpies this season but that is just one of only two victories across all competitions, with Cambridge United heading to Rodney Parade in 19th position with eight points.

This is Dunne’s second managerial position after he came through the coaching ranks at a club he once played for in Colchester United.

Having hung up his boots in 2003, the 45-year old was instantly installed as a coach for the youth team and helped the side reach the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup for the first time in the club’s history.

Various managerial changes in the first-team at Colchester afforded Dunne with the chance of being assistant manager on a temporary basis several times, before finally being handed the reins himself on 27th September 2012.

Colchester staved off relegation in his first season, they then finished midtable in the next campaign, before a poor start to the 2014/15 campaign saw Dunne relieved of his duties – ending his 18-year association with the club.

 

Last time out

Cambridge United 1 – 4 Newport County AFC

Tuesday 14th August 2018

Carabao Cup First Round

Newport County AFC scored an early contender for goal of the season as they swept aside Cambridge United with a comprehensive 4-1 victory in the Carabao Cup at the Abbey Stadium.

The Exiles controlled proceedings from start to finish and opened the scoring on 18 minutes when Padraig Amond reacted quickest to Harry Darling’s mis clearance to fire home first-time past Dimitar Mitov.

But it was County’s second goal of the night that will be spoken about for years to come. It was a passage of play worthy of the final of the Carabao Cup let alone the First Round, which saw nine players involved in a 14-pass move that covered virtually every blade of grass on the pitch.

Debutant Nick Townsend started the move off before some quick interchange between Fraser Franks, Tyreeq Bakinson and Tyler Forbes saw the Exiles advance into the Cambridge half where Matty Dolan and Josh Sheehan combined to get the ball out wide to Dan Butler.

Butler played a one-two with Jamille Matt before sending a pass back inside for Bakinson, the midfielder’s quick reactions getting the ball back to Matt who split the defence and set Padraig Amond away, the Irishman doing the rest with yet another clinical finish.

Matt then got in on the goals himself when netting his first in County colours just after the interval, looping a header over the Cambridge goalkeeper after an inch perfect delivery into the box from Matty Dolan.

Substitute Antoine Semenyo then put the result beyond any question when netting his first ever professional goal with four minutes remaining, dancing his way through the defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the far corner from the edge of the area.

Not even Ade Azeez’s late consolation penalty could put a dampener on a truly emphatic performance – the Exiles securing victory in as comfortable a manner as possible against their League Two counterparts.

 

Officials

Referee: Brett Huxtable 

Assistant Referee 1: Kevin Morris

Assistant Referee 2: Paul Hobday

Fourth Official: Steven Plane

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 eight matches so far this season, giving out 26 yellows and three reds, including a season low one yellow card as Chelsea U21s kicked off their CheckaTrade Trophy exploits with a thumping 4-0 victory at Swindon Town.

Huxtable gave out two yellows as County beat Crewe Alexandra at Rodney Parade, three as Exeter City beat Ipswich Town on penalties in the Carabao Cup, before six cards were issued as Forest Green Rovers and Stevenage drew 0-0 at the New Lawn.

A league high ten cards were given out in Huxtable’s next game, 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.

Since then, he has refereed a further three matches and gave out three yellows on two occasions as MK Dons drew with Peterborough United in the CheckaTrade Trophy and Cheltenham Town drew with Crewe Alexandra in League Two.

His most recent game came on Tuesday night and just the one yellow card was brandished as Exeter City won at home against West Ham United U21s in the CheckaTrade Trophy.

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 eleven 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 four wins, two draws and five defeats.

He has already refereed a County game this season, alongside being fourth official for the Carabao Cup defeat to Oxford United, and that came during the first home game of the season in the 1-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra on 11th August. Captain Andrew Crofts was booked, while Padraig Amond secured all three points for the Exiles.    

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 League Two matches that day (All 3pm kick-offs)

Carlisle United vs Stevenage

Cheltenham Town vs Lincoln City

Colchester United vs Bury FC

Crawley Town vs Yeovil Town

Grimsby Town vs Morecambe

Macclesfield Town vs Forest Green Rovers

Mansfield Town vs Northampton Town

Milton Keynes Dons vs Tranmere Rovers

Notts County vs Crewe Alexandra

Port Vale vs Exeter City

Swindon Town vs Oldham Athletic

 

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.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Charlie Brown and Richard Shepherd can also be found at the Match Centre from 2.45pm.

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 #iFollowExiles.

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