Mike Flynn hailed an ‘excellent’ defensive performance as Newport County AFC kept another clean sheet against Tranmere Rovers in a 0-0 draw at Rodney Parade.
The Exiles thought they had secured themselves a second 1-0 victory over Micky Mellon’s side this season when Joss Labadie fired into the roof of the net late on, only for the offside flag to be raised and cut short the celebrations.
That was the main highlight of note from the game as both defences stood out, Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies doing well to push away a header from Jamille Matt and another from Robbie Willmott.
At the other end, Tranmere’s chances were also few and far between, although they did hit the woodwork in both halves when Mark Ellis headed against the crossbar and substitute Chris Dagnall passed up an empty net when hitting the post.
Flynn affirmed: “It’s a solid performance, nothing quite spectacular in the final third but I thought we played some really good football against a team who are firmly in the play-offs.
“We were the better team without being at our best in the final third.
“I thought the boys defended excellently and the effort they put in was unbelievable. Everything was all right apart from the final third.
“It was a little bit frustrating because a couple of times we went to put a cross in, and it seemed to bobble – but that’s the same for both teams.
“There was only one team trying to win it and I think you saw that with the substitutes I made.
“I don’t think anybody had a bad game. We just needed to go a little bit different, so we didn’t become predictable. Like I said, I tried to win the football match.”
Tranmere did have the two opportunities coming back off the woodwork but they created little else, with a draw arguably a fair result from the contest.
“That was about all they had,” Flynn continued.
“There wasn’t even any scary moments apart from the second one. The first one, the header, was because we switched off.
“I thought we were the better team.”
It was a notable match at Rodney Parade as two players hit appearance milestones for the Exiles.
Padraig Amond recovered from a fractured elbow to come off the bench and make his 100th appearance for the club, while Dan Butler made it to 150 having started from the off.
The pair are a remarkable duo with Butler only missing two matches this season and Amond just three.
The Irishman missed out on the matchday last weekend at Yeovil Town with that elbow injury – the first time he had been missing from a matchday squad in over six years.
“No I wasn’t tempted to bring him on earlier,” Flynn confirmed.
“We thought Ade Azeez would stretch them with his pace and he did that. Just didn’t quite happen for him when he got in those positions.”
The Exiles remain six points from the play-offs following the result but can halve the gap in their game in hand on Tuesday night.
Swindon Town are the visitors to Rodney Parade for a game where both sides will be praying for all three points to help in their respective quests for the top-seven.
“We’ve just got to keep going,” Flynn stated.
“They’re all big games, all of them. Every game is a big game.
“No extra pressure on Tuesday whatsoever. We’ve got a game at home and if we win, great. If we don’t, we go onto Saturday.
“We’re doing well but it is frustrating.
“I don’t want to look back when the season is over and rue a couple of games which are still doing my head in even now.”
NEXT UP | It’s another visit from a fellow side chasing the League Two play-offs as Swindon Town travel to Rodney Parade on Tuesday 9th April. Buy tickets here.
ON THE ROAD | The next destination on the road for County this season will be Cambridge United on Saturday 13th April. Tickets to be made available on the website shortly.