Newport County AFC will be looking to keep their play-off ambitions alive by taking all three points at strugglers Macclesfield Town on Easter Monday. The Exiles know four wins from four will be good enough for a top-seven position, but the Silkmen will provide tough opposition as they’ll be desperate for a victory which would boost their survival prospects.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
Last five results in League Two
Much like County in their quest for the play-offs, Macclesfield Town know a victory in every game from now until the end of the season will keep them in the Football League for at least another year.
It’s taken a monumental effort to get even this far after a disastrous start to this campaign, but Sol Campbell has come in and made them resolute and tough to beat, especially at home.
In the last five games, the Silkmen have picked up five points, starting with successive 1-1 draws – the first a surprise point at Lincoln City when Scott Wilson scored and another draw at home to Morecambe secured by Elliott Durrell.
When Exeter City came to Cheshire on 9th November, the Silkmen knew they had a real survival opportunity with this fixture being their game in hand on the fellow strugglers. A 3-2 come from behind victory lifted them two points clear of Notts County and Yeovil Town – the first time they had been out of the drop zone since the second matchday of the campaign.
Since then, the wheels have come off slightly with back-to-back away defeats but neither the Glovers nor the Magpies have picked up a point in that time either so it’s as you were in terms of the drop zone.
Those two defeats came in a 2-0 reverse at play-off contenders Forest Green Rovers and at Northampton Town 3-1 on Good Friday.
Macclesfield Town manager Sol Campbell will have a couple of injury concerns to deal with ahead of welcoming the Exiles to Cheshire on Easter Monday.
Former County goalkeeper Rhys Taylor has been missing since November with a hip injury so Manchester United loanee Kieran O’Hara is expected to continue between the sticks.
Defender Jamie Grimes has not featured since suffering concussion back in January and he is not expected to feature this time around either.
That means Campbell could name an unchanged side from Friday’s defeat at Northampton Town, although he may choose to make some alterations with such a short time scale between fixtures.
Macclesfield Town team vs Northampton Town (3-4-1-2): O’Hara, Jules, Kelleher, Cameron, Fitzpatrick, Whitaker, Ntambwe, Welch-Hayes (Martis 77’), Stephens (Cole 59’), Smith (Wilson 86’), Durrell
One to Watch – Harry Smith
At times of need, players have to stand up and be counted and striker Harry Smith is doing everything he possibly can to ensure the Silkmen will be playing League Two football next season.
He’s netted nine goals this season from 44 appearances, with four coming in the last nine games including the crucial match winner against Exeter City earlier this month. Smith also scored in the reverse fixture against the Grecians, to add to strikes against Mansfield Town, Oldham Athletic, Yeovil Town, Northampton Town, two against Crawley Town and Walsall in the Carabao Cup.
A summer arrival to the Cheshire outfit, the 23-year old spent his youth career at Brentford, Chelsea and Gillingham before moving to the non-leagues to kickstart his career.
Smith plied his trade for Sevenoaks Town, Sittingbourne and Folkestone Invicta before a successful 2015/16 campaign with the latter saw Millwall take a punt on the striker when they were in League One.
He featured sparingly in his first season when helping the club to the Championship, but moved out on loan to Swindon Town last season before joining Macclesfield Town in July.
Manager – Sol Campbell
An Arsenal and England legend from his playing days, Sol Campbell is currently embarking on his first position in professional football management.
Taking charge of the Silkmen on 27th November 2018, Campbell appeared to have a seemingly impossible job of keeping them in the Football League when they were rooted to the foot of the table after just two wins from the first 19 matches.
They were seven points adrift at the time when Campbell took charge, but he watched from the stands as they stunned Exeter City on his first day in charge with a 1-0 away victory.
Results have picked up since then and when they completed the double over the Grecians earlier this month with a 3-2 home victory, the Silkmen moved out of the drop zone for the first time since early August.
All those results mean Campbell will welcome County to Cheshire with a 26.1%-win rate. The Silkmen have tasted success on six occasions from his 23 matches, drawing on nine occasions and losing the other eight.
Stadium – The Moss Rose
One of the smaller stadiums in League Two, The Moss Rose has a current capacity of 6,355 mixed between terracing and seated sections. It has seen higher attendances previously, with the record attendance being set in 1967 when they hosted Winsford United in-front of 9,008 spectators.
It is also one of the oldest stadiums currently in the Football League having first opened in 1891, hosting Macclesfield Town ever since across the various divisions they’ve occupied in that time.
Despite its ample history, the Cheshire venue has only been frequented by the Exiles twice, with only one of those matches coming against the Silkmen. Byron Anthony and Matthew Barnes Homer traded goals in a 1-1 draw on 13th October 2012, when 140 away supporters attended.
The other occasion County visited The Moss Rose came on 25th February 2012 when Northwich Victoria borrowed the stadium to host the Exiles in an FA Trophy Quarter-Final. Jake Harris scored twice and Nat Jarvis got the matchwinner as County came from two goals down to make their way to the last-four.
Last meeting between the two sides
Newport County AFC 3 – 3 Macclesfield Town
Tuesday 2nd October 2018
Macclesfield Town were denied their first League Two victory of the season as Jamille Matt headed home a dramatic stoppage time equaliser in a six-goal thriller at Rodney Parade.
The Silkmen didn’t look like a side winless to start the season as they were two goals to the good inside 11 minutes. Oxford United loanee Fiacre Kelleher opened the scoring with a header from a corner-kick before David Fitzpatrick converted a spot kick after Dan Butler felled Tyrone Marsh.
County halved the deficit on the half hour with a move straight from the training ground. Charlie Cooper played a corner-kick short into Padraig Amond, the Irishman found the run of Dan Butler and the left-back fired straight into the middle of the goal.
The Exiles were level on the hour when Jamille Matt was pulled to the floor by Fitzpatrick and Mickey Demetriou successfully tucked home the penalty.
Very few games see two penalty kicks let alone three, but that’s what happened at Rodney Parade as Demetriou handled the ball in the penalty area and Fitzpatrick again made no mistake.
There was still time for County to snatch a point, however, as Matt crashed home a header with the final passage of play in the contest.
Referee: Matthew Donohue
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Cunliffe
Assistant Referee 2: Ian Smedley
Fourth Official: Christopher Ward
Matthew Donohue is currently embarking on his first season as a Football League referee having taken charge of his first match in League Two on 11th August 2018 as Colchester United secured a 2-0 home victory over Port Vale.
He has refereed 35 matches thus far in his debut Football League season, giving out 129 yellow cards and seven red cards, with Donohue most recently brandishing two yellow cards on 13th April as Crewe Alexandra eased to a 3-0 home success over strugglers Notts County.
Only one game has passed this season without Donohue going to his pocket – that coming on 6th November as Barnsley and Everton U21s drew in the CheckaTrade Trophy before the League One outfit prevailed on penalties.
His league high number of yellow cards brandished for a solitary fixture stands at eight, a figure he has awarded just once – as AFC Wimbledon did their survival hopes the world of good with a 2-1 victory at Scunthorpe United.
That follows on from Donohue’s final season as a referee in the National League, where he brandished 47 yellow cards and two red cards from 20 matches across the entirety of the campaign.
Donohue has only refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on one previous occasion and it came during this season’s magnificent Emirates FA Cup run.
It was actually the inaugural game of that run as the Exiles ran out 2-0 winners at Met Police FC on 10th November 2018. Louis Birch was sent off for the home side while Dan Butler and Mickey Demetriou both saw yellows brandished in their direction.
Monday’s game will also be the second time he’s refereed Macclesfield Town after he took charge of their home defeat to Notts County on 6th October 2018. Kieran O’Hara and Peter Vincenti were booked for the Silkmen.
Other fixtures that day in League Two (All 3pm kick-offs)
Bury FC vs Northampton Town
Crawley Town vs Notts County
Forest Green Rovers vs Cambridge United
Grimsby Town vs Carlisle United
Lincoln City vs Tranmere Rovers
MK Dons vs Port Vale
Morecambe vs Cheltenham Town
Oldham Athletic vs Mansfield Town – Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Stevenage vs Exeter City
Swindon Town vs Crewe Alexandra
Yeovil Town vs Colchester United
Can’t make the match?
You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat 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 Tim Thraves 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 iFollow Exiles.