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Match Reports

REPORT | County into the play-offs after victory over Oldham Athletic

30 April 2019

The job is simple. Win at Morecambe and the play-offs are secured.

He has a knack for scoring important goals, but Mark O’Brien got his second in County colours (we all what happened with his first!) and Robbie Willmott netted a half-volley in a priceless 2-0 victory over Oldham Athletic at Rodney Parade.

The two second-half goals lift the Exiles into the play-offs for the first time since December, but everyone is aware that the job is not yet done… but almost!

Manager Michael Flynn made one change to the side who became just the second in 2019 to topple champions Lincoln City with a 1-0 victory on Saturday.

Ben Kennedy missed out of the starting side with injury but Jamille Matt who fit enough to take his place as the Exiles stuck to their 4-4-2 formation at Rodney Parade.

Oldham Athletic manager Pete Wild made two changes to his side which saw their feint play-off hopes dissolve with a 1-0 defeat to Exeter City last time out.

Chris O’Grady and Mohamed Sylla both dropped to the bench as Oladapo Afolayan and Johan Branger-Engone returned to a 3-4-3 formation for the visitors.

Such was the magnitude of the game that you could forgive the Exiles for starting on the nervous side up until the half-time whistle in a frustrating opening 45 minutes.

A horrific looking injury to Oldham captain Peter Clarke around the half hour did nothing to ease the tension amongst the supporters and the seven-minute delay did stifle proceedings when play resumed.

Sometimes you can spend hours trying to work out puns and clichés for reports, but some just fall right into your lap and Zeus De La Paz certainly used his lightning reflexes to tip away a Matty Dolan after 12 minutes.

Padraig Amond headed onto the roof of the net shortly after and Jamille Matt also saw a header saved before the half-time whistle.

When they played it through the midfield, Oldham looked a very good side and they caused some alarming moments for the Exiles defence.

Gevaro Nepumoceno seemed a livewire on the left flank as virtually all the play virtually came from him, but he was denied by Joe Day and also curled a shot wide.

George Edmundson came close with a header, while Afolayan should have done better on the only occasion where he had the running of Regan Poole on 12 minutes but blazed wide.

Chris Missilou and Callum Lang both sent headers past the post from corner-kicks as the Latics were showing glimpses of why they were on the cusps of the play-off positions.

A goal shortly after the restart was always going to be the cure to the nervousness of Rodney Parade and it came within three minutes of the restart.

He doesn’t half know when to score this Irishman as O’Brien popped up with the priceless opener for just his second goal in County colours – and we all know when the last one came.

It was an almost identical goal to his Great Escape heroics as well – take a touch, swivel with the right foot and blast into the back of the net following an excellent delivery into the area by Willmott.  

A second goal was always going to be required just to solidify everything and definitely confirm the points, Oldham were still providing threat up-front but Afolayan headed over with the goal at his mercy.

Matt almost converted another wonderful cross into the penalty area from Willmott, before De La Paz made two clever saves to thwart Amond then Dolan with powerful attempts.      

The goal was coming, it was just a matter of when for the Exiles and it came with 10 minutes remaining.

It was somewhat harsh on De La Paz as he was having a great game up until that point, but Willmott caught the shot stopper off guard with a half-volley from the edge of the area which snuck in his near post.

David Pipe came on in stoppage time for his 100th League Two appearance for the Exiles as County set-up a grandstand finish in Morecambe on Saturday.

We’re almost their Exiles…. Join us in Morecambe and help the side reach the play-offs.

   

Newport County AFC (4-4-2): Day, Poole, O’Brien (C), Demetriou, Butler, Willmott, Sheehan, Bennett, Dolan (Pipe 90’), Amond (McKirdy 90+4’), Matt (Azeez 81’)

Subs not used: Marsh-Brown, Bakinson, Crofts, McKirdy

 

Oldham Athletic (3-4-3): De La Paz, Hamer, Edmundson (Sylla 55’), Clarke (C) (Hunt 42’), Iacovitti, Maouche, Missilou, Lang, Nepomuceno, Branger-Engone, Afolayan (Benteke 80’)

Subs not used: Iversen, O’Grady, Baxter, Coke

 

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 4,642 (160 AWAY)

Next up for County: Morecambe (4th May 2019) AWAY


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