Newport County AFC will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to four matches when they host Swindon Town on Tuesday night at Rodney Parade. The Exiles have picked up some good results in recent weeks to give themselves a chance in the hunt for the play-offs, while Swindon also harbour hopes of a top-seven finish and will be desperate for all three points in South Wales.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
Last five matches in League Two
Swindon Town have been in extremely good form since the turn of the year to ensure they have play-off ambitions to fight for with six games remaining for the Wiltshire outfit this campaign.
Some poor form in October / November seemed to suggest the Robins would end up languishing in mid-table but Richie Wellens came in with a fresh outlook and catapulted the side to contenders in the quest for the top-seven.
Over the last five matches, the Robins have picked up eight points and are now unbeaten in four, having lost the first of that run in a 2-0 reverse at Stevenage on 12th March.
A disappointing 0-0 home draw with Port Vale was then followed up by crucial back-to-back wins, with the Robins having four different goal scorers in the 4-0 demolition of Morecambe, before stunning automatic promotion chasers Bury FC with a 3-1 away victory – Kaiyne Woolery scoring twice.
Arguably, the Robins should have made it three wins on the spin but were left to rue what Wellens described as ‘safe’ play in a 1-1 home draw with Yeovil Town. Keshi Anderson had seemingly secured the points with a neat header, but Adel Gafaiti scored in stoppage time to ensure a share of the spoils.
Swindon Town manager Richie Wellens should have a full team to choose from as he prepares to bring the Robins to Rodney Parade.
Only top scorer Michael Doughty – with 11 goals – was a concern on Saturday but he came on with just over 20 minutes remaining and therefore could feature for longer in South Wales.
Everyone came through the weekend unscathed so Wellens could name an unchanged side, although he may switch things up knowing the Robins ideally need all three points in their quest for the play-offs.
Swindon Town team vs Yeovil Town (4-3-3): McCormick, Knoyle, Conroy (C), Woolfenden, Koiki, Rose, Bennett (Broadbent 89’), Carroll, Woolery, Robinson, Anderson (Doughty 69’)
One to Watch – Kaiyne Woolery
A tricky and agile player on the ball, Swindon winger Kaiyne Woolery is beginning to hit form at the right time of the season as the Robins chase a place-off berth come the end of the campaign.
The 24-year old has scored six goals from 24 appearances this season – three of which have come in as many games recently – following strikes against Plymouth Argyle in the CheckaTrade Trophy, Forest Green Rovers, Morecambe, a double against Bury FC and in the reverse fixture against County.
A £350,000 signing from Wigan Athletic at the beginning of last season, Woolery has struggled with injuries at times but has still made 67 appearances, scoring 11 goals since arriving at the County Ground.
Starting his journey on the youth books at Redhill, Woolery spent the initial stages of his career in non-league and also featured for Tamworth and on loan at Maidstone United and Stafford Rangers.
Afforded an opportunity by Bolton Wanderers in August 2014, Woolery struggled with the immediate jump up to the Championship and was sent on loan to Notts County before joining Wigan Athletic in 2016/17.
A fruitful loan spell at Forest Green Rovers – which included scoring twice in the National League play-off final victory against Tranmere Rovers – tempted Swindon to make their move and he’s starting to repay the transfer fee with a purple patch of late.
Manager – Richie Wellens
A relatively inexperienced manager, Richie Wellens was a surprise appointment at the County Ground following Phil Brown’s dismissal in November, but he’s done remarkably well to prove why he was the preferred candidate for the job.
Taking over the team when they were languishing in midtable, Wellens has reinstilled belief into his group of players as they have as much chance as any of securing themselves a spot inside the play-offs come the end of the season.
Ahead of his first ever trip as a manager to Rodney Parade, Wellens has a 41.7%-win ratio as Swindon boss. He’s tasted success on 10 occasions out of 24 matches in all competitions, drawing seven and losing the remaining seven.
This is Wellens’ second managerial position after an ill-fated spell at Oldham Athletic.
The 39-year old took charge a couple of games into the 2017/18 campaign but couldn’t prevent the Latics dropping into League Two and he was dismissed after 43 matches when relegation was confirmed.
Last meeting between the two sides
Swindon Town 2 – 1 Newport County AFC
Saturday 8th December 2018
Newport County AFC will be hoping it’s third time lucky against Swindon Town this season having already suffered defeat to the Robins twice, including the reverse league fixture.
The Exiles went down 1-0 to a late Michael Doughty penalty at the County Ground on 11th September in the CheckaTrade Trophy, and they didn’t have much joy when they returned to Wiltshire just under two months later.
Had it not been for Joe Day then the game could have been over by half-time such was the early dominance from the Robins, but they had to settle for a one goal advantage thanks to Doughty’s half-volley after 61 seconds.
It was like a different County returned out for the second-half and they were level within two minutes of the restart as Padraig Amond powered a header past a helpless Lawrence Vigouroux.
That wasn’t to be the start of a comeback, however, as Swindon got the three points their performance arguably deserved when Kaiyne Woolery rounded Day and calmly dispatched the opportunity.
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistant Referee 1: Justin Amey
Assistant Referee 2: Mark Griffiths
Fourth Official: Andrew Hendley
Johnson is currently embarking on his fifth season as a Football League referee having first taken charge of a League Two fixture on 9th August 2014 as Tranmere Rovers and York City played out a 1-1 draw at Prenton Park.
He has refereed 39 games thus far this campaign, giving out 117 yellow cards and six red cards, including three on the opening day of the season as Bradford City secured a narrow away victory at Shrewsbury Town.
Six games have passed this season without Johnson going to his pocket, three of which came in the CheckaTrade Trophy alongside two Football League fixtures – including Burton Albion’s away victory at Walsall on 3rd November and Blackpool’s away success at Portsmouth 12th January.
His league high total of yellow cards for a single fixture is seven, a figure he has given out four times this campaign – Lincoln City’s away victory at Exeter City on 1st September, Bury FC’s away triumph over Swindon Town on 15th September, Oxford’s draw with Barnsley on 29th January and Notts County’s draw with Morecambe on 16th March.
That follows on from refereeing a total of 37 games during the 2017/18 campaign, a season in which Johnson brandished 111 yellow cards and nine red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.
Kevin Johnson has officiated a match involving Newport County AFC on 14 previous occasions across the Conference, League Two, the Emirates FA Cup and the CheckaTrade Trophy. The Exiles have relative success in those previous matches – winning seven, drawing four and losing just three.
He has already presided over three County games this season, the last of which came on 12th February as the Exiles hit the woodwork four times but somehow lost 1-0 at home to MK Dons. Not a single player was booked from either side.
Another County game presided over by Johnson came on 11th December 2018 as the Exiles smashed Welsh-rivals Wrexham AFC 4-0 in the Emirates FA Cup. Luke Young received a red card that day, whilst Dan Butler and David Pipe were shown yellows for County.
The remaining game this season came on 25th September as the Exiles secured an impressive 3-0 home success over Chelsea U21s in the CheckaTrade Trophy. No bookings.
In addition to being fourth official for the heroic 2-1 victory over Leeds United, Johnson refereed County on two occasions last season including the 1-1 draw at home to Morecambe on 23rd January 2018. Ben Tozer scored, while Scot Bennett and Robbie Willmott received cautions.
The other game came in the Emirates FA Cup as the Exiles saw off Cambridge United 2-0 on 3rd December 2017. Joss Labadie scored both to put County into the Third Round, while Frank Nouble was booked.
Johnson also refereed two County matches in the 2016/17 campaign, starting with the 2-0 defeat to Stevenage at Rodney Parade on 6th December 2016. Scot Bennett was the only County player booked alongside a further three bookings for the visitors.
Ryan Bird, Aaron Williams and Dan Butler all scored in the other game refereed by Johnson in 2016/17, with Padraig Amond netting a late consolation as Hartlepool United were defeated 3-1 in South Wales on 28th January 2017. No bookings.
During the 2014/15 season, County drew both matches presided over by Johnson, starting as the Exiles picked up no bookings in the 1-1 draw with Burton Albion on 23rd August 2014. Mark Byrne was cautioned during the 2-2 draw with Hartlepool United on 3rd April 2015.
In the Conference promotion season of 2012/13, Johnson refereed a further three County fixtures. AFC Telford United received two red cards on 25th September 2012 during a 4-2 victory for the Exiles. No bookings for County players.
The other two games that season came at Rodney Parade. Six yellow cards were brandished during the 2-2 draw with Tamworth on 9th February 2013, but none were awarded in the victory over Alfreton Town on 21st April 2013.
The 2011/12 campaign saw a further game presided over by Johnson. County saw two red cards that day, as Ismail Yakubu and Gary Warren were both given their marching orders during the 3-1 defeat to Kidderminster Harriers on 29th August 2011.
That just leaves the first ever County game to be refereed by Johnson and it came back in the 2010/11 season. County beat Mansfield Town 1-0 on 18th September 2010 despite having Paul Bignot dismissed.
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 7.30pm.
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.