Newport County AFC are only a few results away from ascending back into the play-offs and all it is going to take is ruthlessness at both ends of the pitch when on the front foot in games, admits Exiles defender Scot Bennett.
County secured successive clean sheets in League Two for the first time this season against Port Vale at Rodney Parade, but couldn’t break the stubborn Valiants down and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
Padraig Amond was majestically denied by a flying save from Scott Brown in County’s best opportunity of the night, whilst a solid and resolute defensive display ensured Nick Townsend didn’t have much to do except for some easy saves.
Here, you can read what Bennett exclusively told iFollow Exiles upon the conclusion of the contest in South Wales.
On the draw with Port Vale at Rodney Parade…
"I think we started the game brightly and then I think the pitch started to play a massive part. It was heavy, couldn’t really get the ball down, and they set-up with a game plan to sit in, frustrate us, and it worked.
"Second half was a bit more of a battle between both teams but there was only going to be a goal from a mistake, I think.
"When they went down to ten men, we fancied our chances, but we just couldn’t get that final finish and I think we needed to improve in the final third.
"I think there was a few tired legs, but we did everything properly. We were in training yesterday, had a proper session, and in fairness the gaffer said before the game and asked everyone if they were feeling anything after the efforts everyone did put in on the weekend.
"Everyone felt all right, but after 60/70 minutes, it does start to catch up with you."
On being named man-on-the-match after being declared recently as the ‘unsung’ hero by Mike Flynn…
"I was happy with my own performance but as I would always say, I’d rather us get the win than receive the accolades for myself. It’s always nice to be noticed and I thought I performed all right.
"It’s always nice to get a bit of praise off the gaffer – I don’t look for it, I go about my business, come in and get my head down and work hard.
"I’ve always said I’ll play wherever I can on the pitch, if the gaffer needs me somewhere else in the team then I’m more than happy to do that.
"It is nice to get some personal recognition, but I would never go looing for it, I’ll take it on the chin, keep going and trying my best like I always do."
On trying to be more ruthless and killing teams off when in control of possession and ascendency…
"We wanted more and we’re disappointed not to have got the win. But at the same time, you have to take the point and move on.
"We know we’ve got a busy schedule coming up and we need to start picking up the points because as we’ve said all season, we want to be up at the right end of the table challenging and that’s what we’re trying to do.
"I don’t think it’s always been that we haven’t got the goals, sometimes we have got the goals and it’s been sloppy mistakes at the back.
"We have cut those errors out and we’ve sort of nailed down the hatches a little bit.
"It’s not gone for us at the other end at the minute but we’re definitely trying to make it work at both ends so that we can get a good, solid 90 minutes underneath us and pick up the points.
"When we’re on top of teams, we have to start finishing them off because then we can start pushing back up the table."
On the long trip to Lincolnshire to face Grimsby Town on Saturday…
"It’s going to be another long trip but again, we’ll do it properly. We’re in again on Wednesday training, will travel up on the Friday.
"We’ll definitely be going into the game desperate for three points because we really need them now.
"I think this is a crucial game. I don’t think we’re quite at that stage of ‘whoever wins has a chance of the play-offs, whoever loses doesn’t.’
"There’s still a lot of games left to play but we do need to start picking up the points because as much as we have a game in hand, you have to win that game in hand to be up there again.
"We’re always looking up and we want to pick up the points so that we can climb the table as quickly as possible. We want to be in and around it come the end of the season."
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