Seven academy players were given first team experience as Newport County AFC continued their preparations for the 2019/20 campaign with a battling 1-1 draw at National League South outfit Bath City.
Trialist 3 scored County’s only goal of the game just before the half-time whistle with a sumptuous chip having been played through on goal by a pinpoint pass from Trialist 2.
But the Exiles couldn’t hold on for another pre-season victory as Ross Stearn levelled the scoring with 17 minutes remaining thanks to a fine finish into the bottom corner.
Manager Michael Flynn decided to blend youth with experience at Twerton Park by naming a mixed team to start the contest.
Academy players Dom Jefferies and Ioan Evans joined Tom King, Mark O’Brien, Marvel Ekpiteta, Lazar Stojsavljevic, Matty Dolan and Mo Touray and a further three trialists.
The Exiles bossed first-half proceedings even if there weren’t too many clear-cut chances in another useful pre-season exercise.
Mo Touray drew two excellent saves from Bath goalkeeper Ryan Clarke when found in space on the edge of the area, before County made their advantage pay with the wonderful chipped attempt from Trialist 3 on 42 minutes.
The second half again saw Flynn tinker with his squad as he made another seven changes either at half time or shortly after the hour mark.
There was further first team minutes for academy players Callum Brain, Callum Jones, Jay Williams, Elis Watts, Ryan Hillier and another two trialists.
Those changes allowed Bath to come into the game more as Adam Mann flashed a shot just wide and Andy Watkins came close on a further two occasions before the hour mark.
It was only a matter of time before the home side made their dominance count and they found their equaliser on 73 minutes when Stearn was afforded time in the area to swivel and fire across Callum Brain into the far corner.
Another useful exercise for Flynn to blend the youth team with the first team and it is expected that the first team players not fielded at Twerton Park will play some part at Weston Super-Mare on Monday night.
Newport County AFC: Tom King (Callum Brain 62’), Dom Jefferies, Mark O’Brien (C), Marvel Ekpiteta, Lazar Stojsavljevic (Callum Jones 62’), Ioan Evans (Jay Williams 62’), Matty Dolan (Elis Watts 62’), Trialist 1, Trialist 2 (Trialist 5 45’), Mo Touray (Ryan Hillier 62’), Trialist 3 (Trialist 4 45’)
Bath City: Ryan Clarke (C), Alex Hartridge, Connor Riley-Lowe, Matt Bower, Jack Batten, Tom Smith, Joe Raynes, Harry Hamblin, Tyler Harvey, Tom Richards, Adam Mann
Substitutes: Ryan Brunt, Harvey Wiles-Richards, Andy Watkins, Ross Stearn, Jordan Simpson, Ashley Harper, James Ollis, Tom Hillman