Newport County AFC assistant manager Wayne Hatswell says he was pleased with the team’s performance at Bath City in a match that completed what he described as a ‘rigorous’ week of training for the players.
Seven academy players were given a runout with the first team at Twerton Park – namely the impressive Dom Jefferies, Ioan Evans, Ryan Hillier, Elis Watts, Jay Williams, Callum Jones and goalkeeper Callum Brain.
Tom King, Mark O’Brien, Lazar Stojsavljevic, Marvel Ekpiteta, Matty Dolan and Modou Touray also played some part against National League South opposition – alongside five trialists.
A superb chipped finish just before half-time from Trialist 3 put the Exiles in-front in Somerset, but they were pegged back with 17 minutes to play through a neat shot from Ross Stearn.
Hatswell said: “It was a good runout actually against a physical, strong, well organised team who made it difficult for us all night.
“There’s some positives from this game. We went 1-0 up through a great finish and it’s been a great workout overall.
“We had a mix of pros, trialists and some youth which was really pleasing I thought. A lot of the youth team did really, really well, especially with a couple of them playing out of position.
“The players have had a really tough week so I’m sure most of them are just glad to get off in one piece.
“They’ve had a lot of minutes this week but in house as well, we’ve had to work them hard this week.
“We’ve been quite rigorous with them this week and that adds to what they were doing last week in Spain. It’s been another good week; they’ll be in again on Saturday and they’re finally coming towards the end of their track runs etc.
“Double sessions will still probably apply next week; we’ve got some big games next week as well so that might take more precedence as well.
“It’s all about being ready to go in a couple of weeks’ time.”
County now move on to another important week of pre-season which includes further fixtures against Weston-Super-Mare on Monday and Chelsea U21s on Wednesday.
The latter is a benefit fixture for former Exiles defender Fraser Franks and Hatswell says it will be another mixture of youth and experience in both matches.
“We can obviously only play so many over the course of the 90 minutes,” he confirmed.
“Everyone is on a clean slate for Monday and again, we’ll just be tweaking things because we have another game on the Wednesday [Chelsea U21s] which we don’t quite know yet what the split will be.
“It’s about us getting minutes under the belt and just preparing for Mansfield Town plus the games that come thick and fast after that.
“We’re trying to fit another friendly in as well on Saturday 27th. Ideally, we don’t want to be going into that week having not played a game.
“We’re working hard behind the scenes to get something sorted and if we don’t get something arranged, we’ll adapt and maybe play a game against ourselves.”