Classy finishes from Joss Labadie, Corey Whitely and Padraig Amond ensured Newport County AFC concluded their 2019/20 pre-season preparations with a convincing 3-0 victory over Hungerford Town.
Labadie’s volley and Whitely’s smart turn and finish had County 2-0 up at the break, before Amond both missed a penalty and coolly dispatched another opportunity minutes later to round off another confident display.
For the club’s final pre-season fixture of the 2019/20 schedule, manager Michael Flynn elected to name a strong starting XI for the match against their National League South opposition.
Tom King continued in goal, behind a back four of George Nurse, Mickey Demetriou, Kyle Howkins and a trialist.
Matty Dolan and Josh Sheehan helped provide a further defensive shield while Robbie Willmott and Joss Labadie played further forward in support of Jamille Matt and Corey Whitely.
The Exiles were again in imperious form up until half time and deservedly took a two-goal lead into the break after some more scintillating play.
Whitely again looked completely unstoppable as his pace caused all manner of problems to the Hungerford backline and he deservedly capped off the performance with a fine goal to put County 2-0 up on 34 minutes.
King punted a long ball forward which Whitely reached with ease. His trickery took him past the trailing defender before smashing a shot low into the bottom corner from just outside the area.
Before that, the Exiles were working superbly as a team and the opener came inside three minutes when neat build-up down the left afforded a cross to be made for Labadie to power home on the volley.
It could have been more for County but for the reflexes of home goalkeeper Adam Sivitar. He used his legs to deny Matt just before half-time, while Dolan, Whitely and Howkins were all denied.
Hungerford struggled to have any sort of impetus in the first half, but they did have a Louis McGrory speculative attempt from a free-kick which had King scrambling.
It was all change for the Exiles at half-time as Flynn decided to implement 11 changes for the second half.
Nick Townsend made a welcome return in goal having recovered from his bicep injury, while Mark O’Brien, Marvel Ekpiteta, Scot Bennett and Lazar Stojsavljevic composed the backline.
Academy prospect Dom Jefferies and Trialist 2 helped Keanu Marsh-Brown in the midfield area, while Thursday’s summer signing Tristan Abrahams joined Padraig Amond and Momodou Touray up-front.
All the changes didn’t appear to affect County that much as they were relentless yet again after the break – Abrahams may not have trained with the side much, but he fitted straight in and was denied twice early on by Sivitar.
Some more smart interchange resulted in Trialist 2 being hauled to the floor inside the penalty area on 56 minutes, but Amond couldn’t dispatch the spot-kick as Sivitar got down to his right with a strong hand.
It was only delaying the inevitable, however, as the Irishman made amends just four minutes later by coolly slotting past Sivitar after a clever through ball from Marsh-Brown.
No further goals could be added despite former Oxford United man James Constable having one chalked off for offside late on for the home side, meaning County rounded off their pre-season preparations for the 2019/20 season with a comfortable victory.
Newport County AFC First Half XI (4-1-2-1-2): Tom King, Trialist 1, Mickey Demetriou, Kyle Howkins, George Nurse, Joss Labadie (C), Josh Sheehan, Robbie Willmott, Matty Dolan, Jamille Matt, Corey Whitely
Newport County AFC Second Half XI (4-3-3): Nick Townsend, Dom Jefferies, Mark O’Brien, Marvel Ekpiteta, Lazar Stojsavljevic, Scot Bennett, Trialist 2, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Momodou Touray, Padraig Amond, Tristan Abrahams
Hungerford Town (4-4-2): Adam Sivitar, Matt Berry-Hargreaves, Matt Jones, Mike Jones, James Rusby, Josiah Dunston, Louis McGrory, Dan Bailey, James Constable, Liam Ferdinand, Kofi Halliday
Substitutes brought on: Marcus Johnson-Scheuster, Joe Tomlinson, Zidane Akers, Conor Lynch, Lewis Sperrier