Padraig Amond knows from first-hand experience how Newport County AFC can claw back a deficit with time running out and he says the Exiles can replicate that feat to reach the play-offs this campaign.
Amond and the rest of his Hartlepool United teammates were on the wrong end of some unbelievable form from the Exiles in 2016/17 as County made the impossible possible during their ‘Great Escape.’
The Exiles were cast well adrift with 12 games remaining when a horror defeat to Leyton Orient left them 11 points from safety, but 22 points from when Mike Flynn took temporary charge on March 9th 2017 saw them do what very few thought possible.
This time around, County have the same amount of games to chase down a much smaller target and after victory over Carlisle United, the gap is just a meagre five points to the play-offs and they’ve got a game in hand as well.
Here, you can read what Amond exclusively told iFollow Exiles as County continue to chase down the top-seven in League Two…
On the victory over Carlisle United…
"Don’t get me wrong, it’s great if you can play great football like that every week – bringing the ball down, passing it about. But ultimately, the best example for me is the away game up at Carlisle earlier this season. We put in a really good performance, played some great football and got beat 3-2.
"This was about playing the conditions, playing a good game, and we came away with a 2-0 victory.
"That’s what needs to happen. I think performances go out of the window at this stage of the season. They are added bonuses but it’s all about results now.
"Of course, results will come with performances and performances will come with results. It’s important that we do win the game every time and if it means a bit of game management then so be it."
On why County can bridge the gap on the play-offs and take their season past May 4th…
"When I was at Hartlepool, we were on the other side of Newport chasing it down [big point margin in a small space of time.] If I’m honest with you, for a long time we thought it was dead and buried and they wouldn’t get back from it.
"When you came in and saw the results – if you lost and Newport won, it was like ‘oh not again.’ Every time Newport lost a game, we didn’t take advantage of it.
"So look, someone will always go on a run. I think it was four or five years ago that York City went on a mad run from bottom of the league at Christmas to the play-offs. We’re in a lot healthier position than that, we’re back into the top half now, and there’s only a couple of teams above us.
"It’s up to ourselves to prove that we want to prolong the season and put in the effort between then and now to make it happen. Of course, you need luck along the way as well.
"It’s important we back up this performance with a result next weekend against a team who are our rivals for that play-off spot. We’ll do everything we can."
On continuing to close the gap when heading on the road for back-to-back away trips to Colchester United and Northampton Town…
"They are both going to be tough games. Colchester next weekend will be tough, they’ve been on the receiving end of a bad result against Swindon this weekend and they’ll be wounded.
"When we turn up to play them next weekend, they’ll have a lot to play for to try and win back a little pride from this weekend. Then, you have Frank Nouble who’s there as well and he’ll want to prove a point to ourselves that he made the right choice at the beginning of the season.
"That’ll add to the spice of the game for us as well but mainly, it’s about taking it each game at a time and making sure next weekend we get a positive result which is really important.
"You can then take that result into the next game and try to build, keep building, like what the lads did a few years ago in the ‘Great Escape.’
"Northampton have hit a bit of a purple patch and they have a really good side. They’re probably in a false position I think because they are a very good side.
"We played really well against them at home but it’ll be a different game now we have to go to their ground – it’s quite open, bigger pitch, and it’ll take a big performance from us.
"In 10 days’ time, we could be in a very, very good position or we could be sitting going ‘well that’s it.’ We want the season to go on for as long as possible and we’ll do everything we can to make sure we’re still in a good position."
On bringing up his 21st goal of the campaign…
"You always have to be ready for anything [instinctively intercepting Danny Grainger's pass.]
"The second goal gives us that cushion and it was a good time to score because they had a little bit of play just before that. I’m not saying it killed the game straightaway, but it did make a mountain for them to climb.
"Joe Day has made a fantastic save from the penalty and when something like that happens, you know it’s going to be your day. At points this season, that would have gone the other way and then it would have been backs against the wall for the last ten minutes.
"We showed a lot resilience and I think we deserved the clean sheet, especially for Joe with the penalty save and the really important one in the first-half as well.
"I just want to score as many more as I can before the end of the season. I’m happy so far with my tally and I just want to keep on going, whatever the final tally may be.
"We’ve got 12 games left in the league and hopefully another three more maybe and I’ll be looking to score in a good few of those games.
"It’s important that everyone chips in as well. That’s the beauty of it at the minute really because the strikers are scoring goals but there’s also goals coming from others and good performances which is really important."
On Ade Azeez marking his home debut with a goal…
"It’s a massive goal for Ade. As a striker, it’s important that you score as early as possible into your new club.
"I think the best example from a few years ago was when Peter Crouch went to Liverpool and he went 12, 13 games without scoring and everyone was building it up saying ‘is he ever going to score?’
"When you get that first one, it takes all the pressure off you and Ade is buzzing at the minute.
"He did really well not just with the goal, but it did show his natural instincts to just tap it away and that’s really important that we have four strikers at the minute who are putting in good performances for the team.
"We know his strengths. He’s quick, he’s rapid and his game is all about getting the ball in space. Jamma’s game is very different to that, my game is very different to that and Harry’s game is very different to that.
"Ade is a handful up-front, a physical presence and he’s going to be tough to defend against for whoever he’s playing against. He’s so quick, he can chase down a defender’s bad touch and things like that.
"He’s another excellent option up-front and it’s great for the gaffer to have."
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