Mike Flynn admits his Newport County AFC side just weren’t good enough as they struggled to make things happen at the JobServe Community Stadium and ultimately suffered a 3-0 defeat at play-off hopefuls Colchester United.
It would be unjust on Colchester United’s performance to say anything other than they controlled proceedings from start to finish and made it an afternoon to forget for the Exiles.
A lot of managers, pundits, players and alike remark a lot about how Danny Mayor of Bury FC is arguably the best player in the division – he has been brilliant all season for the Shakers – but Courtney Senior has now thrown his hat into the ring following a magnificent individual display.
The left-winger was the source of all that was good about Colchester, who took the lead on 20 minutes when County failed to play to the whistle and the alert Sammie Szmodics passed home.
Joe Day made a stunning save to thwart Senior after the 21-year old had made a menacing run into the area and past three challenges, but he eventually got the goal his performance deserved when he curled home a sumptuous second in first-half stoppage time.
The home side confirmed that all three points would be staying in Essex with another showstopping goal on 63 minutes as Frank Nouble came back to haunt the Exiles.
After positive play down the right, Nouble picked the ball up in a dangerous area, using quick-feet to fix and mesmerise the County defence, before smashing an unbelievable strike into the far corner from an acute angle.
It just wasn’t County’s afternoon at the JobServe Stadium and Flynn was extremely honest about the gulf in quality between the two sides during that particular 90 minutes.
He affirmed: “I’ve spoken to the players and I’ve told them that we got outplayed.
“Actually, in the first 20 minutes I thought we started okay, quite a bright start, even game, but then we got outplayed for the remaining 70 minutes.
“First-goals are always important.
“We went and made the wrong choice inside the opening minute when we hit the side netting and we should have squared it.
“Look, first goals do change games, but I didn’t feel it was that one which cost us the game. Colchester were very good if I’m being honest and we looked way off it.”
Flynn continued: “Of course they are [capable of much, much more.]
“It is what it is. We looked very flat again, we got outplayed, I will not make any excuses.
“Colchester were well worthy of the three points.”
Not the best of afternoons for the players but certainly not for Flynn either as his celebrations of two years in charge of the club didn’t exactly go to plan.
It’s been an extraordinary 24 months since Flynn took what was, at the time, caretaker charge of the club and he’s guided the club to the ‘Great Escape,’ a first victory over top-flight opposition in the Emirates FA Cup for 55 years and notable Rodney Parade nights against Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
He stated: “It doesn’t matter [that we lost on the anniversary] because I’m going to have a lot of anniversaries over my career and I’ll win some and I’ll lose some. I might even draw some.
“Hopefully I’m in this game for a long time and I’m sure I’ll have plenty. The first game [as a manager] was a great one where we won, can’t remember what happened on the one-year anniversary and this second year one was poor. It happens.”
Before the game, County surprised many with the signing of 21-year old winger Will Randall until the end of the season.
He came on midway through the second-half and looked lively with a couple of bursts down the left-side and looked comfortable on the ball with some creative link-up play.
Flynn remarked: “Will is very good technically, he’s creative and to be fair, bringing him on was more about getting minutes into his legs because we didn’t have much ball.
“It was about getting him up to speed.
“Will has been training with us for a few weeks, played against us last season for Forest Green Rovers and I liked him.
“He became available when he left Wolves in January, I’ve had a look at him in those three weeks training and we’ve got him on a short-term deal which gives us a proper chance to look at him.”
The Exiles have a quick turnaround before heading back out on the road again on Tuesday night to play Keith Curle’s Northampton Town.
Flynn commented: “I’m just trying to win as many games as I can before the end of the season to see where that takes us.
“We always knew this was part of two tough away games and I said I wanted to win one. Look, Tuesday is a cup-final now.”
NEXT UP | County travel to Northampton Town on Tuesday night. Buy tickets here.
ON PARADE | County return to Rodney Parade for ‘Friday night football’ when hosting Cheltenham Town on 15th March 2019. Buy tickets here and pack the Parade.