Newport County AFC will be looking to return to winning ways when they head to Northampton Town on Tuesday night. Manager Michael Flynn described the contest as a ‘cup final’ following Saturday’s defeat to Colchester United, while the home side have hit a purple patch of late and will be hoping to continue a late sprint for the play-offs.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
Last five results in League Two
Worryingly for County, Northampton Town have ominously hit a real rich vein of form lately and will welcome the Exiles to Northamptonshire as one of the form sides in League Two.
They’ve picked up 11 points from the last 15 available and have seemingly arrested some poor home form which threatened to curtail the back end of 2018 and also the beginning to 2019.
That run of form from 9th February starts with two draws, including an impressive 1-1 draw at runaway leaders Lincoln City thanks to an Aaron Pierre equaliser, before battling to a 0-0 draw at home to Crawley Town.
Since then, the Cobblers have secured three successive victories, starting with Andy Williams’ sumptuous stoppage time chip in the 2-1 victory at Stevenage. Loanee Joe Powell had earlier given Northampton an early lead before an Alex Revell equaliser in the second-half.
They made it back-to-back victories for the first time since early November when securing a more than impressive 2-0 victory at a resurgent Crewe Alexandra. Daniel Powell and John Joe O’Toole both netted in the first-half to give them all three points at Gresty Road.
Before Saturday’s home tie with play-off chasers Exeter City, the Cobblers had only won one home match in seven but now it’s two in eight following a 2-1 success over the Grecians. Pierre and Williams scored either side of half-time to secure the win, with Aaron Martin’s strike merely a consolation for Exeter.
Northampton Town manager Keith Curle appears to have virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from ahead of County travelling to Northamptonshire on Tuesday night.
Interestingly, Curle named an unchanged side on Saturday for the first time since his appointment as manager and he may be tempted to name those same eleven players once again.
However, he affirmed in his post-match press conference following the victory over Exeter that he’s ‘brave’ enough to make changes if he feels that will give him the upper hand against County.
Only loan defender George Cox will be absent with Curle commenting: “He is probably going to spend two weeks back at Brighton now and then he’ll hopefully be back up with us to work on the field-based training.”
Northampton Town team vs Exeter City (4-4-2): Cornell, Goode, Taylor, Pierre (C), Buchanan, D. Powell (J.Powell 78’), O’Toole (Elsnik 90+1’), Turnbull, Foley, Sordell (Williams 34’), Hoskins
One to Watch – Andy Williams
A highly experienced striker, 32-year old Andy Williams has played in the Football League for all bar two seasons of his 15-year career and has played as high as the Championship in that time.
Plying his trade at Northampton since the summer, Williams has hit nine goals from 34 appearances across all competitions – getting two in the last three games – with strikes against Forest Green Rovers, Crewe Alexandra, Grimsby Town, Yeovil Town, MK Dons, Swindon Town, Stevenage, Exeter City and the reverse fixture against County.
A striker with over 130 professional goals to his name, Williams has scored wherever he’s been and most impressively hit a career high 22 goals from 53 appearances for Swindon Town in the 2014/15 campaign.
That goal tally came for the Robins in League One and the third-tier for whatever reason seems to be where he finds the target most – getting 15 for Doncaster Rovers in 2015/16 and 17 at Yeovil Town in 2011/12.
Williams has also played for Bristol Rovers and Hereford United during his career.
Manager – Keith Curle
Keith Curle has put the smiles back on the Northampton Town supporters faces since taking to the hotseat with the Cobblers on 1st October 2018.
Dejected after relegation last season and a poor start to this campaign, Northampton turned to Curle to turn around their fortunes and he’s done a fantastic job by only losing seven of his opening 31 matches. He’s secured 12 wins and the same number of draws.
A highly experienced manager, Curle is currently undergoing his sixth job in professional football management.
Starting out at Mansfield Town as a player-manager in December 2002, Curle couldn’t prevent them from relegation into the fourth-tier but did get the Stags to the play-offs in the subsequent season, although they lost on penalties to Huddersfield Town in the final.
He was dismissed in December 2004 following a poor run of form and he could only last nine months at Chester City after a disastrous run of form that saw the club go through a horrible sequence of 11 defeats from 12 matches.
Curle’s next spell at Torquay United didn’t fare much better either as he failed to save them from relegation during his short-stint contract – with the 55-year old electing to move into coaching and joined Neil Warnock’s staff at Crystal Palace then QPR.
He returned to management in February 2012 at Notts County but not even an incredible record of going 22 consecutive away matches unbeaten could save Curle from being dismissed less than 12 months into the role.
Carlisle United then came calling for Curle’s services and he spent four seasons with the club before leaving for pastures new – leading them into the play-offs in 2016/17 a particular highlight of his reign with the Cumbrians.
Stadium - The PTS Academy Stadium
For the second time in four days, Newport County AFC will head out on the road to visit a relatively new venue and Tuesday’s destination will be The PTS Academy Stadium.
Built originally in 1994 then expanded in 2014, The PTS Academy Stadium is an all-seater venue that holds 7,798, a figure that was reached for the first and only time in 2016/17 when the Cobblers hosted Manchester United in the Carabao Cup.
Bizarrely, now League One side Coventry City did a groundshare for a season in the 2013/14 campaign due to a rent dispute at current home the Ricoh Arena.
County have travelled to play Northampton on numerous occasions since as far back as 5th February 1921 but only four of those prior encounters have come at The PTS Academy Stadium.
The Exiles have a miserable record at this venue, losing every time and only scoring twice, with away supporters always situated in the Moulton College Stand which is behind one of the goals.
544 away supporters made the first trip to see the first goal on 10th August 2013, but it was merely a late consolation from Conor Washington in a 3-1 defeat during County’s first season back in the Football League.
A 3-0 defeat then followed on 24th January 2015, County couldn’t stop the Cobblers storming to the title when suffering a 1-0 reverse on 25th March 2016, whilst there was also a friendly between the sides on 29th July 2017 which Northampton won 2-1.
Last meeting between the two sides
Newport County AFC 3 – 1 Northampton Town
Tuesday 27th November 2018
Newport County AFC produced arguably their best home performance of the season in League Two as a mixture of offensive clinicality and defensive resilience rewarded them with a 3-1 victory over Northampton Town.
Some of the attacking play from the Exiles was just remarkable and a delight to watch and they were ahead inside five minutes as Josh Sheehan calmly slotted away his first of the season from outside the area after a surging run from Dan Butler.
Northampton hit back almost immediately and they found their equaliser with 11 minutes on the clock. Captain David Buchanan’s free-kick caused pinball in the area and Cobblers striker Andy Williams reacted quickest amidst the subsequent goalmouth scramble to fire past Joe Day.
From there, it was completely one-way traffic from the Exiles and they quickly took the game from their visitors with two goals in and around the half hour mark.
Dan Butler was again involved in the second goal as his free-kick was headed back across goal by Mark O’Brien for Jamille Matt to prod home, whilst a lovely flowing move on 33 minutes concluded with Padraig Amond rifling a first-time shot into the roof of the net after good work from Tyreeq Bakinson.
Into the second-half and County had to show their defensive unity to stand up to the test Northampton were providing – O’Brien made countless vital tackles and interceptions alongside Fraser Franks putting his body on the line to block a Daniel Powell shot.
Referee: Antony Coggins
Assistant Referee 1: Christopher Wade
Assistant Referee 2: Lisa Rashid
Fourth Official: Thomas Harty
Coggins is currently embarking on just his second season as a Football League referee having officiated his first match in League Two on the opening day of last season when Morecambe started the campaign off in perfect fashion having secured a 2-1 victory over Cheltenham Town.
He has refereed 30 games thus far this season, giving out 111 yellow cards and three red cards, including four on the opening day of the season as Scunthorpe United won away at Coventry City.
His record number of yellow cards for an individual fixture this season stands at eight, a figure he has brandished once – as Swindon Town played out a 0-0 draw with Mansfield Town on 20th October 2018 with Stags midfielder Will Atkinson also getting dismissed.
Every single fixture this season presided over by Coggins has seen at least one booking.
Those statistics follow on from refereeing a total of 34 matches across all competitions in his debut Football League campaign of 2017/18, a season in which Coggins gave out 87 yellow cards and six red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.
Coggins has officiated a match involving Newport County AFC on five previous occasions in League Two and the CheckaTrade Trophy. The Exiles have a pretty good record from those prior matches – having won two of the contests, drawn twice and only lost on one occasion.
He has already refereed the Exiles twice this season, most recently as County concluded 2018 with a 0-0 home draw against Crawley Town on 29th December. Mark Harris was the only player booked from either side.
The other match in which Coggins presided over this season came on 11th September 2018 as Swindon Town secured a 1-0 victory in the CheckaTrade Trophy. Mark O’Brien was the only County player booked.
The other three matches all came last season, starting with the 2-0 victory at Southend United in the Carabao Cup First Round on 8th August 2017. Shawn McCoulsky scored twice on his first start for the Exiles, while Matty Dolan and Ben White were both cautioned.
Coggins also officiated the 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town on 23rd September 2017 as Padraig Amond scored the match-winner for the second successive game at Rodney Parade. No yellow cards were distributed to County players, although Nathan Clarke was booked for the visitors.
Coincidentally, Coggins was also the man in the middle for the final game of 2017 during the 1-1 draw at Cheltenham Town. Mo Eisa cancelled out Padraig Amond’s emphatic header at the LCI Rail Stadium, with Frank Nouble the only County player cautioned amongst four bookings in total.
Other League Two fixtures that night (All 7:45pm kick-offs)
Cambridge United vs Crewe Alexandra
Carlisle United vs Notts County
Colchester United vs Forest Green Rovers
Crawley Town vs Mansfield Town
Lincoln City vs Oldham Athletic
Macclesfield Town vs Exeter City
Morecambe vs MK Dons
Port Vale vs Yeovil Town
Stevenage vs Swindon Town
Tranmere Rovers vs Grimsby Town
Can’t make the match?
You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram pages.
Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Tim Thraves can also be found at the Match Centre from 19.30pm.
An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the Club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to iFollow Exiles.