Newport County AFC suffered their first home defeat in League Two since mid-February as Lois Maynard’s powerful second half header gave Salford City a 2-1 victory at Rodney Parade.
Both sides went into the break level. Cameron Burgess gave the Ammies the lead shortly before half time, but teammate Nathan Pond put into his own net in additional time to level proceedings.
Maynard’s second half header condemned County to a first league defeat at Rodney Parade since MK Dons triumphed here on February 12th, the main objective now is to create a run just as good as this proud one which sadly came to an end.
Michael Flynn elected to make three changes to the starting side which suffered only a second league defeat of the season away at Colchester United last time out.
Taylor Maloney came into a 3-5-2 formation for his first ever Football League start, while Jamille Matt and Matty Dolan also returned in place of Danny McNamara, Tristan Abrahams and George Nurse.
Salford City manager Graham Alexander named two changes to his starting side when maintaining the familiar 4-4-2 system the Ammies usually play. Oscar Threlkeld and Richie Towell replaced Scott Wiseman and Luke Armstrong.
It’s fair to say that the Rodney Parade surface has had it’s critics over the years – normally the opposition – but you have to give credit when due and the pitch held up magnificently amid a barrage of wind and rain over the past seven days.
The conditions were always going to hamper proceedings in South Wales as both sides struggled in the first half to work out exactly how the wind changed the direction of the ball when put into the air.
Josh Sheehan fired a snapshot from the edge of the area just wide in the 6th minute and Padraig Amond headed wide unmarked shortly afterwards, Sheehan was the one player who did cope under the tricky conditions but even his magnificent moments of brilliance were part of plays that eventually broke down.
Set pieces were the way to go all afternoon at Rodney Parade and both sides were able to make one count in the first half to send the teams back to the dressing rooms level.
Salford were the side to take the lead on 40 minutes. County will be disappointed by the way it went in, Cameron Burgess rising highest at the far post to head home a free header into the middle of the goal from a corner kick.
County didn’t let their heads stay down for long, however, and they were back level in the first minute of additional time. This time it was the Exiles’ turn to make use of a corner, the ball bouncing off Nathan Pond and into the net despite the best efforts of away goalkeeper Mark Howard.
The second half was played in much the same manner, not the most attractive of spectacles but an intense territorial battle to see who could muscle the advantage in both boxes.
Salford retook the advantage after 54 minutes. Again it was a set-piece, this time a free-kick, as Lois Maynard powerfully guided Ibou Touray’s delivery on its way via the underside of the crossbar.
It was another exceptional response to falling behind from the Exiles as they looked a completely different menacing prospect after conceding, but somehow, they couldn’t find the equaliser they desired as it became one of those passages of time where the ball just wouldn’t go in no matter what they tried.
After sustained pressure, Josh Sheehan smacked a post with Howard rooted to his goal line, while Jamille Matt came mightily close with a header from a pinpoint Corey Whitely delivery.
County’s best chance to take a point came with nine minutes remaining when the referee pointed to the spot after Whitely was tripped by Richie Towell. Abrahams hit it well, but Howard got a strong foot to it to deflect it over the top.
It wasn’t to be for County then as they suffered only their second home defeat from the last 21 league matches at Rodney Parade.
Newport County AFC (3-5-2): Tom King, Mark O’Brien (C), Scot Bennett, Ryan Inniss, Robbie Willmott (Corey Whitely 71’), Matty Dolan (Tristan Abrahams 66’), Taylor Maloney (Danny Maloney 62’), Ryan Haynes, Josh Sheehan, Jamille Matt, Padraig Amond
Subs not used: Townsend, Nurse, Collins, Poleon
Salford City FC (4-4-2): Mark Howard, Ibou Touray, Cameron Burgess, Nathan Pond, Oscar Threlkeld, Richard Towell (Sam Hughes 84’), Lois Maynard, Joey Jones, Craig Conway (Piergianni 88’), Jake Jervis, Adam Rooney (Dieseruvwe 79’)
Subs not used: Armstrong, Whitehead, Evans
Referee: Will Finnie
Attendance: 3,947 (148 AWAY)
Next up for County: Grimsby Town (9th November 2019) AWAY – Emirates FA Cup First Round