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REPORT | Exiles extend lead at Sky Bet League Two summit with victory over Grimsby Town

8 December 2020

Scott Twine's free-kick and a penalty from Padraig Amond saw Newport County AFC extend their lead at the Sky Bet League Two summit with a 2-0 victory over Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.

Twine fired County ahead with the help of a deflection mid-way through the first half when his effort left Grimsby goalkeeper Sam Russell wrong-footed.

The Swindon Town loanee continued his impressive form by winning the Exiles a penalty on the stroke of half-time, which allowed Amond to haunt his former side for a fifth time as he converted from the spot to stretch the Exiles' unbeaten run to six matches. 

Michael Flynn made three changes from the Exiles' 2-1 win over Morecambe on Saturday, with Robbie Willmott, Joss Labadie and Kevin Ellison brought in for Matty Dolan, Scot Bennett and Tristan Abrahams respectively.

County went close to making a dream start with less than two minutes on the clock when Labadie, who missed Saturday's clash through suspension, nodded Willmott's free-kick against the far post, with Sam Russell left helpless in between the sticks.

But the home side responded to the early scare by creating an opportunity of their own after Elliott Hewitt slipped in Montel Gibson, but the striker fired his shot wide of the near post.

The chance proved to be the home side's best chance of the first half as the Exiles continued to threaten down the opposite end. Willmott and Liam Shephard were enjoying themselves down the right flank and their link-up play nearly led to the opening goal, but Twine was unable to divert the latter's cutback on target.  

The Exiles had enjoyed the better of the opportunities and took advantage of their dominance mid-way through the first half in fortunate fashion. After Ryan Haynes was hacked down by Luke Hendrie, Twine stepped up to take the free-kick and saw his effort deflect off the wall before finding its way into the opposite corner, leaving Russell helpless once again.

County were good value for their lead and Twine continued to cause the home defence problems, with Russell again brought into action following another free-kick from the midfielder.

Flynn's men would have been disappointed to head into the interval being only a goal in front given their first-half performance, but they doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time. Willmott, who put in an impressive display on the right wing, combined with Twine before the latter was brought down inside the penalty area by Rose. The referee Anthony Backhouse didn't hesitate in pointing to the penalty spot, which allowed Amond to fire home his eighth goal of the campaign.

Owen Windsor, who was introduced at the break, almost halved the deficit for the home side five minutes into the second half when he fired a free-kick over the wall, only to see the ball cannon back off the crossbar before Townsend gathered.

It proved to be the home side's best opportunity to get back into the game, while Amond and Josh Sheehan could have added to County's lead down the opposite end in the final stages.

Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend, Ryan Haynes (Matty Dolan 45'), Mickey Demetriou, Brandon Cooper, Liam Shephard, Josh Sheehan, Joss Labadie (C) (Scot Bennett 67'), Kevin Ellison (Tristan Abrahams 67'), Robbie Willmott, Scott Twine, Padraig Amond (Jamie Devitt 84').

Subs not used: Tom King, David Longe-King, Jamie Proctor.


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