In our latest series of articles, we will be taking a look back at the 2019-2020 season in more detail as we look at each match and review our season month by month.
The hectic festive period took hold in December and it didn’t prove very fruitful for Newport County AFC in the league.
Progression in the Leasing.com Trophy got things off to a fine start but a tough month ensued. Injuries ravaged the squad, although Mickey Demetriou returned following a 14-week absence, and that left Michael Flynn with plenty of problems with players forced to operate in different roles.
Goals were also at a premium as the Exiles started to lose ground on the play-offs.
Brighton & Hove Albion U21 0-0 Newport County AFC – Newport County AFC win 5-4 on penalties – Amex Stadium (December 3, 2019)
County kept their nerve from the spot to advance to the third round of the Leasing.Com Trophy – the furthest they have reached in the competition since its revamp in 2016.
Despite creating numerous chances, the Exiles weren’t clinical in normal time but a perfect record in the shoot-out saw them through.
Tristan Abrahams, Ryan Haynes, Jamille Matt, Taylor Maloney and George Nurse all found the net from the spot.
Team: King; McNamara, Woodiwiss, Dolan (C) (Haynes 84), Nurse; Jefferies, Whitely (Abrahams 75), Maloney, Collins; Poleon (Evans 84), Matt.
Bradford City 1-0 Newport County – Utilita Energy Stadium (December 7, 2019)
After the high of winning a penalty shoot-out, County were on the wrong end of a spot-kick as James Vaughan condemned County to defeat in the league.
Injuries meant Michael Flynn had to field players in unfamiliar positions and they held their own in West Yorkshire with the penalty proving to be the difference on the day.
Team: Townsend; O’Brien (C), Inniss, Haynes; McNamara (Poleon 76), Dolan (Collins 86), Sheehan, Nurse; Maloney; Amond (Matt 65), Abrahams.
Newport County AFC 1-1 Stevenage – Rodney Parade (December 14, 2019)
Jamille Matt proved to be the hero as his late header rescued a point for County.
Emmanuel Sonupe had looked to be the match winner with a calm finish on 12 minutes but George Nurse’s perfect delivery in the final minutes allowed Matt to power home from close range.
The game also saw the return of Mickey Demetriou after a four-month lay-off.
Team: Townsend; McNamara (Collins 79), O’Brien (C) (Bennett 45), Demetriou, Haynes; Dolan (Abrahams 45); Maloney, Nurse; Sheehan; Amond, Matt.
Morecambe 2-1 Newport County AFC – Globe Arena (December 21, 2019)
This was a real game of two halves.
County took control in the first 45 minutes with Matt twice going close before Joss Labadie broke the deadlock on 15 minutes.
The Shrimps upped the ante after the break forcing Nick Townsend into numerous saves before Cole Stockton found the bottom corner.
Kevin Ellison, a County nemesis, finished off a fine team move to play in John O’Sullivan for the winner.
Team: Townsend; McNamara, O’Brien (Inniss 71), Demetriou, Haynes; Sheehan; Maloney (Bennett 67), Labadie (C), Nurse (Abrahams 71); Amond, Matt.
Exeter City 1-0 Newport County AFC – St James Park (December 26, 2019)
The Exiles endured a Christmas hangover as they slipped to a narrow defeat to promotion-chasing Exeter.
Lee Martin’s opportunist strike after a block from Scot Bennett was all that separated the two sides on Boxing Day.
The bad weather conditions prevented either side playing free-flowing football and County weren’t able to find the equaliser.
Team: Townsend; Inniss, Bennett, Demetriou; McNamara (Collins 78), Maloney (Nurse 45), Labadie (C), Haynes; Sheehan; Amond (Abrahams 45), Matt.
Newport County AFC 1-1 Leyton Orient – Rodney Parade (December 29, 2019)
Padraig Amond moved into double figures with his late equaliser salvaging a point for the Exiles against Orient, who took the lead in under a minute through Ruel Sotiriou.
The hosts grew into the game and had several opportunities to level proceedings before Amond finally took a chance with nine minutes to go.
That set-up a grandstand finish but a second eluded the amber army.
Team: King; McNamara, Inniss (Poleon 79), Demetriou, Haynes (Amond 64); Bennett, Labadie (C), Nurse; Sheehan; Abrahams, Matt.
Top scorers in December:
Jamille Matt, Joss Labadie & Padraig Amond – 1 goal
Join us in our next article as we move onto January!
Article Series by Jay Bayford and Dylan Scarborough