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Match Reports

REPORT | Exiles maintain unbeaten home record against Walsall

24 November 2020

Newport County AFC maintained their unbeaten home league record this season after coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Walsall.

Elijah Adebayo put the visitors in control at Rodney Parade after striking a low effort past Nick Townsend.

But Scott Twine struck back almost immediately for the Exiles courtesy of a howler from Townsend's opposite number Liam Roberts, who fumbled a long-range drive into the net. 

Manager Michael Flynn made two changes for this encounter after bringing in Joss Labadie and Padraig Amond for Jamie Devitt and Tristan Abrahams respectively. The Exiles boss also opted to deploy a 3-4-1-2 formation once again.

Chances were hard to come by for both teams during the early exchanges, ensuring the game was well poised as both sides looked evenly matched.

The Saddlers took the lead when Adebayo split the defence and burst onto a ball from the right-hand side before striking his effort into the bottom-left corner.

That advantage, however, was short-lived thanks to a long-range strike from Twine just a minute later. Twine hit a speculative effort from 35 yards that dipped on Walsall keeper Roberts, who failed to read the trajectory of the ball and fumbled into his net.

Fortunately for the Exiles, Matty Dolan’s duo of miss-controlled touches were left unpunished. The first of which gifted Emmanuel Osadebe a chance to take Townsend on in a one-on-one, but he failed to make it count as he fired past the post.

Minutes later Saddlers forward Liam Kinsella picked Dolan's pocket and advanced on goal, but Brandon Cooper came to the rescue for the hosts to deflect his shot wide and keep the scores level.

It was the away team who had enjoyed the more clean-cut opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, but that changed after the interval as the Exiles responded.

County regularly troubled their opponents down the right hand, as Shephard and substitue Robbie Willmott, who replaced the former, were a thorn in the side of the Midlands outfit with their threatening crosses ever-present in the second half.

Goal-scorer Twine was found free in the attacking area twice by crosses from the aforementioned Shephard and Willmott.

First, Shephard cut the ball back to Twine, who was free on the penalty spot, but he couldn't capitalise and scuffed his shot.

The second opportunity the midfielder received came from a pin-point delivery from Wilmott. The Swindon Town loanee looked like he had the goal at his mercy, but he failed to direct his header on target 

The Exiles pushed for a late goal and Twine was involved yet again after he was brought down on the edge of the box in the closing minutes. Dolan stepped up to take the free-kick and almost outsmarted the Walsall defence by driving his shot low, but a trailing foot deflected the shot narrowly passed the post and denied the league leaders a late winner.

Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend, Ryan Haynes (Jamie Devitt 77’), Mickey Demetriou, Matty Dolan, Brandon Cooper, Liam Shephard (Robbie Willmott 77’), Joss Labadie (C), Josh Sheehan, Scott Twine, Jamie Proctor (Tristan Abrahams 64’), Padraig Amond (Kevin Ellison 84’).

Subs not used: Tom King, Scot Bennett, Saikou Janneh.


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