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Match Reports

REPORT | Exiles suffer first Sky Bet League Two defeat against Cambridge United

10 October 2020

Newport County AFC's unbeaten start to the Sky Bet League Two season came to an end after a 2-1 defeat against Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium.

County, who were in search of their fourth successive league win following victories against Barrow, Bolton Wanderers and Mansfield Town, fell behind when Paul Mullin broke the dead-lock seven minutes before half-time.

The striker netted his second of the afternoon just after the hour-mark before Scott Twine's stunning effort gave the Exiles hope, but it failed to set up a late comeback.

Michael Flynn made two changes from the Exiles' 2-1 win over Mansfield Town last weekend, as Brandon Cooper, who missed the trip to the Abbey Stadium after being called up to the Wales Under-21 side, and Ryan Taylor were replaced by Scot Bennett and Padraig Amond respectively.

The Exiles enjoyed their best opportunity of the first-half mid-way through the opening when Liam Shephard and Josh Sheehan combined on the right wing. The latter managed to get past his marker and reach the byline before his ball across goal eventually fell to Labadie, whose first-time effort flew over the crossbar.

But the home side, who had failed to score in their previous two league outings, raced down the opposite end and thought they had broken the dead-lock through Harry Darling, who flicked Luke Hannant's free-kick over Nick Townsend. The celebrations, however, were cut short after the linesman raised his flag for offside and the goal was chalked off.

The home side continued to press for the opening goal and almost found the breakthrough when Mullin and Wes Hoolahan both combined in the penalty area. Mullin was the man who unleashed the effort at goal but Townsend was there to deny him with a strong save from close range.

Hoolahan, a former Premier League midfielder with Norwich City, was proving to be a menace for the Exiles defence and was at the heart of the move that led to the opening goal. After racing into the penalty area, Hoolahan picked out the run of Mullin, who fired home past the helpless Townsend from five yards.

And Mullin combined with Hoolahan in the penalty area again just after the hour-mark before adding his second of the afternoon with a finish from a tight angle.

Flynn sent on Saikou Janneh on in place of Bennett as County looked for a route back into the game, and they managed to halve the deficit six minutes after conceding the second through a rocket from Twine. The Swindon Town loanee, who scored against the U's in the Carabao Cup second round last month, managed to find a pocket of space and fired the ball off the underside of the crossbar from 30 yards.

The goal changed the complexion of the game and gave County a new lease of life in the final stages, but they were unable to steal a late point.

 


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