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REPORT | Tristan Abrahams' penalty seals Exiles first away victory against Stevenage

20 October 2020

Tristan Abrahams' first-half penalty proved to be enough as Newport County AFC secured an away victory against Stevenage for the first time.

Abrahams fired home his seventh goal of the season after Liam Shephard was brought down in the area to ensure the Exiles, who had drawn once and lost four of their previous visits, picked up maximum points at the Lamex Stadium.

The victory also keeps County in second place in the Sky Bet League Two table, with only goal difference separating Michael Flynn's men and Cambridge United at the top.

Flynn named an unchaged starting line-up from the Exiles' 1-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers on Saturday as County lined up in their accustomed 3-4-1-2 formation. Jamie Proctor, who joined the Exiles on loan on deadline day, was also named on the bench for the first time.

It was the home side who started on the front foot and County survived an early scare after just two minutes when Jack Aitchison and Danny Newton combined before the latter fired a shot against the crossbar.

But the Exiles managed to weather the early Stevenage pressure and Newton’s effort was the wake-up call that they perhaps needed. It sparked a positive response from Flynn’s men as they managed to forge an attack of their own, which resulted in the opening goal.

After Shephard surged into the Stevenage area, the Exiles defender was brought down under a challenge from Ben Coker and referee Lee Swabey pointed to the spot. Abrahams stepped up to take the penalty before firing past Jamie Cumming after sending the Stevenage goalkeeper the opposite way.

Abrahams, looking lively after his opener, could have added his eighth of the season seven minutes later when he raced through on goal and brought a save out of Cumming with a low strike on target.

The home side responded by creating chances of their own as they looked to find the equaliser. Midfield duo Romain Vincelot and Elliot Osborne enjoyed opportunities to draw the home side level, but both swept their efforts over the crossbar, ensuring Nick Townsend had little to do throughout the first half.

But the Exiles shot-stopper had to be alert within minutes of the restart when Stevenage, again starting the half in a positive manner, worked the ball into the path of Aitchison inside the penalty area. Aramide Oteh combined with Barnsley loanee Aitchinson before the latter forced Townsend into making a low save and the Exiles were able to clear.

Brandon Cooper, menawhile, enjoyed a great chance to wrap up the points with 20 minutes left on the clock but he nodded a free header wide of the target following Matty Dolan's corner. But County put in a resolute defensive display to ensure they claimed their fifth league victory of the campaign. 

Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend, Ryan Haynes, Mickey Demetriou, Matty Dolan, Brandon Cooper, Liam Shephard, Joss Labadie (C), Josh Sheehan, Scott Twine (Scot Bennett 68'), Saikou Janneh (Robbie Willmott 84'), Tristan Abrahams (Padraig Amond 64').

Subs not used: Tom King, Ashley Baker, Kevin Ellison, Jamie Proctor.


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