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REPORT | Exiles secure back-to-back Sky Bet League Two wins with victory against Bolton Wanderers

26 September 2020

Tristan Abrahams struck twice to ensure Newport County AFC secured back-to-back Sky Bet League Two victories with a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.

The striker, who bagged both goals in the second-half to secure his second brace of the campaign, took his tally for the season to five at the University of Bolton Stadium.

County created a plethora of chances in the opening 45 minutes as Liam Shephard and Brandon Cooper both went close, and could have been out of sight at the half-time interval.

But the Exiles remained patient and Abrahams fired home twice in the second-half to earn County their fifth win of the season.

Michael Flynn made two changes from the Exiles' Carabao Cup win against Sky Bet Championship side Watford on Tuesday. Scott Twine and Ryan Taylor were both brought into the starting line-up in place of Scot Bennett and Padraig Amond respectively.

County showed their attacking intent in the early stages and carved open their first opportunity, which started at the heart of the Exiles' defence, with three minutes on the clock. After Joss Labadie, Ryan Haynes and Abrahams all combined, the latter found space in the Bolton penalty area before firing his low effort past Billy Crelin's far post.

The Exiles continued to pile pressure on the home side's goal and created two chances within the space of a minute. First, Swindon Town loanee Twine brought a fine save out of Crelin following a neat piece of build-up play from the Exiles inside the penalty area. Twine took the corner that followed and found an unmarked Shephard, who timed his run well before striking his effort against the upright.

Flynn would have been impressed with what he saw from the visitors in the opening 25 minutes, and should have seen his side take the lead following another corner. The Exiles, who were afforded too much time and space inside the penalty area throughout the first half, saw Cooper nod over the crossbar from five yards with County's best chance of the opening 45 minutes.

Nick Townsend, meanwhile, enjoyed a relatively quiet first-half between the sticks, but was called into action on two occasions in the latter stages. The shot-stopper had to be alert to palm Alister Crawford's free-kick away from the danger zone before pulling off another fine save to keep out Nathan Delfouneso, who enjoyed the hosts' best opportunity of the half on the stroke of half-time.

County continued to create chances and finally got the lead that they merited within nine minutes of the restart. After Labadie, in fortunate fashion, saw his first strike fall kindly back to him, the Exiles skipper tried his luck again and forced Crellin into making a save. But the Bolton goalkeeper was unable to hold the powerful effort, allowing Abrahams to follow in and guide the rebound home.

The hosts thought they had drawn level within minutes of the restart when Delfouneso divered Liam Gordon's low cross past Townsend. The former Aston Villa striker, however, saw the celebrations cut short after the referee Christopher Sarginson adjudged that the ball had hit the forward's hand before finding the back of the net.

And after thinking that they had found the equaliser, the home side found themselves two goals behind when County turned defence into attack and raced down the opposite end. After Haynes got the better of Gethin Jones on the flank, the defender's shot was spilled into the path of Abrahams, who made no mistake in firing in his second of the afternoon.

The Exiles nearly added a third in the final stages when the goalscorer Abrahams and Sheehan combined, and the latter saw his effort saved by Crellin before the home defence cleared.

County return to action on Wednesday evening when they host Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup fourth round.


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