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Match Reports

REPORT | Exiles fall to defeat against Barrow

2 April 2021

Jamie Devitt came back to haunt his former club after his late free-kick condemned 10-man Newport County AFC to a 2-1 defeat against Barrow.

Scot Bennett's powerful effort mid-way through the first half put County, who had lost their last two outings against Port Vale and Leyton Orient prior to the international break, on course to get back to winning ways in Cumbria.

Scott Quigley then levelled for the home side 11 minutes into the second half when his shot deflected off Bennett and sailed past Nick Townsend.

It looked as though both sides were going to settle for a share of the spoils, but Devitt stepped up with a free-kick six minutes from time to send the Exiles, who saw Mickey Demetriou dismissed late on, back to south Wales empty-handed.

Michael Flynn made three changes from the Exiles' 1-0 defeat in their last outing against Leyton Orient prior to the international break. Joe Ledley was handed his first start since joining the club last month, while Padraig Amond and Ryan Taylor were also named in the starting line-up in place of Priestley Farquharson, Nicky Maynard and Jake Scrimshaw.

County enjoyed plenty of the possession in the opening stages but failed to carve out any opportunities to cause any trouble to Barrow goalkeeper Joel Dixon.

And it was former County midfielder Devitt, who spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Rodney Parade, who went closest to opening the scoring with the first effort of the afternoon. Devitt was the first to latch on to a punch from Townsend but curled a shot wide of the post.

Josh Sheehan, fresh off the back of making his second appearance for Wales in the recent international break, then nearly caught out Dixon with an ambitious effort from range. After dispossessing Scott Quigley, the midfielder tried his luck and had the Barrow goalkeeper scrambling, but the ball drifted wide of the post. 

County continued to threaten with Aaron Lewis enjoying plenty of success down the left wing, and the away side finally made their pressure count mid-way through the first half. Matt Dolan's inswinging free-kick caused chaos in the Barrow penalty area before the ball fell to Bennett, who rifled beyond the helpless Dixon with the aid of a deflection off Bobby Thomas.

The home side almost responded immediately when Thomas' long throw-in eventually found its way to Devitt, who saw his shot kept out by Townsend's knee. 

Barrow were presented with another opportunity to level before the interval after Patrick Brough intercepted a pass from Ledley and found Devitt, who sent Quigley free in the penalty area. The striker tried to adjust his body but failed to test Townsend, blazing his effort over the crossbar.

But there was little Townsend could do 11 minutes after the restart as Barrow drew level after taking advantage of a quick breakaway. Jason Taylor started the move inside the home side's half and slipped Quigley through on goal. The striker cut inside on his left foot and kept his composure before firing beyond Townsend with the help of a deflection off Bennett.

And County were almost undone for the second time when Quigley got beyond the visitors' defence and raced through one-on-one with Townsend, who made a crucial save to deny the striker from putting the hosts ahead.

Ledley was next up to try his luck for the away side as he brought another save out of Dixon after being teed up by Taylor, but the midfielder's effort was gathered by the Barrow goalkeeper.

Sheehan then embarked on a marauding run and brought a low save out of Dixon after drifting past three defenders.

It looked as though both sides were going to settle for a point until six minutes from time when Devitt stepped up and curled a right-footed free-kick in at the near post.

Demetriou was then dismissed five minutes later when he brought down Kgosi Ntlhe, which rounded off a frustrating afternoon for the away side.

Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend, Aaron Lewis, Mickey Demetriou, Matty Dolan, Scot Bennett (Jake Scrimshaw 86'), Liam Shephard, Joe Ledley (Kevin Ellison 86'), Josh Sheehan, Joss Labadie (C), Padraig Amond (Nicky Maynard 73'), Ryan Taylor (Lewis Collins 86').

Subs not used: Tom King, David Longe-King, Anthony Hartigan.


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