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REPORT | Exiles strengthen grip on play-off place with victory over Scunthorpe United

27 April 2021

Newport County AFC tightened their grip on a Sky Bet League Two play-off place with a 4-0 win over struggling Scunthorpe United.

Scunthorpe defender George Taft nodded beyond his own goalkeeper to give the Exiles the breakthrough inside the 28th minute after County dominated throughout the first half.

Mickey Demetriou then doubled the home side’s advantage with a header five minutes later before Lewis Collins pounced on a goalkeeping calamity and notched up his first league goal for the Exiles, who had all but secured the victory at the half-time interval.

County added a fourth with five minutes remaining as Demetriou scored his second after diverting another header past Scunthorpe goalkeeper Mark Howard to round off a convincing victory for Michael Flynn's side.

The Exiles boss named an unchanged line-up for the third successive game after impressive displays against Crawley Town and play-off rivals Exeter City.

Scunthorpe had suffered four successive defeats prior to their trip to south Wales and found themselves under pressure again in the opening exchanges.

A well-worked set-piece straight off the training ground from the Exiles saw them go close to breaking the deadlock inside the early stages when Padraig Amond flicked Josh Sheehan’s corner into the path of Mickey Demetriou. The defender connected with the ball on the edge of the area but saw his first-time effort fly marginally over the crossbar.

County enjoyed plenty of the possession but struggled to find an opening to cause any real trouble to Scunthorpe goalkeeper Howard until just before the half-hour mark. After Labadie and Amond both combined in the penalty area, the latter saw his cross nodded into the net by defender Taft.

The Exiles had got the goal that they deserved for their dominant opening but didn’t rest on their laurels and doubled their advantage five minutes after the restart. Sheehan’s pin-point corner found Demetriou, who got away from his marker Jacob Bedeau at the front post, and planted his header into the opposite corner past Howard.

A blunder from Howard then gifted the Exiles their third of the evening when he dropped Aaron Lewis’ long throw-in after being pressurised by Scot Bennett. The ball fell kindly to Collins - who had only previously scored in the EFL Trophy - and he made no mistake in stroking the ball into an empty net for his first league goal.

Collins then turned provider and set up an opportunity to add a fourth on the stroke of half-time when he set up Labadie, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked by Emmanuel Onariase.

Tom King had little to do as the Exiles staged a faultless first-half performance but he was finally called upon on the hour-mark with a routine save. Alfie Beestin's cross picked out Ryan Loft, whose header was gathered by the County goalkeeper.

King set a Guinness World Record for his goal against Cheltenham Town earlier in the campaign and almost added an assist to his record for the campaign with 12 minutes remaining. Substitute Nicky Maynard got on the end of his long ball down field and dinked the ball over the onrushing Howard, but the ball bounced onto the crossbar and went behind for a goal-kick.

But Demetriou added the gloss with five minutes remaining when he nodded home his second from Dolan's free-kick. 

Newport County AFC: Tom King, Ryan Haynes (Kevin Ellison 72'), Mickey Demetriou, Scot Bennett, Liam Shephard, Aaron Lewis, Anthony Hartigan, Josh Sheehan (Matty Dolan 72'), Joss Labadie (C) (Luke Gambin 72'), Lewis Collins (Dom Telford 83'), Padraig Amond (Nicky Maynard 63').

Subs not used: Nick Townsend, Joe Ledley.


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