Stevenage h

Newport County AFC had to make do with a point in Sky Bet League Two as they were held to a goalless draw by Stevenage at Rodney Parade.

The Exiles were looking to build on their midweek victory at Walsall but chances were at a premium, for both sides, as they struggled to carve out clear-cut chances.

Nicky Maynard claimed County’s only shot on target while an organised backline also kept Stevenage at bay, although Nick Townsend was needed to deny Elliot List when he broke through.

The draw ensured County kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since October.

Michael Flynn kept faith with the majority of the team that earned victory at Walsall ion Wednesday with Anthony Hartigan replacing goalscorer Joss Labadie, who was unavailable, in the only change.

The Exiles were bright on the ball and were always looking for that forward pass but the final ball seemed to elude them, whether a wayward pass or a blocked cross. Dom Telford opted to go for goal from the edge of the box rather than try and find another pass and his curling effort was deflected narrowly over the crossbar.

Danny Newton had tested Townsend minutes earlier when he wrestled the ball from Priestley Farquharson but his snapshot lacked the power to trouble the goalkeeper.

Chances were hard to come by but Joe Martin was the next to have a sight of goal for the visitors when Chris Lines picked him out with a brilliant delivery but his header sailed over the bar.

At the other end, Telford looked hungry for a goal and he had another chance to open the scoring when he rose highest to meet Ryan Haynes’ cross, following a quick corner, but he couldn’t direct his header on target.

Townsend came to the hosts’ rescue at the start of the second half as List showed great strength to create a one-on-one with the shot-stopper but the 26-year-old came out on top with a brilliant save from close range.

County responded well and notched their first shot on target on 52 minutes but Maynard’s shot was straight down the throat of visiting stopper Jamie Cumming.

Padraig Amond and Jake Scrimshaw entered the action shortly after the hour mark to give the County attack a refresh and it almost paid off instantly. A throw-in from the right fell invitingly for Josh Sheehan but Stevenage captain Scott Cuthbert threw his body in the way of the Wales international’s effort.

The hosts found their rhythm in attack in the final quarter of the game and piled the pressure on Stevenage’s goal. Ryan Taylor then replaced Hartigan as County sensed an opportunity and only a fingertip save from Cumming denied County as he knocked Dolan’s ambitious effort onto the post.

Kevin Ellison and Luke Gambin came on for the final few minutes but were unable to swing the match in County’s favour.


Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend; Priestley Farquharson, Matty Dolan (Luke Gambin 87), Mickey Demetriou; Liam Shephard, Scot Bennett, Anthony Hartigan (Ryan Taylor 73), Ryan Haynes (Kevin Ellison 87); Josh Sheehan (C); Nicky Maynard (Padraig Amond 65), Dom Telford (Jake Scrimshaw 65).

Subs not used: Tom King, Aaron Lewis.