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Match Reports

REPORT | 10-man Exiles fall to defeat against Harrogate Town

30 January 2021

Goals from Josh March and Aaron Martin condemned 10-man Newport County AFC to a 2-1 defeat against Harrogate Town at the EnviroVent Stadium.

County, who were without a win in seven league fixtures prior to their trip to north Yorkshire, looked on course to bring their winless run to an end when the ball deflected off Jake Scrimshaw to put the visitors in front in the first half.

But Michael Flynn's men were undone before the break when March finished off a route one move by rifling beyond Nick Townsend.

Martin then nodded home from close range just after the hour-mark to condemn the Exiles, who saw Liam Shephard sent off seven minutes later, to back-to-back defeats.

Flynn made two changes from County's 4-2 defeat against Oldham Athletic last time out, as Townsend and debutant Anthony Hartigan were both brought into the starting line-up in place of Tom King and the suspended Joss Labadie respectively.

Dom Telford, who joined the Exiles on a permanent deal from Plymouth Argyle earlier in the week, also took his place among the substitutes.

The home side enjoyed the first opportunity to test Townsend after Ryan Haynes brought down Simon Power on the edge of the area, but Ed Francis' effort from a threatening position failed to hit the target.

County, however, made the most of their first effort on target of the afternoon. After Matty Dolan's corner fell to Gambin on the edge of the area, the midfielder's effort took a wicked deflection off Scrimshaw, which diverted the ball past the helpless Harrogate goalkeeper James Belford. The AFC Bournemouth on-loan striker didn't know much about it but he got the last touch to put Flynn's men in front.

The home side looked for an immediate response to the goal and should've drawn level six minutes after the restart when March sent his namesake McPake one-on-one with Townsend. The midfielder's first touch let him down but he was still able to unleash a low effort at goal, which the Exiles goalkeeper, after getting down low, gathered with a smart save.

But Harrogate managed to find the equaliser with 11 minutes remaining of the first half, leaving County frustrated in the manner in which they conceded the goal. It was a classic route one effort from the home side after Belford's free-kick was nodded on by Martin into the path of March, who dispatched his effort beyond Townsend.

Simon Weaver's side were adamant they should have had the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot just before the half-time interval as Power went tumbling in the area. But referee Christopher Pollard wasn't interested in pointing to the spot and waved away the home side's protests.

Harrogate kept knocking on the door after the break and the visitors had Townsend to thank once again for keeping the scoreline level, with the goalkeeper producing another strong save to prevent George Thompson's strike from finding the top corner.

The save kept County in the tie but the hosts had the ball in the back of the net for the second time as Martin's bullet header put them in front midway through the second half.

And County were dealt another with 17 minutes left on the clock when Shephard was given a straight red card by the referee after attempting to get to a loose ball.

Flynn threw on Padraig Amond and Lewis Collins as County went in search of a late equaliser, which they nearly got when Ryan Taylor flicked the ball towards goal, only for Jake Lawlor to hook the ball to safety as the hosts held firm to secure the victory.

Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend, Ryan Haynes, Mickey Demetriou, Matty Dolan (Robbie Willmott 62'), David Longe-King, Liam Shephard, Scot Bennett (C), Anthony Hartigan (Lewis Collins 88'), Luke Gambin (Padraig Amond 76'), Jake Scrimshaw (Dom Telford 62'), Ryan Taylor.

Subs not used: Tom King, Ashley Baker, Jack Evans.


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