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James Rowberry: "Tranmere performance up there with season's best"

28 February 2022

Newport County gaffer James Rowberry feels his side's performance in the 4-2 weekend win over Tranmere is one of the best of the club's season to date.

After a goalless first half, the second half was chocked full of action, with Newport going 2-0 up through Aaron Lewis' impressived curled strike followed by Dom Telford's second penalty in two games.

Tranmere clawed the game back to 2-2 but a wonderful Finn Azaz curler into the top right corner put County back into the lead on 87 minutes before Telford ended matters with an injury-time tap-in for 4-2.

Prior to kick-off, Tranmere had the fewest goals conceded tally in League Two, with Rowberry especially pleased that the Exiles scored four against one of, if not the, most defensively-sound side in the division.

"We should've had a few goals at half-time, I felt as though we controlled the game with and without the ball. What we've shown again is our character and our attitude to keep going and going and going. I'm delighted with the result and I'm delighted with the performance but we've got to park that now and go onto Tuesday, it's as simple as that.

"We've needed to score four goals again and conceded two relatively soft goals, but we move on from it. Our performance today will be up there with one of the better ones of the season so far.

"You look at the chances we had, it could've been more, we could've had six or seven goals. There's a reason they're third in the league, they're very solid, very robust in what they do in a difficult-to-break-down 4-4-2."

County controlled the xG metrics, scoring 3.0 to Tranmere's 0.5 over the course of the 90 minutes [Source: Experimental361].

"They haven't conceded that many goals, they're a strong team and I won't be surprised if they get automatics, they'll bounce back from that," Rowberry added.

County's goals stood out for their quality as well as their quantity, with Azaz's strike and Telford's second being particularly impressive.

"Finn's got a real chance of a great career, for him it's about staying in the moment of the game which I think he did today," Rowberry said of the Aston Villa loanee.

And of the killer fourth goal: "The way that we moved the ball, the way we passed it and counter-pressed to get them, and the way Dom finishes it, the team effort to that goal, Dom will be the first to say that's a collective goal, I'm really really pleased."

Rowberry also singled out on-loan Crystal Palace forward Rob Street who started as a replacement for the injury absentee Courtney Baker-Richardson with Street making his first start for the County while also making his first start in professional football and impressing.

"He was terrific today, his first full debut in League football. He's still got things to learn - we all have, I'm still learning, players are still learning every day. You can see in his hold-up play his sturdiness to secure the ball for us in transition."

County take on another promotion rival on Tuesday evening when table toppers Forest Green come to Rodney Parade in a re-arranged game that was postponed on Boxing Day due to COVID cases in the FGR squad.


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