Newport County put in a spirited display but eventually fell to a 2-1 defeat against Derby County in the 2nd round of the Emirates FA Cup at Rodney Parade on Sunday afternoon.
Priestley Farquharson had given the Exiles a deserved lead late in the first half by nodding home a fantastic Aaron Lewis crossed free-kick.
But Derby came out all guns blazing in the second period and equalised through Louie Silbey's curled effort from the edge of the area.
David McGoldrick secured his side's progression into the 3rd round by popping up late on to put Derby in front.
The home crowd were in fine voice and made a strong start against their League One opponents, with captain Mickey Demetriou able to hurl a couple of long throws into the box inside the first five minutes.
Cameron Norman was the next to send it into the area with a whipped cross, Will Evans was lurking at the near post but it was flicked clear by Eiran Cashin’s last-ditch header.
Scot Bennett had to be alert shortly after to keep out a high ball the back post which had Rams striker James Collins interested. Bennett did well to scoop it over the bar with his left foot on the stretch.
With 15 minutes gone Aaron Lewis went close to scoring a fantastic goal. His corner kick was cleared out to Declan Drysdale who laid him off, the left wing-back then faked to shoot before unleashing a powerful goal bound effort, which needed to be cleared by a defensive header from a visiting defender.
County were the next to try their luck following a swift counter-attack, with James Waite charging at the Derby goal, beating a few players and sending in a dangerous ball. It was just about cleared off Omar Bogle’s head before it landed to Bennett on the edge of the box, whose shot flew well wide.
Another Demetriou throw-in caused problems for the visitors’ backline later in the first half, with Norman flicking it on at the near post but unfortunately for Newport, nobody was there to tap home.
Norman went for it himself just seconds later, picking up a loose ball 30 yards out before sprinting towards to opposition goal. Sadly for him, though, his shot lacked power and was held by Joe Wildsmith.
The home side took a deserved lead on 40 minutes. It was direct from a free-kick, Aaron Lewis’ deep free-kick had pace and swerve and found Farquharson at the far-post, who directed it brilliantly into the left corner of the net.
Derby came flying out of the blocks in the second half and came close to equalising shortly after the break. Conor Hourihane’s floated cross was punched by Joe Day but he didn’t get a great amount of distance on it, however, when it fell to McGoldrick his volley sailed harmlessly over.
Just minutes later, they had two great chances to score. First, Louie Silbey crossed for Collins, who skewed an effort wide deep inside the box. Then from the next phase of play Hourihane played it to McGoldrick, whose volley was brilliantly tipped over by Day.
Silbey equalised on 54 minutes, cutting in from the right before hitting a right-footed shot that flew into the far corner.
Moments later, substitute Lewis Dobbin raced through on goal. Despite being played clean through by the dangerous McGoldrick, the pacey forward was denied by a heroic lunge from Drysdale.
Hourihane looked ready to celebrate giving his side the lead shortly after when Collins’ deflected shot fell to him on the edge of the area. His fierce shot was heading in but amazingly blocked by his own man McGoldrick, who stood offside.
County were under severe Derby pressure and when Collins raced through on goal he looked destined to release a shot. He was denied by Bennett though, who did brilliantly to race chase back and stop Collins with a last-ditch slide.
Our first big chance in the second half came when Will Evans turned Craig Forsyth, only to be denied by Wildsmith as he looked to round the Derby ‘keeper.
Black and Amber shirts flooded the Derby end of the pitch on a dangerous counter-attack minutes later but after Demetriou’s through ball found Norman, the right wing-back’s shot lacked conviction and was well held by Wildsmith.
Substitute Tom Barkhuizen sent a great header just wide of the left hand post following a lovely whipped cross from another Derby sub, Jason Knight.
With the clock ticking down McGoldrick put his side ahead. Hourihane played a clever pass to Silbey for the winger to send in a floated cross and McGoldrick did the rest with a well-taken header.
Newport County XI: Day (GK), Norman, Drysdale, Farquharson, Demetriou (c) (Nevers, 74’), Aaron Lewis, Bennett (Zimba, 90'), Moriah-Welsh, Waite (Collins, 90'), Evans, Bogle.
Subs not used: Townsend (GK), Dolan, Bright, Willmott, Lindley.
Derby County XI: Wildsmith (GK), Rooney (Dobbin, 46’) Cashin, Bird (c), Forsyth, Hourihane, Smith (Knight, 72’), Thompson (Barkhuizen, 46’), Sibley, McGoldrick, Collins (Osula, 69’).
Subs not used: Foulkes (GK), Stearman, Aghatise, Oduroh, Bardell.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Assistant referee: Grant Taylor
Assistant referee: Adrian Trantor
Fourth official: Robert Lewis