Newport County continued their excellent start under Graham Coughlan with a 2-0 victory over Colchester United on Saturday at Rodney Parade in the first round of the FA Cup.
Kienan O’Hara’s own goal put County ahead in fortunate fashion when the goalkeeper failed to deal with a Mickey Demetriou long-throw.
And as the clock ticked down substitute Aaron Lewis stepped off the bench to finish a brillant pasing move off smartly to see us progress to the next round.
Colchester squandered a decent opportunity early on, when Dan Chesters looked to put the dangerous Freddie Sears through on goal, but the pass was overhit.
County responded minutes later with a counter-attack in which Will Evans had fed Adam Lewis out wide, but with men in the box the cross was just too high for the lurking forwards.
After a neat bit of footwork, Nathan Moriah-Welsh played a one-two with Lewis to find space for a cross, his curled ball in was cleared well by Tom Lastman though as Omar Bogle looked to pounce.
The first real chance fell to Freddie Sears, who found space in the penalty area on 18 minutes only to hit Alan Judge’s cross wide of the near post.
Newport won a free-kick right on the edge of the left side of the penalty area straight after, following a neat bit of play between the lively James Waite and Adam Lewis, the resulting set play fell the way of Priestley Farquharson who volleyed wide.
We went so close to taking the lead in spectacular fashion on 25 minutes. It was good play again from Adam Lewis and Waite, with the latter squaring it to Cameron Norman in a central position outside the area. The right wing-back’s fierce drive was tipped just over with a fine save from Kienan O’Hara.
It was County who took the lead, however, just before the half hour mark through the own goal from O'Hara. Demetriou’s long throw in’s had been causing problems for Colchester prior to that and the defender scuffed his clearance straight into the home side’s net.
Alan Judge had a speculative effort just before half-time, he turned away in disgust though as it sailed harmlessly over.
The visitors made a bright start to the second phase, and after a bit of pinball in our penalty box, the Colchester bright spark Judge saw his header from close range held by goalkeeper Joe Day.
Defender and skipper Demetriou swung a delicious cross into Bogle not long after, with the striker bringing the ball down but just as he steadied himself was denied by a last ditch challenge.
Moments later Frank Nouble held the ball up and supplied Noah Chilvers with an opportunity to strike, the midfielder’s curled shot was powerful but just too high for the top right corner.
The hosts broke dangerously then and Waite, who was heavily involved all afternoon, found the bombarding run of Norman whose cross was cleared with Bogle ready and waiting.
James Clarke was very unfortunate not to double County’s lead on 62 minutes. The centre back won the battle for another long throw from Demetriou, and his back heeled effort was only stopped by a miraculous save to tip it onto the post.
We made sure of the win in emphatic style on 78 minutes. A lovely flowing move led to Evans turning and spraying it out to Aaron Lewis, who made it two with a composed finish into the far corner.
Bogle will be wondering how he didn't make it three five minutes from time, after Aaron Lewis again found space in a dangerous position, he decided to cross this time but Bogle couldn't hit the target with a close range header.
Matt Dolan nearly added a late third after he hit the post with the last act of proceedings, half-volleying onto the right-hand post with the 'keeper well beaten.
Newport County XI: Day (GK), Norman, Clarke, Farquharson, Demetriou (c), Adam Lewis (Aaron Lewis, 58’), Moriah-Welsh (Dolan, 89'), Bennett, Waite (Collins, 90'), Evans, Bogle.
Subs not used: Townsend (GK), Willmott, Zimba, Nevers, Bowen.
Colchester United XI: O’Hara (GK), Clampin, Chambers (c), Ashley (Tovide, 78’), Tchamadeu, Lastman, Chesters (Hannant, 51’), Chilvers, Judge (Lubala, 67’), Sears (Akinde, 67’), Nouble (Marshall-Miranda, 78’).
Subs not used: Hornby (GK), Smith, Newby, Kaleem.
Referee: Robert Madden
Asisstant referee: Simon Shaw
Assistant referee: Jack Clench
Fourth Official: Dale Wootton