This Saturday afternoon, League Two table-toppers Stockport County visit Rodney Parade in what promises to be a real test. The Hatters are on a 12-game winning run and are looking to secure a second promotion in three seasons. For this week’s From the Archive, we are rolling back the years to a time when we were chasing promotion from the fourth division, destroying Saturday’s visitors 5-0 at Edgeley Park in the 1979/80 season.
The 1979/80 season is one of the greatest in Newport history. A memorable 4-2 victory away at Walsall saw us seal promotion on the campaign's final day, but that was not the only exciting away performance we delivered that season.
On November 17th, nearly 44 years to the date from this weekend’s fixture, we made the trip to Greater Manchester to take on Stockport County at Edgeley Park.
We came into the encounter on fine form, having only lost one of our last eight fixtures. Our previous two games had both taken place at Somerton Park, a thrilling 4-3 win over Portsmouth, a team that would also end up promoted at the end of the season, and a 1-1 draw with Crewe.
Len Ashurst’s men had been slowly climbing up the table, and after nineteen games, we found ourselves in sixth place, two places away from the promotion spots. Stockport, on the other hand, were occupying mid-table, a position they had held for the previous several seasons. While confidence was high, no one was expecting events to unfold the way they did on that cold November afternoon.
We had only registered one win in our previous ten encounters with The Hatters, but we put that record to bed in style. Captain Keith Oakes and loanee Dave Bruton were on the scoresheet, but it was star-striker John Aldridge who stole the day. He came into the game on fire, having hit six goals in his previous seven days, and he improved his season count by three by bagging his first hat trick for the club. The result saw us climb up to fifth in the league.
We would go on to beat Stockport County 3-1 later in the season at Somerton Park in what would go on to be one of the most successful seasons in our history. Here’s hoping we channel the spirit of that 79/80 squad at Rodney Parade this Saturday afternoon.