Match Report |

Newport County exit the Bristol Street Motors Trophy at the group stage following a narrow 1-0 defeat to League One Bristol Rovers

Graham Coughlan made two changes ahead of our crunch encounter with Bristol Rovers. James Waite returned to the starting XI, while Olly Thomas made his first start in black and amber. Seb Palmer-Houlden and James Clarke made a welcome return to the bench following injuries.

A slow start to the half saw few chances created in the opening ten. Rovers were the first to make a first breakthrough, with a through ball finding John Marquis, only for the striker to be dispossessed by Shane McLoughlin before he could level his shot at  Townsend.

Newport would continue to have some nice spells in possession, with Payne and Bondswell hitting teasing crosses in from both wings and keeping Bristol keeper Jed Ward on his toes. Unfortunately, none of these could be converted into clear goal opportunities.

Bristol Rovers kicked things up a gear and gave us a scare in the 21st minute. Luke Thomas picked the ball up on the edge of the area, curling a strike off the post past an outstretched Townsend.

The visitors continued to push, and their efforts were rewarded in the 37th minute. A short corner was played to Luke Thomas on the edge of the box; he then played a ball in behind the defence to Anthony Evans, who struck the ball into the top corner from a tight angle.

We went in search of an instant response, with Will Evans playing a ball through to Olly Thomas in the area. The striker played the ball across the box in search of an amber player shirt, but Rovers defender Harvey Vale cleared it.

The Gas nearly doubled their lead in the 40th minute. Aaron Collins picked up the ball outside the area, rattling the bar from 20 yards.

Nick Townsend was called upon just before half-time. A long ball from Josh Grant reached John Marquis running behind the backline, but the striker couldn’t find a way past an advancing Townsend.


Graham Coughlan made his first change of the evening at the start of the second half, bringing Omar Bogle on for Olly Thomas.

Rovers created the first chance of the half. Anthony Evans was brought down on the edge of the box, with the midfielder firing the resulting free-kick over the bar. 

Rodney Parade was on its feet in the 66th minute when it gave Seb Palmer-Houlden and James Clarke a warm welcome as they both returned from injury. They replaced Nathan Wood and James Waite, respectively. 

The visitors also went to their bench, bringing on Scott Sinclair and Chris Martin. The experienced duo nearly made their presence felt instantly. Luke Thomas played Martin into the box, and the striker passed the ball across to Sinclar, who was denied at point-blank range by a fantastic save from Townsend. 

We continued in search of an equaliser, with a dangerous ball into the box from Will Evans missing the head of Bryn Morris by a whisker, denying us a certain goal in the 78th minute. Back-to-back corners caused problems in the Rovers box, but a stubborn Bristol defence denied us a clear opportunity. 

With five minutes left on the clock, Bristol Rovers picked out Scott Sinclair on the edge of the box, but the striker was unable to keep his shot down, firing well over the bar.

Newport upped the pressure on the Rovers' backline in the final minutes, with Omar Bogle having a close-range shot deflected wide by James Gibbons. This would prove to be the last notable moment of the game, with the full-time whistle confirming our exit from the trophy. 



Newport County: Townsend, Payne, Delaney (C), Evans, Morris, Bennett, Waite (Clarke 66'), McLoughlin, Thomas (Bogle 45’), Wood (Palmer-Houlden 66'), Bondswell.

Substitutes: Maxted, Clarke, Bogle, Palmer-Houlden, Young, Sanca.

Bristol Rovers: Ward, Grant, Wilson, Finley (C), Marquis (Martin 66'), Collins (Sinclair 66'), Thomas, Vale (Crama 75'), Brown, Evans (Woods 75'), Gibbons.

Substitutes: Hall, Gordon, Sinclair, Woods, Martin, Crama, Shaw

Attendance: 1,346 (293 away)