Despite creating plenty of chances and controlling large portions of the game, Newport County fell to a 2-1 defeat to Salford City at the Peninsula Stadium.
Graham Coughlan made one change to last week’s team, with Ryan Delaney returning from suspension in place of the injured James Clarke.
A slippery surface made for a fast-paced first half at the Peninsula, with both teams playing some nice football in the opening ten minutes. County looked assured in the early going, with dangerous crosses from Bryn Morris and Adam Lewis causing the Salford defence problems.
The first notable chance of the game fell to Bryn Morris when some nice hold-up play from Bogle saw him find the midfielder on the edge of the box. Unfortunately, his shot was hit high over the bar.
Minutes later, Wildig had an effort go just wide following a misplaced pass from Salford’s Elliott Watt. Wildig judged the pass expertly, intercepting and striking first time, with his shot just missing the target.
It was the home team that would grab the first goal with what was their first real chance of the half. A corner found Matty Lund, with the midfielder heading home at the near-post in the 25th minute.
The Ammies came close to doubling their lead just one minute later when Elliott Watt took a shot from the outside of the box and clipped the outside post.
County responded in the 30th minute, with Bogle holding the ball up and playing it inside to Waite, who then laid off Bryn Morris to smash the ball low past the outstretched arm of Alex Cairns to pull us level and grab his first goal for the club.
We nearly took the lead three minutes later when Omar Bogle forced his way into the box, hitting a powerful shot which was narrowly put wide by the outstretched leg of Alex Cairns.
Six minutes were added at the end of the second half, with both sides creating multiple chances. Morris nearly turned provider, finding Waite, who drove a low shot that Cairns saved.
Salford would then take the lead right before the whistle when a low cross was unfortunately deflected into our net by Declan Drysdale.
The second half got off to a slow start, with neither team creating any clear-cut chances in what were difficult weather conditions.
County had the first major chance of the half. A free-kick from Wildig caused chaos in the box, and Will Evans tapped the ball into the net at the back-post only to be denied by the offside flag.
Another chance fell to County in the 65th minute, with Aaron Wildig finding Will Evans in the box only for the striker to head over the bar.
Newport continued to dominate the play for large portions of the second half, with an industrious performance from Bryn Morris and Aaron Wildig in midfield, ensuring we controlled much of the action.
Coughlan turned to his bench in the 79th minute, with Kiban Rai replacing Scot Bennett. Rai made his presence felt immediately, finding Omar Bogle in space, with the striker playing the ball across to Evans, whose final effort went just over the bar.
The best chance of the half fell to Salford’s Ryan Watson. The substitute raced through one-on-one, but his effort went wide, denying the home side a third.
County continued to push for an equaliser. A dangerous corner from Wildig in the 89th minute caused confusion in the box, leading to a volley from Nathan Wood going agonisingly close.
There was still time for one final effort, with an excellent ball from Matty Bondswell finding Kiban Rai in the box, with the striker heading the ball at Alex Cairns.
Despite the result, the 220 travelling County fans deserve a special mention, with the support remaining fantastic throughout the game in tough weather conditions. Newport County chants rang through the stadium in the closing moments, with the team’s efforts recognised by the travelling contingent. As always, thanks for your continued support, Exiles.
Newport County: Townsend, Lewis (Bondswell 39’), Delaney, Drysdale, Evans, Morris, Bogle, Waite (Wood 65’), Bennett (Rai 79’), McLoughlin, Wildig Subs: Maxted, Payne, Seberry, Rai, Thomas, Wood, Bondswell
Salford City: Cairns, Ingram (Watson 67’), John, Mariappa, Watt, Lund, Mallan, Tilt, Smith, Bolton, N’Mai Subs: Wright, Watson, Berkoe, Dackers, Pedro, Humbles, Oloprade
Attendance: 2,006 (220 away)