From the Archive | Getting Out of the Drop Zone

This Tuesday night, we welcome Accrington Stanley to Rodney Parade in Sky Bet League Two.

John Doolan’s side have been regular sparring partners over the last decade, and for this week’s From the Archive, we are taking a look back at a crucial victory over them from April 2017. 

Newport C v Accrington

The 2016/17 season is one of the most iconic in Newport’s history. When Michael Flynn took the reigns from Graham Westley in March, the situation was looking dire. We were staring a return to the National League in the face, being 11 points from safety with just 12 games to play. 

Flynn wasted no time in steering us towards safety, registering back-to-back wins in his opening three games. Losses to Portsmouth and Blackpool had some fans worried about a new managerial bounce, but that was quickly put to bed with four consecutive wins which had fans dreaming of the impossible. 

A 6-1 demolition at the hands of Plymouth Argyle brought us crashing back down to earth, but with three games to play, and two of them at home, there was plenty of belief that survival was possible. 

Accrington arrived at Rodney Parade on April 22nd in fine form. A slow start meant that they had not been able to sustain a legitimate playoff push, but they were unbeaten in 15 games when they came to South Wales. 

The visitors were quick to demonstrate the kind of quality that had led to this run. Jordan Clark, now of Luton Town in the Premier League, fired a vicious effort from range in the early going, forcing an excellent save out of Joe Day. 

Veteran striker Billy Kee would also test Day, hitting a delightful half-volley from outside the area that the keeper pushed around the post. 

After the game went in level at half-time, we would break the deadlock 15 minutes into the second half with as scrappy a goal as you are likely to see at Rodney Parade. 

Mark Randall found space in the box, forcing a save out of Marek Rodak. The ball would then ricochet into the goal mouth, with Ryan Bird rising above the Accrington defence to head it home from a yard-out. 

We would hold strong, with the final whistle seeing us move out of the relegation zone for the first time since a one-week reprieve in November.