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Match Report | Newport Come Back to Win Against Swindon Town

3 February 2024

Club News

Match Report | Newport Come Back to Win Against Swindon Town

3 February 2024

A determined performance at Rodney Parade saw Newport County come back from 1-0 down to defeat Swindon Town 2-1 thanks to goals from Will Evans and Seb Palmer Houlden.

A hectic opening to the second half saw Swindon take the lead through Paul Glatzel before Will Evans pulled us level minutes later. A composed finish from Seb Palmer-Houlden would be the difference maker, with the striker slotting home in the 74th minute to extend our unbeaten league run to six. 

Manager Graham Coughlan made one change to the team that lost to Manchester United last weekend, with Matt Baker coming in ahead of Harry Charsley. January signing Luke Jephcott started on the bench, while Offrande Zanzala was named on the bench for the second consecutive match as he continues his return from injury. 

The visitors also give fans a glimpse of new players, with deadline day signings Harry McKirdy, Sean McGurk, and Aaron Drinan all starting on the bench. 

The match got off to a lively start, with a dangerous ball from Adam Lewis causing chaos inside the Swindon box in the opening two minutes. Will Evans failed to make a meaningful connection with the initial ball, but it fell to Aaron Wildig, whose shot was blocked by Frazer Blake-Tracey.

The opening five minutes kept up that tempo, with Swindon rattling the woodwork at the four-minute mark. Shane McLoughlin received a booking for bringing down Williams Kokolo, with the resulting free-kick routine seeing Dawson Devey hit the inside post. The Newport defence was quick to react, clearing the ball before Swindon could follow up.

The Robins would have another chance two minutes later. Paul Glatzel has an initial shot blocked by James Clarke, before firing another effort from outside the box that Townsend comfortably saved.

After this, the match slowed down significantly, with much of the action taking place in the middle of the park. Aaron Wildig and Bryn Morris put in tough-tackling displays fitting of the occasion, while Conor McCarthy held strong at the back for the visitors, blocking several dangerous through balls to Seb Palmer-Houlden.

Swindon would create another chance at 28 minutes. Udoka Godwin-Malife hit a high ball back across the area, only for Jake Cain to fire a half-volley high into the Swindon end behind the goal. Two minutes later, Paul Glatzel would find space down the right, pulling the ball back for Dawson Devoy, who failed to keep his effort down.

The best chance of the half fell to Seb Palmer-Houlden in the 34th minute. The striker fired a dangerous half-volley from just outside the six-yard box, forcing a brilliant save from Jack Bycroft. The Swindon defence reacted quickly to clear the danger, with both Evans and Palmer-Houlden waiting to pounce on the follow-up.

In the 37th minute, Swindon caused more problems down the right, with Devoy breaking free before playing it back inside to Rushian Hepburn-Murphy in the box, who fired it high over the bar.  The game went to the break goalless. 

Half time 

The second half got off to a poor start for the Exiles. A ball over the top saw Paul Glatzel race through, with the striker taking a touch before slotting it past Nick Townsend, putting the visitors 1-0 up. 

We looked for an immediate response, putting pressure on the Swindon backline. Will Evans and Shane McLoughlin linked up nicely down the right, with Evans having a cross-turned-shot gathered by Bycroft.

It didn't take long for our pressure to pay off. A clever bit of play from a corner led to McLoughlin playing a dangerous ball across the face of the goal, which Will Evans tapped home to grab his 20th of the season in all competitions in the 53rd minute. 

McLoughlin nearly doubled our lead in the 56th minute. He played the ball to Wildig's feet from a corner, with the midfielder returning it, allowing McLoughlin to run into the box and fire a close-range effort into the side netting.

We continued in our pursuit of a second. Another excellent free-kick routine finished with Bryn Morris firing a powerful effort from the edge of the area, with a fantastic save from Bycroft denying the midfielder a second goal in as many games. 

Swindon went for a goal with an ambitious effort in the 70th minute. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy tried an effort from range, which went just wide of Townsend and the Newport goal. 

We finally broke the deadlock in the 74th minute. Aaron Wildig dinked a delightful ball into the box to Seb Palmer-Houlden, with the on-loan striker placing a composed finish past Jack Bycroft to spark celebrations around Rodney Parade. 

Swindon substitute Sean McGurk came close to drawing the game level three minutes later. Deadline day signing Zach Elbouzedi found space down the right, pulling it back to McGurk, who, despite having time to compose himself, put his effort wide of the post. 

The visitors were restricted to half-chances as the clock ticked down. Substitute Harry McKirdy, who spent a brief period of time on loan at Rodney Parade, saw a weak header drift wide of the goal from a corner in the 80th minute. 

Graham Coughlan went to his bench in the 82nd minute, handing a debut to Luke Jephcott and giving Offrande Zanzala his first appearance this season following an extended spell on the sidelines. They replaced Aaron Widlig and Seb Palmer-Houlden, respectively. Lewis Payne was also brought on for Adam Lewis. 

Harry McKirdy came close to breaking Newport's hearts in the 90th minute. He danced through the midfield, firing an effort from outside the box that came rattling back off Nick Townsend's post. 

This would be the last notable action of the game, with the full-time whistle extending our unbeaten league run to six games and moving us to 12th in the table ahead of the afternoon kick-offs. 

We are in action again next weekend when we head to the Bescot Stadium to take on Mat Saddler's Walsall. You can find out about tickets for the game here

Newport County: Townsend, Delaney (C), Clarke, Baker, Lewis (Payne 82'), McLoughlin, Bennett (Charsley 46'), Morris, Wildig (Jephcott 82'), Evans, Palmer-Houlden (Zanzala 82').

Substitutes: Maxted, Payne, Zanzala, Waite, Charsley, Jameson, Jephcott.

Swindon Town: Bycroft, Blake-Tracey, Khan, Glatzel (McKirdy 67'), Hepburn-Murphy (Drinan 74'), Cain (Elbouzedi 54'), Kokolo (Brewitt 54'), Devoy, Godwin-Malife, McCarthy, Austin (C) (McGurk 67').

Substitutes: Elbouzedi, McKirdy, Brewitt, McGurk, Drinan, Brann, Minturn.

Attendance: 5,912 (1,309 away) 


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