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Club News

Report | Exiles secure three points in West Midlands

10 February 2024

Club News

Report | Exiles secure three points in West Midlands

10 February 2024

Newport County made it four league wins on the spin with a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Walsall on Saturday afternoon.

Bryn Morris turned home a neat finish inside four minutes before Will Evans and Harry Charsley were on target in the first half to continue County's fine run in the league.

Manager Graham Coughlan named an unchanged side to the one that defeated Swindon Town last weekend, with Matt Baker retaining his place in the starting eleven. Offrande Zanzala continued his road to recovery on the bench.

Looking to build on their impressive run of form, it was the Exiles who enjoyed a dream start to the proceedings. After a good move down the right, Aaron Wildig’s deep cross-picked out Bryn Morris on the edge of the box, whose low drive found the bottom corner. 

Immediately at the other end, James Clarke was needed to deny Tom Knowles who got the better of Adam Lewis and Ryan Delaney early on in the opening five minutes. Isaac Hutchinson dug out an effort just minutes later but it was comfortably taken by Nick Townsend.

Things got better for the Exiles in the 13th minute as Evans, the club’s leading goalscorer doubled his side’s lead. Palmer-Houlden fed the ball into the path of Evans who showed incredible perseverance, flicking the ball over his defender before guiding a tremendous effort into the far corner.

Midway through the first half the Saddlers grew into the contest and forced a real another chance. Hutchinson peeled his way through the County defence, forcing a strong save from Townsend, though Josh Gordon couldn’t finish from the follow-up.

The Saddlers had a golden chance to pull a goal back on the half-hour mark. Delaney’s long kick up field was charged down by Mo Faal who got the better of the Exiles skipper before dragging an effort wide of the near post.

Just before half-time, the Exiles rounded off a clinical first half in style as they netted a third goal. Lewis’ long throw from the left was flicked on inside the box, meeting substitute Charsley, who guided a delightful header beyond Owen Evans.

In added time, Clarke got across his man at the near post, steering a headed effort off the bar from Lewis’ teasing delivery, as the Exiles took a well-deserved advantage into the break. 

Half Time

With Coughlan’s men sitting slightly deeper after the interval, the Exiles still continued to dominate large spells of possession. Morris produced a strike from distance five minutes after the restart but his effort flew well wide of the target.

Searching for a way back into the game, a quick counter-attack from the hosts saw Faal produce a snapshot from close range, however, Clarke did well to thwart the striker a clear opportunity at goal.

Despite defending resolutely, the home side did work a good opportunity with just twenty minutes of the game remaining. Some good interchange between Knowles and Faal saw the former fire an effort at the side netting following a smart move.

In the 75th minute, the Exiles deployed a double change as Luke Jephcott and Zanzala entered the fray. Jephcott, joining from Scottish side St Johnstone, made his away debut replacing Palmer-Houlden in attack.

With five minutes remaining, things got even worse for the Saddlers as they were reduced to ten men. Goalkeeper Evans failed to deal with Shane McLoughlin’s long-field ball with the shot-stopper adjudged to have handled the ball outside of the area.

In injury time, the home side piled men forward in attack searching for a consolation goal, but it wasn’t enough as County continued their unbeaten run in the West Midlands.

Full Time

The Exiles return to Sky Bet League Two action on Tuesday night as they host Notts County at Rodney Parade (7.45pm).

Walsall FC: Evans, Okagbue, L. Gordon, Daniels (C), Farquharson, Hutchinson (Tierney 69’), Knowles (Smith, 88’), Comley, J. Gordon (Oteh 46’), Faal (Matt 81’), Stirk (Earing 46’).

Substitutes: James-Taylor, Allen. 

Newport County: Townsend, Delaney (C), Clarke, Baker, Lewis, McLoughlin, Bennett, Morris (Waite 87’), Wildig (Charsley 16’), Evans (Zanzala 71’), Palmer-Houlden (Jephcott 71’).

Substitutes: Maxted, Payne, Jameson.

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