Match Report |

Newport County secured all three points thanks to a Seb Palmer-Houlden goal in a fiery all Welsh encounter with Wrexham.

A fantastic header from Seb Palmer-Houlden in the 34th minute secured a 1-0 victory for Newport County over ten men Wrexham in a one-sided physical clash at Rodney Parade. 

Manager Graham Coughlan named an unchanged side from our midweek clash with Eastleigh, with Aaron Wildig, Harry Charsley and Seb Palmer-Houlden all retaining their places in the starting XI. The team were also boosted by the return of Matt Baker, who started on the bench. 

The visitors made four changes to the side they fielded against AFC Wimbledon last weekend, with Will Boyle, Ryan Barnett, James Jones and Sam Dalby coming into the side. Steve Fletcher, who had scored four times in two games for Wrexham, was notably absent. 

The game got off to a combative start in the opening ten minutes, with a battle of attrition taking place all over the pitch The first notable chance of the game fell to Bryn Morris with a free kick in the 12th minute. Will Evans dispossessed Elliott Lee on the edge of the area and was brought down by Ben Tozer. Morris stepped up, but his effort went over the bar into the Wrexham end. 

The game's intense nature continued, and the physicality boiled over in the 17th minute when Will Boyle performed a reckless high challenge on Shane McLoughlin and was sent off. 

Newport looked to make the extra man count, with a high press putting the visiting defence under serious pressure. A big chance fell to Aaron Wildig in the 27th minute.

Bryn Morris motored through midfield, picking up a stray pass from Wrexham substitute Eoghan O’Connell and finding Seb Palmer-Houlden on the edge of the area. The on-loan striker, surrounded by Wrexham defenders, was able to hold the ball up until he found Wildig in the box, but the midfielder was unable to keep the resulting effort down.  

The visitors failed to create any clear-cut chances in the opening half-an-hour. A free-kick from James McClean was swung in from the right-hand side and went through the box untouched in a move that summed up an uninspiring first half from the promotion-chasers. 

The deadlock was broken in the 34th minute thanks to a spectacular header from Seb Palmer-Houlden. A dangerous ball from the left by James Clarke was met by the striker, who flicked a looping header over Arthur Okonkwo in the Wrexham goal to spark scenes of wild celebrations at Rodney Parade. 

The celebrations had barely calmed down when Bryn Morris nearly doubled our lead with an audacious curling effort in the 39th minute, with a fine save from Okonkwo keeping the score at 1-0. 

As half-time approached, County forced another good save from Okonkwo, with Ryan Delaney nearly heading home following a clever corner routine. This would be the last action of the half as we headed into the break with a 1-0 lead. 

Half time

County returned to the field with attacking intent, creating the first chance of the half in the 49th minute. Seb Palmer-Houlden forced a corner, which, after being swung in, dropped to Will Evans on the edge of the area, with our top scorer unable to keep his effort down. 

Less than sixty seconds later, Seb Palmer-Houlden had an excellent opportunity to grab his second of the afternoon. The striker capitalised on a mix-up at the back from Wrexham, finding himself one-on-one with Okonkwo. Unfortunately, he put the effort just wide in front of the home terrace and newly built temporary stand. 

Wrexham had their first effort of the half at the hour mark. A defensive slip-up dropped to Elliott Lee inside the six-yard box, but the midfielder's headed effort went wide. 

We were quick to respond. An excellent ball from McLoughlin was met by Adam Lewis at the back-post, with the defender volleying an effort at Okonwko. 

The keeper came to Wrexham's rescue again in the 62nd minute. Aaron Wildig played the ball into Seb Palmer-Houlden, who knocked it down to a late-arriving Harry Charsley, whose volley forced an excellent save from Okonkwo to his right. The resulting corner was then put over the bar. 

Graham Coughlan went to his bench in the 73rd minute, bringing on James Waite and Matty Baker, with the latter making his return from injury and receiving a warm welcome back to the Parade.

We continued to put pressure on the Wrexham backline and came close to grabbing the second in the 78th minute. Will Evans played a clever over-head flick on the edge of the area, which was met by Seb Palmer-Houlden, with Ben Tozer blocking his effort at the last moment to put it over the bar for a corner. 

Chances were few and far between for the visitors as they failed to build momentum going into the final ten minutes. A cross-turned shot from Elliott Lee was comfortably caught by Nick Townsend on what was a quiet afternoon for our number one. 

As the clock ticked down, it became clear there would be no Hollywood ending for Wrexham in South Wales, with Newport controlling the game in stoppage time. Chants of 'Manchester United, we're coming for you' rang throughout Rodney Parade as the final whistle was met with jubilant celebrations. 

The win sees Newport continue their form run of form, extending their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions and moving up to 13th in the League Two table. 

We are back in action next Sunday afternoon when we welcome Manchester United to Rodney parade in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round. 

Newport County: Townsend, Delaney (C), Clarke, Bennett, Lewis (Bondswell 64'), McLoughlin, Morris, Charsley (Waite 73'), Wildig (Baker 73'), Evans, Palmer-Houlden.

Substitutes: Maxted, Bondswell, Waite, Wood, Rai, Payne, Baker

Wrexham: Okonkwo, Cleworth (Palmer 61'), Tozer (C), Boyle, Barnett, Jones (Bickerstaff 80'), Evans, Lee, McLean, Dalby (O’Connell 23') Mullin.

Substitutes: Howard, O’Connell, McFadzean, McAlinden, Young, Palmer, Bickerstaff.

Attendance: 9,537 (1,400 away)