Report | Exiles edged out by Barrow in Cumbria

Newport County’s winning run came to an end as Barrow claimed a narrow 1-0 victory at the SO Legal Stadium.

A first-half strike from Cole Stockton was enough to condemn the Exiles to defeat in Cumbria. 

Manager Graham Coughlan made two changes from the side that defeated AFC Wimbledon last time out, with Harrison Bright snd Seb Palmer-Houlden coming into the starting even in place of Matty Baker and Offrande Zanzala. 

Midfielder Bryn Morris also made his 50th appearance for the Exiles. 

Playing against the wind in Cumbria, it was the Bluebirds who made a bright start to the early proceedings. From a corner on the right hand side, Ben Whitfield pealed off Adam Lewis inside the box firing a shot away that was well-blocked by the well-positioned Kyle Jameson. 

The home side once again forced the next opportunity of the game inside 10 minutes. Former Exile Dom telford disposed Jameson just inside the half before powering a well-driven strike just over the crossbar. 

Growing into the contest, County came close to an oppotunity of their own just minutes later. Bryn Morris’ flicked-on pass fell into the path of Aaron Wildig, but he was unable to fire an effort away in the nick of time. That was before Harry Charsley also broke through prior to being denied via a smart save from Paul Farman. 

Immediately at the other end though, it was the home side who made the breakthrough in 20th minute. After receiving the ball with his back to goal, Telford found the path of Cole Stockton who buried a neat finish beyond the outstretched Nick Townsend to hand the Bluebirds the lead. 

Despite failing behind, the Exiles didn’t feel sorry for themselves and hit back almost immediately. Morris’ long ball upfield found Wildig free in behind the Barrow defence, with the midfielder trying to an audacious chip against the advancing Farman off his line. His resultant effort floating just over the crossbar. 

Just before half time, a poor headed back pass from Dean Campbell nearly prevented Palmer-Houlden with a clear sight at goal, but a good starting position from Farman allowed him to reclaim possession to thwart the Bristol City loanee. 

Half Time

The Exiles were forced into a change at the break as Johnny Maxted replaced Nick Townsend, with the former Exeter City shot-stopper making just his fifth appearance of the campaign. 

Maxted was in and around the action inside two minutes of the second period as Barrow calved out yet another opening. Some neat footwork from Whitfield down the left picked out the on-rushing Stockton who guided a header narrowly wide. 

Using the wind to their advantage in this half, County forced an opportunity fifteen minutes. Some good interchange play between Wildig and Charsley saw the former break through, steering an effort that whistled wide of the near post. 

Containing to create chances, Charsley broke down the left hand side and pulled back a lovely ball to the feet of Palmer-Houlden. His sharp movement enabled him to get a shot away inside the box but he was denied by a strong save from Farman.

With the Exiles still trailing, Coughlan tuned to his bench with fifteen minutes of the game remaining. January signing Luke Jephcott replaced Lewis Payne as they looked to change their fortunes in attack. 

In added time, the Exiles continued to apply pressure in search of a late goal, but Pete Wild’s men stood firm to secure an important three points on home soil.

Full Time

The Exiles return to Sky Bet League Two action on Good Friday with a trip to the JobServe Community Stadium to face Colchester United (3pm). 

Barrow AFC: Farmer (GK), Campbell, Ray, Spence, Gotts (Worrall 86’), Chester, Telford (Foley 86’), Warren (Stephenson 66’), Stockton (Acquah 74’), Feely, Whitfield (Newby 74’).

Subs: Lillis. 

Newport County: Townsend (Maxted 46’), Jameson, Bennett (C), Bright, Lewis, Payne (Jephcott 77’), Wildig, Morris, Charsley (Waite 88’), Palmer-Houlden (Zanzala 65’), Evans.

Substitutes: Rai, Bondswell, Sanca. 

Attendance: 3,379 (224 away)