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Club News

Report | Exiles fall to defeat in Essex

29 March 2024

Club News

Report | Exiles fall to defeat in Essex

29 March 2024

Newport County fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat against Colchester United at the Jobserve Community Stadium on Good Friday.

After a first-half strike from Offrande Zanzala put the Exiles ahead at the break, a second-half comeback with goals from Ellis Iandolo and Jay Mingi were enough to condemn the Exiles to back-to-back defeats in Sky Bet League Two. 

Manager Graham Coughlan made three changes to the side that faced Barrow AFC last time out, with Offrande Zanzala, Matt Baker and Matty Bondswell coming into the starting eleven in place of Seb Palmer-Houlden, Harrison Bright and Adam Lewis. 

Academy star Nelson Sanca retained his place on the substitutes bench. 

It was the U’s who came closest early on as Arthur Read’s high delivery nearly picked out John Akinde at the far post, but Kyle Jameson did well to thwart the forward and earn County a goal-kick.

A few minutes later, Read cut inside from the right past Wull Evand but the midfielder was unable to keep his effort down, firing well wide of the target. 

In a bid to respond to Colchester’s early possession, the Exiles came close midway through the half. A neat ball from Bryn Morris was flicked on by Evans into the path of Wildig, who took the ball down well before firing a strong effort at Owen Goodman. 

At the other end, the U’s were eager to carve out an opening by creating further chances. Harry Anderson disposed Harry Charsely just inside the Exiles half, advancing forward before teeing up Alistair Smith, who showed brilliant skill to guide a delightful that cannoned off the woodwork.

Continuing to apply pressure, Nick Townsend needed to produce a smart save to deny a quick-counter attack from the hosts in the 30th minute.

Read unpicked the Exiles back line to send Brad Ihionvien down the right channel. The winger’s low cross found the on-running Akinde from point-blank range, but he was unable to beat the outstretched Townsend. 

Against the run of play, however, it was the Exiles who made the breakthrough three minutes before half time. A long ball from Baker was chased down by Evans down the right, leading to Connor Hall steering a poor-headed clearance into the path of Zanzala.

The ball dropped to the forward inside the box and the No.10 showed great composure to beat Goodman with an instinctive finish. 

Half Time

In a more open second half, the hosts thought they should have had a penalty just minutes into the half. Smith’s flicked ball over the top found Anderson in behind and was adjudged to have been brought down by the covering Jameson, though referee Sonny Sing Gill waved away any appeals for the U’s. 

In another positive attack for Danny Cowley’s men, Anderson did well to recycle a cross towards the far post from the right, but his delivery was too high for substitute Samson Tovide. That was before Akinde was denied twice brilliantly by instinctive stops from Townsend. 

As the U’s continued to push for an equaliser in the contest, their persistence paid off with fifteen minutes of the game remaining. A high, whipped-in corner from Cameron McGeehan picked out substitute Iandolo, who stabbed home a neat finish at the back post.

With the Exiles looking to make an immediate impact, a long throw from Harrison Bright found Palmer-Houlden in a swift counter-attacking move. The Bristol City loanee turned his man cleverly inside the box before forcing Goodman into a strong diving save which he could only parry wide. 

In the final stages, Jayden Fevrier beat Bright in a footrace down the far left and squared a neat ball to the feet of Noah Chivers. the substitute’s quick feet enabled him to shift the ball from left to right before his effort was cleared off the line by the scrambling Baker. 

In injury time, Mingi snatched all three points for the home side when his quick one-two with Tovide saw him breakthrough, firing a delightful effort beyond Townsend. 

Full Time

The Exiles return to Sky Bet League Two action on Easter Monday as they welcome Crawley Town to Rodney Parade (3pm).

Colchester United: Goodman, Hall (C), Dallison (Iandolo 55’), McGeehan, Read, Anderson, Mingi, Akinde (Chilvers 71’), Smith (Hopper 71’), Fevrier, Ihionvien (Tovide 55’). 

Substitutes: Hornby, Kelleher, Jay. 

Newport County: Townsend, Jameson, Bennett (C), Baker, Payne, Bondswell (Bright 72’), Wildig (Waite 68’), Morris, Charsley, Zanzala (Palmer-Houlden 67’), Evans.

Substitutes: Maxted, Rai, Jephcott, Sanca. 

Attendance: 4,308 (237 away)

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