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  1. Christmas and New Year 2020/21 The optimism we had following our wins in the 2 previous matches faded away on Boxing Day against Mansfield Town. It only took 5 minutes for Mansfield to go 1-0 ahead, Mohamed Elsa with the goal from a corner. Jacob Mellis scored a 35th minute goal, to leave us 2-0 down at the halftime break. About ten minutes from the end of the match, Joe Morrell sealed the win for the home side. A bad result for us, that sees us 2nd from bottom in the table, 7 points off safety. Only two days later, a late Josh Sheehan goal gave us the win in the 1st of 2 consecutive matches against Peterborough United. This was a great response after getting hammered in Mansfield 2 days earlier, and we’re back to within 4 points of climbing out the relegation zone. Five days after we beat them in the League, Peterborough United returned to Rodney Parade looking for revenge, but lost again in this FA Cup 3rd Round match. We needed to come from behind to win this match, as Matt Godden gave them a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute. Three minutes later, we were level when our captain Mark O’Brien volleyed a shot to the top corner. In the 2nd half, Jamille Matt put us in front in front, with just over half an hour remaining. Peterborough United were pushing for the equaliser, when we broke on them in the 81st minute. Substitute Padraig Amond ran on to a Tyler Forbes pass, to insure our progress to the 4th Round, where we’ve been handed a home draw against Premier League Champions Manchester City! Jamille Matt scored 2 goals in this match, as we won 3-2 against Exeter City. Josh Sheehan got the opening goal in the 17th minute, with a shot from distance. Jamille Matt scored the 1st of his 2 goals just before the half hour mark, to leave us comfortably 2-0 up at halftime. Jamille Matt scored another just after the restart of the 2nd half, after being put through by Cameron Pring. Exeter didn’t collapse though, and began a fightback, when Tom Nichols scored in the 65th minute. Another goal by Nichols in the 85th minute, set up a tense finish, but we hung on to the 3 points that leaves us only 1 point away from safety. Three wins out of the four matches played over the Christmas and New Year period, have given me hope that we’re turning our fortunes around. There’s plenty to look forward to next month, with Manchester City coming to town to play in the 4th Round of the FA Cup, and the prospect of moving out of the relegation zone for the 1st time this season.
  2. Early December 2020 New Walsall manager Daryl McMahon won his 1st match in charge, by beating us 1-0, 10 days after leaving his position at fellow relegation candidates, Ebbsfleet United. I never managed to beat him in the 4 matches, while he was Ebbsfleet boss, and this match was no different. A 24th minute goal by Alfie Bates was the difference between the two sides, and our miserable winless streak in the league has increased to 10 matches now! Another 1-0 defeat at home to a relegation rival, leaves us bottom of the table, 7 points adrift of safety, increasing our winless run in the league to 11 matches! This was a particularly frustrating defeat, as Scunthorpes winning goal in the 75th minute, literally came out of the blue. Their left back took a free kick from just inside our half, delivering it long into the box. It somehow managed to go into the back of our net, without anybody touching it, including our goalkeeper, Marcin Bulka. If the goal wasn’t so funny looking, I would’ve cried. A comical way to lose. In the 1st of 2 consecutive matches against Northampton Town, we won 1-0 in the knockout stages of the Checkatrade Trophy, thanks to a 2nd half goal by Jamille Matt. In the 3rd Round of the Southern Section, we’ve been drawn to play Chelsea U23's next month, after they beat Portsmouth 2-0. Three days later, Jamille Matt scored for the 2nd match in a row, against the same opposition to end our bad run of 11 matches without a win in the league. This win lifts us off the bottom, 4 points away from safety. 4 matches where the scoreline was 1-0, beginning with two defeats, and ending with two wins against Northampton Town, which gives us renewed hope heading into the matches played over the Christmas and New Year. On Boxing Day, we face Mansfield Town away, before facing Peterborough United twice at home in the same week, with the 2nd of those matches coming in the 3rd Round of the Cup. After that, we’ve another home match against Exeter City on the 5th night of 2021.
  3. November 2020 In the 1st Round of the FA Cup, against National League side Hartlepool United, Jamille Matt got the games only goal in the 18th minute. We march onto the 2nd Round, where we’ve been drawn to play Port Vale at home on the 28th of November. In a meaningless fixture, a experimental selection battered MK Dons 5-1, with Marcus Barnes and Mamadou Touray, both scoring 2 goals each. In the draw for the Knockout Round of the Southern Section, we were paired with Northampton Town. That match will take place at Rodney Parade on the 8th of December. With Joe Dunne out for the rest of the season, I signed defensive midfielder Adam May on a free transfer, after impressing while on trial at the club. The 6’0” 22 year-old is a strong, fit central midfielder, and I’m hoping he’ll be can help shore up our leaky defence. He was released last Summer from Portsmouth, after spending the season on loan playing in the National League for Cheltenham. We played top of the table Barnsley at the Oakwell Stadium, and came away with a point, after a creditable 2-2 draw. The match started at a blistering pace, with 3 goals scored in the opening 10 minutes. Jamille Matt put us ahead in the 3rd minute, before Brandon Barker equalised for the home side in the 8th minute. Two minutes later, Jamille Matt scored his 2nd goal in the 10th minute, to put us ahead again. Brandon Barker got his 2nd goal to equalise again, in the 28th minute, and leave it 2-2 at the halftime break. No goals were scored in the 2nd half, so the points were shared. Even though performances have improved, we’ve now gone 7 games without a win in the league. In the 2nd half, Paris Cowan-Hall got the only goal of this match, to consign us to our 8th consecutive game in the league without a win. This was a real disappointment, as I targeted this one as a winnable match, at home to Ebbsfleet, who are now in 20th position in the table, 6 ahead of Newport County. Normally, this run of form is sackable for any manager, but the boards expectations at the start of the season didn’t show much ambition, so we are where we are now. We defended stoutly for the final 10 minutes, after Mamadou Touray was sent off, to keep out fellow strugglers Swindon town. Sharing the points was not good for either side, and we both remain adrift in the relegation zone. We’ve not won in 9 now, but with 10 men, a point away from home is not to be sneezed at. Marcus Barnes scored the only goal in the 15th minute, to put us into the FA Cup 3rd round, where we'll play Peterborough at home. The results in November were better than October, but only slightly. We have made good progress in 2 cup competitions, but we still have that now 9 match winless streak hanging around our heads. The defeat to Ebbsfleet could be costly come the end of the season, but there's enough time to bridge the gap to safety. In the run up to the festive fixtures, we host bottom of the table Walsall, then Scunthorpe United. Then we play Northampton Town twice in 4 days, home and away, in both the League and the Checkatrade Trophy.
  4. October 2020 Due to International call-ups, the Wigan match in Rodney Parade on the 10th of this month, has been rescheduled for the 31st instead. This match was the tale of two ‘keepers. You know you’re unlucky when the opposition goalkeeper gets Man of the Match, and your number 1 scores an own goal. That’s what happened here when Ben Alnwick saved all 10 shots on target, while in the 54th minute, our young loanee goalkeeper Marcin Bulka was unfortunate when a shot rebounded back off the post and hit his foot and over the goal line. I made 6 changes for the 2nd group game of the Checkatrade Trophy, and we ended up winning on penalties, after a 1-1 draw, insuring our progress into the knockout stages of the Southern section. Marcus Barnes put us ahead in the 8th minute, before Exeter equalised shortly before the halftime break. Our 19 year old attacking midfielder, Lewis Collins hit the winning penalty that wins us an extra point to send last seasons winners out. Eleven days after qualifying from our Checkatrade Trophy group, we hosted Portsmouth at Rodney Parade, confident that we could cause an upset. Portsmouth blew us away in this match, and were 3 goals up by half-time. We got 1 back just after half-time through Jamille Matt, but that was that. In the draw for the 1st Round of the FA Cup, we were drawn away at Hartlepool United. Considering our current poor form, it’s a potential banana skin but hopefully we can pick it up by the time it rolls around at the beginning of next month. Marcus Barnes and Padraig Amond scored 2 late goals in this match, but it was already over, as Burton had gone 4-0 up as early as the 52nd minute. Anthony Pilkington scored twice for Burton, and deservedly picked up the Man of the Match award too. We’ve conceded 7 goals these past 2 matches, and I’m thinking about ditching the 5-3-2 system that brought us our success last season. After the deluge of goals conceded in the 2 previous matches, I reverted back to my original formation that I intended using at the beginning of this career update. I opted for the 4-2-2-2 formation, and stopped the rot at the back. I played Chris Smith in front of the back 4 as a half-back, pairing him with Josh Sheehan in the regista role. The central defensive partnership of O’Brien and Lennon worked well, with Lennon on cover duty, while the captain O’Brien had the stopper role. It seemed to work out alright, although we didn’t create much going forward in a dull 0-0. Hopefully we’ll improve that side going forward, but for now, I’m just glad we didn’t lose another match. We might have stopped our losing run, but we didn’t put an end to our winless streak, which increases to 5 now. An equalising goal from super-sub Mamadou Touray in the 78th minute, sees us draw for the 2nd consecutive match. We stuck with the 4-2-2-2 formation, that shut out Doncaster Rovers in the last match, but Wigan made the breakthrough in the 23rd minute through the 17 year old left winger Chris Andrews. In a match of very few clear cut chances for both sides, I’m thrilled with the draw at the DW Stadium, which gives us our 10th league point of the season. Another bad month with 3 defeats and 2 draws in the league, although the change in formation has giving me hope that we may have found a way of playing. Next month kicks-off with a FA Cup tie in Hartlepool, followed by the meaningless final Checkatrade group game against MK Dons. After that, we’ll travel up to Barnsley, to take on the table toppers in their own backyard. A week later, we play fellow strugglers Ebbsfleet in Rodney Parade, followed by a trip to another club in the relegation zone, Swindon Town. We’ll be targeting progress in the FA Cup, while the final 2 fixtures next month is a perfect opportunity to end our winless streak.
  5. September 2020 Padraig Amond scored his 1st goal of the season, in the 2nd half of this Checkatrade Trophy match against West Ham U23’s. His 57th minute goal was decisive, and puts us joint top with MK Dons, who beat Exeter City by the same margin. Local rivals Bristol Rovers visited Rodney Parade, and won by a single goal scored in the 26th minute, following a mix up in our defence, while trying to defend a indirect free-kick. Ollie Clarke got the all important goal for the visitors, in a game of very few chances. This leaves us with only 4 points from the opening 8 matches, and I’m beginning to worry. A visit to top of the table Rotherham was next, and we ended up losing 3-0, with 2 late goals for the home side adding an unfair sheen on the victory. Rotherham took the lead in 1st half stoppage time, after Tyler Forbes was deemed to have fouled Joe Newell inside the box. O’Keefe dispatched the spot kick, to put Rotherham 1 up after a very even half of football. In the 2nd half, we pushed for an equaliser, with Rhys Oates coming within inches of finding the back of the net. Then with the game nearly up, we were awarded a penalty when Mattock pushed Rhys Oates inside the penalty area. Dolan stepped up to the spot-kick, but it was saved by Daniel Iversen, in the Rotherham goals. After the penalty was saved, we had a couple of corners, as we pushed for an equaliser. Eventually, Rotherham broke up the pitch and scored through James Tilley. A minute later, they rubbed further salt into the wounds, when sub John O’Sullivan made it 3-0 to Rotherham. A good performance, but another disappointing result means we’ve now gone 5 without a win. My winless streak increased to 6 matches, when Mark O’Brien deflected a shot, by Gillingham’s Kazenga LuaLua, into his own net. Earlier in the match, Jamille Matt finished off an excellent counter attack at the far post, to give us a 1-0 lead after 15 minutes. Brandon Hanlon headed in an equaliser in the 31st minute, to leave 1 apiece at the break. The match looked to be heading for a draw, until our captains unfortunate own goal in the 84th minute. This result means we remain 2nd from bottom, 5 points from safety. Our visit to the Kassam Stadium to take on an Oxford United side, managed by Gary Neville, ended in a creditable 2-2 draw, despite playing against 10 men for the last half hour of the match. In an goal fest of a 1st half, Freddie Sears gave Oxford the lead after only 7 minutes, when he intercepted a horrendous Tyler Forbes pass across his own box, to score from close range. In the 14th minute, Forbes redeemed himself, when his cross set up Cameron Pring to equalise at the far post. Within 3 minutes of the equaliser, Oxford took the lead once again, when 19 year-old Ryan Edmondson thumped in Jake Vokins cross to the far post with a header. Marcus Barnes equalised in the 34th minute, when he finished off a rebounded shot from close range, after Cameron Pring was denied his 2nd goal of the match. In the 2nd half, Oxford were reduced to ten men, when Freddie Sears was sent off for a bad challenge on Matt Dolan. With the extra man we pushed for the winning goal, and came close a few times, but Oxford held on to share a point apiece. Our 5th point of the season, means we’re still 5 away from safety, having now gone 7 matches without a win. In the 100th match of my career, Liverpool steamrollered us in the second-half by scoring 4 unanswered goals, with Adam Lallana completing a hat-trick of goals. It was 1-1 at half-time, after Chris Smith headed in a corner to equalise in the 35th minute. For the 1st time in my career, VAR was used, when Liam Nolan was adjudged to have been fouling Jordan Henderson, while defending a corner. Our young goalkeeper, Marcin Bulka saved the resulting penalty to keep it at just 1-0, only 2 minutes after they’d gone ahead through Lallana’s opener. In the 2nd half, Hoever and Henderson made it 3-1, before Lallana completed his hat-trick later. Although our League Cup run comes to an end in Anfield, I’ve enjoyed the little taste of the big time. Four days after getting hammered in Anfield, we end our 7 games without a win by beating Bradford City 4-1 in Rodney Parade. Padraig Amond gave us the lead after half an hour played, when he volleyed in a Tyler Forbes cross from the right. Sean Scannell equalised for Bradford 4 minutes later, but a Marcus Barnes goal insured we went in at the break 2-1 up. Barnes got his 2nd goal of the match in the 66th minute, when he finished off Amond’s pull back from the byline, to put us 3-1 up. In the 83rd minute, sub Dewsbury-Hall scored his 1st goal for Newport County, with a shot from just outside the box. This overdue win, means we’ve amassed 8 points in the first 12 league matches of the season, and we’re now only 3 points away from safety. Our defensive midfielder James Dunne, suffered damaged cruciate ligaments in this match, that’ll rule him out for the majority of the season, as MK Dons scored in both halves to win 2-0. Brandon Thomas-Asante scored the 1st goal in the 24th minute, when he knocked in a cross at the far post. In the 2nd half, left midfielder Henry Coulson doubled MK Dons lead in the 56th minute, to move the Dons into 7th place in the table. It’s a disappointing result, that leaves us with a paltry 8 points from the opening 2 months. Overall, it hasn’t been a great month for us, and a sharp improvement is needed to have any chance of survival. In October, we’ve home matches against Bolton, Portsmouth, and Doncaster, who are all in the top half of the table. Away from home, we face trips to struggling Wigan Athletic, and Burton Albion, who are also in the top half. It’s going to be an uphill battle to stay in this division, but I’m hopeful we can fight out our way out of the drop zone.
  6. Yeah it has been a real struggle this season. Maybe a bit of tactical tinkering is required, although I'll still keep at the direct passing, no matter what.
  7. August 2020 When the groups for the Checkatrade Trophy were drawn, we discovered our opponents will be West Ham U-23’s, MK Dons, and last season’s Checkatrade winners Exeter City. Our opening match of the new League One season began with a defeat in Peterborough. We didn’t get off to a good start in this one and were 1-0 down after just 4 minutes, when George Cooper finished at the far post, after a Jordan Spence cross from the right. In the 2nd half, Man of the Match Callum Hulme doubled the home teams lead in the 75th minute, with a free-kick from distance. We got one back in injury time, when sub Marcus Barnes scored on his debut, by heading in Jamille Matt’s cross from the right, but it was too late in the day to stage a late comeback. In our first match at Rodney Parade this season, a late goal by Mohammed Eisa earned all 3 points for Mansfield Town. In a match of very few clear cut chances, Eisa ran on to Otis Khans ball over the top of our defence, to score in the 90th minute, leaving us with 0 points from the opening 2 matches. In the first of 2 consecutive matches against Exeter City at St.James Park, Exeter City struck twice in the second half to win 3-2, after being 2-1 down at half-time. Matt Dolan opened the scoring in the 25th minute, by scoring from a direct free-kick. Three minutes later Exeter City equalised, when their centre-half nodded in from a corner situation. Three minutes into 1st half stoppage time, Dolan hit another free-kick from the edge of the box, to give us a 2-1 lead at half-time. In the 2nd half, just before the hour mark, Hiram Boateng equalised for the home team. And ten minutes later, Exeter got their winner, when Boateng's shot deflected into the path of striker Tom Nichols, who finished to give Exeter all 3 points. Our 3rd defeat in a row, leaves us as the only club, who hasn’t picked up at least a point in any of the 3 matches. In our 2nd match in 4 days against the same opposition, we somehow managed to avenge the defeat in the League, by eventually prevailing in a penalty shoot-out, despite playing with only 9 men for the last 11 minutes! James Weir only lasted 2 minutes on the pitch, before he was shown a straight red card, which meant Josh Sheehan needed to make a early return from injury from the bench. In the 7th minute, Jamille Matt gave us an unexpected lead, when his shot deflected into the bottom corner. When Matt Dolan picked up a knock in the 26th minute, I decided to use my 2nd substitution. And in the second-half, with the scoreline still at 1-0 to us, I used my third and final sub when Rhys Oates was brought on for the tiring lone front man Jamille Matt. We were reduced to 9 men in the 79th minute, when Sheehan was forced off with a foot injury that’ll rule him out for a further 4-5 weeks. Exeter pushed for an equaliser that would take it to a penalty shoot-out, and eventually they got it deep into stoppage time, when Jake Taylor drilled a low shot to the bottom corner from distance. In the shoot-out, young goalkeeper Marcin Bulka, on loan from Chelsea, hit the winning penalty to send us into the 2nd of the League Cup. On the 26th of August, we’ll travel to Ewood Park to take on Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the 2nd Round. Two late goals within the final ten minutes, gave us our first 3 points of the season, when we took on Northampton in Rodney Parade. I changed from our usual 5-3-2, into a 4-2-4 system, and it worked a treat in this one. Our 1st goal was scored in the 83rd minute by substitute Mamadou Touray, after a swift counter attack involving the young 19 year-old attacking midfielder, Lewis Collins. Collins was also involved in the build-up to our second goal, which was scored by new signing Rhys Oates in the 88th minute. Over the course of this month, 4 young players have left the club on loan. Jay Foulston, Marcus Wood, Liam Bishop, and Owen Gamble, didn’t have much hope of 1st team football, so I loaned them out instead. We can recall them at anytime, if we need them. We went into this match with confidence, but ended up getting trounced 5-1. Wimbledon opened the scoring as early as the 7th minute, when Toby Sibbick lashed a shot to the net from the edge of the box. Just before half-time, Wordsworth doubled Wimbledon’s lead with a strike from just outside the box. In the 2nd half, we switched back to the 5-3-2 system, but it didn’t make any difference, as left-back Vashon Neufville made it 3-0 only 4 minutes into the half. Our captain Mark O’Brien pulled one back for us in the 50th minute. Then just before the hour mark, Wimbledon netted twice. Central midfielder Liam Trotter taped in a free-kick delivery in 58th minute, and only a minute later, Wordsworth scored his 2nd of the match, with another strike from distance to make it 5-1. A bad hiding, that leaves us with only 3 points from the opening 5 matches in the league. The following Saturday we hosted Luton Town at Rodney Parade, and 2 goals either side of half-time gave the visitors victory. Luton came into this match 2nd from bottom, so we fancied our chances in front of our home support. Danny Hylton headed in Jack Stacey’s free-kick delivery from wide right in the 39th minute, to give them the lead heading into the break. Only 4 minutes into the 2nd half, left midfielder Cohen Bramall punished us with left-footed strike to put Luton 2-0 up. And that’s how it remained until the final whistle, a result that leaves us 2nd from bottom 6 matches into the season. Championship side Blackburn Rovers were reduced to 10 men in the 12th minute of this match, when Marcus Barnes went down inside the box, following a heavy challenge from Blackburn left-back Cheick Keita. Matt Dolan stepped up to spot-kick, but Blackburn ‘keeper Jayson Leutwiler saved it! All the goals in this match happened within a 5 minute spell in the 2nd half. In the 64th minute, Blackburns pacey striker got in behind our defence to put them 1-0 up. Our response was almost immediate, when Tyler Magloire nodded in from a attacking corner situation in the 66th minute. Only three minutes later, we took the lead for the 1st time, when substitute Mamadou Touray scored on the rebound, after his header was initially saved. We held onto that lead for the final 20 minutes, to progress onto the 3rd Round of the League Cup, where we’ll meet the might of Liverpool in Anfield next month! On the face of it, a 2-2 draw away at Southend is a good result, but as we had a 2-0 lead at half-time, I come away sort of disappointed. Our 1st goal arrived in the 37th minute, when Matt Dolan dispatched a penalty, after Jamille Matt was pushed inside the box. In 1st half stoppage time, Matt’s left-footed strike to the bottom corner put us 2 up at half-time. Ten minutes into the 2nd half, Southend United got one back, when right-back Joe Edwards fired a shot to the net from just outside the box. Then 2 minutes later Southend were back level, when Man of the Match Tom Bayliss drilled in a low shot from distance. At that stage, it looked like Southend United might go on to win it, but we held onto the solitary away point, that leaves us with just 4 points from the first 7 matches of the season. We’ve had a bad start in the league, some bad results, particularly the 5-1 mauling we got off Wimbledon. The obvious high point was the win in the League Cup against Blackburn, which sets up a trip to Anfield to look ahead to. September starts off with a home match against the West Ham U-23’s in the Checkatrade Trophy, followed by another match at home to local rivals Bristol Rovers. A week later, we visit high flying Rotherham, before hosting fellow strugglers Gillingham at home. Three days after that, we play Gary Neville’s Oxford United away, before the trip to Anfield in the Cup. Bradford City in Rodney Parade, is followed by a trip away to take on MK Dons. Some tough fixtures next month, but I’m hoping the worst is behind me.
  8. Summer 2020 In Euro 2020, both England and France spectacularly crashed out of the championships in the group stage, by finishing bottom of their groups... Southgates men didn’t get off to a good start, when they lost 1-0 in their opening match to rivals Scotland. After that, 2 further defeats to Ukraine and Switzerland, meant they went home pointless at the bottom of the group, with only 1 goal scored in the 3 matches. Unsurprisingly, Southgate was shown the door, and Burnley boss Sean Dyche named as his replacement soon afterwards. In the knockout stages, Scotland went out in the quarter-final, after losing on penalties to Spain. And England's other nearest rival Wales, went onto win Euro 2020, by beating Germany 1-0 in the final! Meanwhile back at the ranch in Newport, I decided to extend the contracts of 4 young players by 1 year. We also have a new Chairman at the club, Darren May was elected, after Gavin Foxall stepped down from the role. Over the course of the Summer, we brought in 4 players on free transfers. Tyler Magloire, who played a major part in our promotion last season on loan, joins permanently after Middlesbrough decided against renewing the young centre-half expiring contract. Marcus Barnes and Rhys Oates also join on free transfers, after leaving Southampton and Morecambe respectfully. Both these players play upfront, and can do a job for me on the flanks if required. The last free transfer of the Summer, saw us sign left wing-back Mitch Hancox for £0. He had been transfer listed by Exeter, and he’ll be a backup option for Cameron Pring, who extended his loan deal for another season. The £65,000 fee paid to Southend United for centre-half Harry Lennon, at the end of last season, broke our record transfer purchase by £15k. Another club transfer record was broken this Summer, when I finally agreed to sell our number 1 goalie Nick Townsend to Portsmouth for a fee of £525,000. It wasn’t an easy decision, as he played a key part in last seasons promotion, but in the end, the deal helps balance the books a bit better. With Townsend sold, I decided to bring the 20 year-old reserve ‘keeper Marcin Bulka, as his replacement. Bulka joins us on loan until the end of the season, with an option to buy for £350k. Standing at a height of 6 foot 6 inches, his command of the area, combined with his aerial ability, he will hopefully deal easily with any aerial bombardment League One has to throw at him. We played 5 pre-season friendlies in July, winning all 3 away games against lower league opposition, while managing a respectable a draw at home against the French Ligue 1 side RC Lens. The only blot was a 4-1 defeat at home to Premier League Everton. I have a 1st team squad of 24 players for the forthcoming season, and the only injury concern for the opening fixtures is Josh Sheehan, who is out with a damaged knee cartilage. When the fixtures for the new 2020/21 League One season were announced, we discovered our opening fixture was trip to play Peterborough on the 1st of August. Our 1st match at Rodney Parade takes place 4 days later, when we host Mansfield Town. In the League Cup 1st Round draw, League One Exeter City have been drawn at home against us. That match will take place on the 11th of August. The board expect a tough season, and want us to fight bravely against relegation, whilst reaching the 2nd Round of the FA Cup. We are 2nd favourites to go down, but I’m hoping we can upset those odds by next May. A look at the August fixture list, shows we have 8 matches scheduled for next month, 3 of them at home, and 5 away. After kicking off with Peterborough away, and Mansfield Town at home, we’ll face Exeter twice in 4 days, in both league and cup action. Then we’ll host Northampton Town at home, before travelling to face Wimbledon in midweek. The following Saturday, we face Luton Town at home, before completing the month with a trip down south, to face Southend United.
  9. Season 2019/20 Review For the 2nd year in row, Josh Sheehan was voted the Fan’s Player of the Season. A thoroughly deserved reward for the attacking midfielder, who contributed 18 assists this season. Matt Dolan was voted second, after collecting the Man of the Match award on 9 occasions. Target Man, Jamille Matt finished third. In the League Two awards, we had 5 players in the team of the season. Townsend, Dolan, Sheehan, Pring and Magloire were the 5 Newport County players selected. Sheehan also won the League Two Player of the year, while I won the Manager of the Year! English Football Season 2019/20 Manchester City won their 2nd trophy of this season, by finishing 16 points ahead of 2nd place Liverpool, in the Premier League. Chelsea and Manchester United finished in the Champions League places, with Arsenal, Tottenham, and Newcastle United, qualifying for next season’s Europa League. Bristol City, Watford, and Aston Villa, were sent into next season’s Championship, while Derby, Swansea, and playoff winners Cardiff, will replace them, after gaining promotion from this season’s Championship. We will play Wigan, Barnsley, and Burton Albion, in next season’s League One, following their relegation from the Championship. They’ll be replaced by Birmingham City, Charlton, and League One playoff winners Fleetwood, next season. Wycombe Wanderers, Plymouth Argyle, Lincoln City, and finally Coventry City, were demoted to League Two clubs, while Ebbsfleet won promotion for the 2nd successive season, when they beat Yeovil in extra-time of the League Two playoffs. Salford won promotion to next season’s Football League by winning the National League this season, while Wrexham went up via the playoffs. At the other end of the National League Table, Chorley, Dulwich Hamlet, Darlington, and Solihull Moors, were relegated. Harrogate went up as Champions of National League North, while York went up via the playoffs, after finishing in 2nd place. In the South, Welling United were this year’s Champions, while 7th placed Dartford won the playoffs. At the bottom of this season’s Northern section were Hednesford, Braintree, and Kettering, while in the Southern section, Kingstonion, Whitehawk, and Havant and Waterlooville, were also demoted to the 7th tier of the English football pyramid. The two Manchester rivals met in this years Cup final. Eric Bailly grabbed the winning goal, late in extra-time, to deny Manchester City the chance of completing a historic quadruple of trophies this season. European Competitions 2019/2020 In the European competitions, the two Manchester clubs played in the finals of both Champions League and Europa League. Manchester United played Borussia Dortmund in the final of the Europa League, and lost 3-1 to the Germans, while Manchester City won the Champions League, beating FC Porto in a penalty shoot-out.
  10. End of the 19/20 Season At Rodney Parade, we lifted the title in style, by thumping 5 past Forest Green, in our biggest win of the season!!!!! Man of the match Josh Sheehan, ended the match with a goal and 3 assists to his name, and he got the party started in the 28th minute, when his free-kick went up over the wall, curling in at the near post. The floodgates opened in the 2nd half, when we scored 3 times in 6 minutes. Rob Atkinson scored his 1st goal for Newport in 51st minute, when he nodded in Mamadou Touray’s flick on to the far post. Three minutes later, Tyler Magloire got on the end of Josh Sheehan’s free-kick, to make it 3-0. In the 57th minute, Amond rattled one in from 25 yards, and then Cameron Pring got his 5th goal of the season in the 65th minute, after being teed up by Sheehan. It’s great to have the title wrapped up with 2 games left in the season, and now I can bask in the glory, with one eye on next season already. The target this season was top half, so to get promoted by winning the title is magnificent. Especially if you factor in we had 450-1 odds in pre-season, and are 18th in the salary per annum table. With the title in the bag, I decided to renew the contracts of 3 of my most important players. Club captain Mark O’Brien, our vice-captain and star attacking midfielders Josh Sheehan, and Matt Dolan, have all signed new deals that’ll tie them at Newport until 2022. A week after collecting the title, we lost our final away match of the season 1-0, to Accrington Stanley at Wham Stadium. Billy Kee’s conversion of a penalty kick in the 8th minute, ultimately proved decisive. In the 2nd half, Matt Dolan’s injury means he’ll miss the final match of the season, when we take on Carlisle at Rodney Parade next. In other games today, Mansfield Town sealed the 2nd automatic promotion spot, with a 2-1 home win against Cambridge United. With my eye already on next season’s League One, I completed deals for 2 players to join the club on the 9th of June 2020, for a combined worth of 130k. Left-footed centre half Harry Lennon, will join us from Southend United, for a fee of 75k. The 25 year old, has made 20 starts this season for the League One side, and with a height of 6’2”, his aerial ability will hopefully be a great addition. Central midfielder Liam Nolan, will join us from Accrington Stanley for a fee of 55k. The 25 year-old, has made 29 appearances for Accrington this season, and I’m hoping he can do a job for us in the defensive midfield role next season. Nolan’s impending arrival, means James Dunne is likely to leave the club in the summer, when his deal runs out. We finished the season with a 2-0 win, in front of a record attendance for Rodney Parade. Mamadou Touray bagged both goals of the match, his 5th and 6th goals of the season, to end the season on a high note. Touray got his 1st goal in the 50th minute, climbing highest at the far post, to thump Josh Sheehan's corner delivery in off the underside of the bar. Sheehan was again creator in 65th minute, when he lofted a ball over the top of the Carlisle defence, for Touray to run onto, and finish to the bottom corner of the net. In the final days other results, Swindon Town beat Stevenage 3-1, to leapfrog over both Ebbsfleet and Yeovil, into 3rd spot and automatic promotion. At the other end of the table, Grimsby and Tranmere were relegated down to the National League.
  11. Easter Week 2020 Two goals in the opening 6 minutes set us up for a comfortable 4-1 victory in Swindon. The 1st goal arrived in the 3rd minute, when Almond headed in Josh Sheehan’s cross from the right. And only 3 minutes later, Sheehan was again provider, when his corner to the near post was flicked on past the outrushing Swindon ‘keeper. Kaiyne Woolery got one back for Swindon in the 20th minute, when he volleyed in an Aaron Lewis cross. In the 2nd half, Josh Sheehan got his name on the scoresheet, when he smashed a shot into the top left-hand corner of the net, in the 65th minute. And 15 minutes from full-time, Matt sealed the 3 points, when he dispossessed the Swindon Town defence, before hitting a right-footed shot to make it a 4-1 scoreline on the day. Another crucial 3 points, means we’ve mathematically guaranteed ourselves at least a playoff. And with 5 matches remaining in our season, we sit 7 clear of Mansfield, who’ll have a have a chance to narrow the gap, when they face Bury at home next Tuesday night. With only 6 points required to seal our promotion to League One, we now know, we could potentially be promoted against Cambridge United on Easter Monday! In Mansfield’s game in hand against Bury, it finished scoreless, so the gap is now 6 points, with 5 matches left in both our seasons. In this Good Friday match, Mamadou Touray once again played the part of a super-sub, when his left-footed volley hit the net in the 89th minute, to salvage a point late on. Ebbsfleet came into the game in 3rd position in the table, and it was they who took the lead in the 64th minute, when Montano struck from way out. Forced into making a sub as early as the 10th minute, when Chris Smith went down with an ankle injury, that’ll rule him out for the 4 remaining matches left in the season. With 2 centre-halfs out at the same time at this stage of the season, I’m now glad I signed 3 in last summer’s transfer window. Jamille Matt was also forced off in the 2nd half, with an injury that’ll rule him out until the beginning of next season. Touray will come on in his place, and he scored a priceless equaliser today to restore our lead at the top of the table to 7 points, because Mansfield lost 3-0 at home to Blackpool today! Our loanee striker Theo Robinson, picked up a hip injury in training, that’ll rule him out for upto 8 months. And with only a couple of months left on his loan deal, Southend United decided to recall him. He didn’t have the same impact as last season, only scoring twice this time around. Two 1st half goals by Padraig Amond set us up for a win, that sealed our promotion to next seasons League One! The 1st of his goals arrived in the 9th minute, when a delightful through ball by Mamadou Touray, left Amond with a simple finish for his 20th goal of the season. He doubled our lead on the half hour mark, when he nodded Sheehans cross back across goal, into the far bottom corner. Cambridge United sub Greg Taylor, got one back in the 88th minute, but we hung on. This win, coupled with Morecambe's 88th minute equaliser at Yeovil, means we’re promoted with 3 matches left to spare! With Mansfield and Ebbsfleet both 9 points behind us, with 3 games left, we now know, the possibility of lifting the League Two title is a certainty. In fact, we could clinch it in our next match by winning a single point against Forest Green at Rodney Parade! Get the Champagne out!
  12. March 2020 A Jamille Matt goal just before halftime, edged this match narrowly in our favour. The 6”3’ Jamaican scored in the 44th minute, after a Padraig Amond header rebounded back off the crossbar. We’ve now gone the last 5 matches unbeaten, and with Manfield dropping 2 points away at Crewe today, we stretch our lead at the top to 7 points, with 10 games remaining. On a wet Tuesday night in Stoke-on-Trent, we continued our unbeaten run by beating Port Vale comfortably 3-1. We took the lead in the 32nd minute, when Port Vale's right full-back, James Gibbons, forced the ball past his own ‘keeper. Jamille Matt doubled our lead in the 31st minute, when his left-footed shot from inside the box nestled in the bottom corner. Almost immediately the home side responded, when a bad mistake from Chris Smith, gifted a goal to Ricky Miller. Just before half-time, Amond scored his 50th goal for Newport County, after a gloriously threaded pass into space by Josh Sheehan, gave him a simple finish from close range. The win was made even sweeter, by Rochdale’s 2-0 win in Mansfield, a result that puts both Ebbsfleet and Mansfield Town, 10 points behind us with 9 matches remaining! Courtney Baker-Richardson got the games only goal in the 13th minute, when he volleyed in Alex MacDonalds in-direct free-kick from wide right, to end our unbeaten run and narrow the gap to 7 points. This is our 6th defeat in the league this season, and I hope it’s not an early sign of choking with 8 matches remaining. The news that Matt Dolan pulled knee ligaments in training, sees the number of injured players at the club rise to 3 now. Dolan has been integral this season, scoring 16 goals, 11 in the league, and he’s a huge loss at a crucial stage of the season. Hopefully, the loanee Danny Rose can step in during his absence. After agreeing a 100k transfer fee with Southend United, Keanu Marsh-Brown will join the League 1 outfit in June. He had been complaining about his lack of starts for a good while, after making only 4 appearances this season for us. For the 1st time this season, we’ve now lost 2 consecutive league games, after Blackpool beat us 1-0 at Bloomfield Road. An unfortunate own goal by Tyler Forbes in the 17th minute, gave the home side a valuable 3 points in their bid to get into the playoffs. There was some good news however, as Ebbsfleet lost 2-1 at home to Notts County. And for some reason Mansfield didn’t play today, which means they’re still 7 points behind, with a game less played. With only 7 matches left in our season, the last 2 results could be put down to the jitters creeping in. We got back to winning ways by eeking out a 1-0 win, against 22nd placed Stevenage. Josh Sheehan calmed down the jitters inside Rodney Parade, when he fired a shot to the net, after 4 minutes of play. Sheehan was forced off with a knock in the 20th minute, and we held on to the 1-0 lead for the rest of the match to claim an important win, that see us maintain our 7 point lead heading into the final 6 matches of our season. Exeter City won this years Checkatrade Trophy, beating Bradford City in the final in Wembley. Despite the back to back defeats this month, 3 wins out of 5 isn’t a bad return for this stage of the season, as we’re now 7 clear, although that will depend on how Mansfield fare in their game in hand against Bury next month. Looking ahead to our next 3 fixtures, we’ll face a trip away to take on Phil Brown’s Swindon, who are sitting in 6th place, and aiming to sneak into a automatic promotion spot over the final few matches of the season. On Good Friday, 2nd placed Ebbsfleet will visit Rodney Parade, followed by another trip away to play Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium on Easter Monday.
  13. February 2020 After the high of being awarded Manager of Month for January, I came crashing down to earth, when bottom of the table, Tranmere Rovers, inflicted our 5th defeat in the league this season. To make matters worse, this loss now means we cannot equal the record for fewest defeats in a season in this division, a record set by Graham Taylor's Lincoln City in 1976. However, we can still equal that same teams record of 36 wins in a season, if we win every match until the end, so no more slip ups are permitted. In this match, James Norwood got the winner and his 2nd goal of the match, in the 79th minute. This came after our 6”3 centre-forward, Jamille Matt, had twice equalised for us. The 2nd of his goals from the penalty spot in the 73rd, gave me hope that we’d go on to win it. This hope was dashed only 6 minutes later, when Norwood finished off a defence splitting cross by right-winger Nathan Tella, to give them a much needed 3 points in their fight to stave off relegation. So, a bad defeat sees our lead at the top narrowed to just a single point, heading into the last third of the league season. I decided to sell Joss Labadie to National League North side, York City, after he began complaining publicly about the number of minutes of playing time he was getting. Amazingly, I agreed a deal with League One Portsmouth, in the transfer window just passed, but he couldn’t agree on the contract. So a lower bid from York was accepted, as I wanted to get rid of him quick, and now he’ll ply his trade in the 6th tier of English football. At Meadow Lane, it was Matt Dolan’s 14th goal of the season, that gave us the 3 points in this fixture. Dolan scored from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute, after Padraig Amond was tripped inside the box. Notts County came close to an equaliser a few times in the second-half, but we held on to the lead, with our goalkeeper Nick Townsend, picking up the Man of the Match award. This win was especially pleasing, as 2nd place Mansfield Town dropped 2 points at Morecambe, which means our lead at the top of the league table is back to 3 points. For the 2nd match in a row, it was a goal from Matt Dolan that gave us a narrow win and the crucial 3 points. Dolan struck from a direct free-kick in the 66th minute, after we came close a few times to making the breakthrough. The nearest of those was Jamille Matt thumping header off the underside of the crossbar in 12th minute. Crewe came to Rodney Parade with a defensive gameplan, that frustrated us for a great deal of this match, but thankfully we’ve got the points in the end. This victory, coupled with Mansfield's draw at home to Barnet, stretches our lead to 5 points, with only 13 matches remaining. With us in good form and on top of the table, and my contract due to run out in the Summer, I agreed to extend my stay at Newport County, by signing a 1 year extension with the club. A 200 quid a week increase on my previous wage of 1.2k a week wage isn’t much, but a 20% increase if I get them promoted, offers an incentive to get the job done and over the line this season. And the board have given me additional funds in the wage budget, to sweeten the deal. If I do manage to get the club promoted this season, this will be the last contract I’ll sign with the club, as I hope to leave after having spent a year in League 1 with them. And with that in mind, this contract suits me very well. I got the bad news that our no-nonsense centre-half Fraser Franks, will be ruled out until the start of next season, with a damaged Achilles Tendon. He’s a big loss, as he’s played 39 matches this season, but I’m hoping that Chris Smith can step in until the season’s end, and help us win the League Two title. Padraig Amond had the games only clear cut chance in the 75th minute, but Rochdale ‘keeper Miazek recovered to tipp his shot over the bar, after gifting Amond the chance, by failing to deal with a bad back-pass. Our 10th drawn match of the season, means we now know our chance to equal Graham Taylor’s record of most wins in a single season in this division is gone. The good news is that both 2nd placed Mansfield Town, and 3rd place Ebbsfleet United, drew their games also today, so we’re still 5 clear at the top. In the League Cup final, Raphael Varane scored an injury time winner, as run-away Premier League leaders Manchester City, beat Spurs 3-2 at Wembley. Defensive midfielder Marcus Wood has been ruled out for most of the rest of the season, after breaking his ribs in a collision in training. It’s a blow, but we do have adequate cover for him in James Dunne and Dewsbury-Hall, so I’m not overly distraught. With the extra funds in the wage budget, I decided I needed a bit more cover in midfield, since Joss Labadie was sold. James Weir has been handed a just a 4 month contract, after impressing while on trial. The 24 year-old can play anywhere across midfield, started his career at Manchester United, and was released last summer by Hull City, is a welcome addition to the squad. Crawley Town started the brighter in this match and came close to scoring a couple of times, before Padraig Almond turned his marker, and side-footed the ball into the corner of the net, to give us 1-0 lead at the break. Then only 2 minutes into the 2nd half, we won a fortuitous penalty, after Filipe Morais was judged to have fouled Josh Sheehan at the edge of the box. Dolan converted to give us a comfortable 2-0 lead. It was game, set, and match in the 57th minute, when Jamille Matt headed in Cameron Prings cross from the left. Crawley got 1 back in the 89th minute, when George Francomb hit a strike in from 30 yards, but it was no more than a consolation goal, as the final whistle went in Rodney Parade soon after. We’re still 5 points clear of Mansfield Town at the top, with only 11 matches left in the season. Apart from the shock defeat to Tranmere Rovers, on the 1st of this month, we’ve recovered well, unbeaten in 4 matches, and still on top of League 2 by 5 points! March will be tougher though, as 4 of the 5 teams we play next month are in the top half of the table. We kick-off with a home fixture against 5th place Bury, who scuppered our play-off hopes last season, although they’ve not won an away match since Boxing Day. Then 3 days later, we visit Port Vale, who are in 8th place and pushing for a playoff place. Then the following Saturday, comes the big one, when we host 2nd place Mansfield Town at Rodney Parade, in what’ll go a long way in deciding who wins the League Two title. Then following Saturday after that, we visit 10th placed Blackpool, who need points to clinch a playoff place. On the 28th of March, we play at home against Stevenage, who are currently 4 points away from the drop zone. So it’ll be a tough month ahead, but hopefully, a successful one.
  14. January 2020 With the transfer window open again, I’ve decided to sign right full-back/wingback Kyle Knoyle, on a free transfer from Swindon Town. The 23 year-old has made 19 starts for Swindon this season, and he’ll be a good back-up for Tyler Forbes. If we manage to beat to beat Hull City in the 3rd Round Replay at Rodney Parade, we’ll have another home tie in the 4th Round, against Premier League side Aston Villa. Two 1st half goals from Jamille Matt, helped us to another 3 points at home against 9th placed Shrewsbury Town. The 1st arrived in the 17th minute, when he finished from close range, after Mark O’Brien header from a corner nearly went in. The 2nd goal came in the 36th minute, when another set play caused Shrewsbury problems. Danny Rose sent an in-swinging free-kick delivery to the far-post, Fraser Franks got his head on it and helped towards the near post, where Jamille Matt was there to tap in for his 2nd goal of the match. In the 2nd half, Shrewsbury set up a nervy finish, when central midfielder scored a free-kick from long range in the 64th minute. We hung on to the slender advantage to record a 14th win of the season, that keeps us on top of the table, 3 points ahead of Bury, and still with that game in hand left to play. Only four days later, we made the trip to Boundary Park to take on Oldham Athletic. And much like the last match, it was two 1st half goals that set us up to claim another 3 points again. In the 41st minute, Nick Townsends booming kick upfield caught Oldham off guard, and allowed Padraig Amond in on goal, to poke home a shot into the bottom corner. Matt Dolan doubled our lead in 1st half injury time, with a 25 yard strike into the bottom corner. Only a minute into the 2nd half, Oldham got one back when midfielder Anthony Spyrou finished off a cross from George Cox. Oldham pushed for an equaliser in the 2nd half, and both teams had goals disallowed for offside late on, but like the last match, we managed to hold onto the 3 points that keeps us top. I went into this Cup replay hopeful that with us playing at home, we’d be able to cause an upset. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out that way, and we ended up getting spanked 5-1. After 5 minutes, Hull went 1 up when Nouha Dicko grabbed his 1st of 4 goals in the match. We equalised in the 20th minute, when Almond got his head on a Cameron Pring cross from the left. At 1-1 at half-time, we went into the second-half confidently, but when Dicko got his second in the 54th minute, we knew we were always chasing the match. Towards the end we pushed for an equaliser, but it was all over in the 86th minute, Nouha Dicko got in behind the defence once again for his hat-trick. He added another 2 minutes later, before Markus Henriksen completed the scoring with a penalty in injury time. So, a bad end to a enjoyable little run in the Cup, means we can focus on League Two from now on. Knoyle’s arrival at the club means we are now overloaded with players for the right full-back position, so I’ve decided to loan young 19-year old Tom Hillman to the Welsh League side Llandudno until the end of the season. Young Mamadou Touray came off the bench to grab the winner, 20 minutes from full-time, against a struggling Morecambe, who were 2nd bottom in the table coming into this one. I needed to change to a back four for this match, as the medical staff warned me that Cameron Pring was feeling jaded, after the recent run of consecutive matches. It was Padraig Amond, playing out of position as an inside forward, who gave us the lead in the 25th minute, when he tapped in at the far post. A mistake by our makeshift left full-back, Rob Atkinson, allowed Mendes Gomes to volley into the net in the 34th minute. The winner in the 70th minute, came after good work by Kyle Knoyle on the right. Touray thumped his cross off the crossbar, and reacted quickest to the rebound, to put us 2-1 up. That goal sees us extend our winning streak in the league to 5 now, and puts us 4 points ahead of 2nd placed Mansfield Town, with our game in hand against Grimsby to come next. We had the chance to go 7 clear at the top in this, our game in hand, but we blew it. Grimsby Town Winger Jordan Cook got the winner in the 89th minute, after Jamille Matt missed a spot-kick in the 1st half. After giving Cameron Pring a rest in the last match, we reverted back to our regular 5-3-2 system, but it proved to be a disappointing result that saw us fail to increase our lead at the top of the League Two table. A Nick Townsend penalty save ensured we held onto all 3 points, after Matt Dolan gave us the lead in the 50th minute, with one of his trademark strikes from just outside the box. This was a real backs to the wall performance away from home, as Barnet really did everything but score, with their 15 attempts on target. Like the Morecambe game, Cameron Pring was feeling jaded, so we did switch to a back four in this match, and thankfully it paid. This win sees us maintain the 4 point gap over Mansfield Town at the top of League Two. Despite getting a 5-1 mauling in the cup replay, we’ve come through the hectic schedule relatively unscathed, and have opened up a 4 point margin on top of the table! Next month, we’ll play Tranmere Rovers, Crewe Alexandra, and Crawley Town at Rodney Parade, with visits to Notts County’s Meadow Lane and Rochdale’s Crown Oil Arena, as we look to maintain our push for the league 2 title.
  15. The Festive Period 20019/20 Only 4 days before Christmas Day, we faced the 1st match of 3 consecutive away matches, with a long trip up to Carlisle, that ended in a 2-0 defeat. Liam Millar’s opener in the 3rd minute, came immediately after Padraig Almond had a goal ruled out for offside. Another goal for us was ruled out in the 15th minute,when Mamadou Touray headed in a corner at the near-post, but the linesman’s flag went up, as Tyler Magloire was adjudged to be offside at the far-post. The day went from bad to worse when, Matt Dolan was forced off with an injury in the 41st minute that’ll rule him out for the entire festive season. And just before half-time, Josh Sheehan long-range drive brought us to within inches of equalising, which meant we went into the second-half 1-0 down. In the 2nd half, Amond was put through on goal twice, but was denied by on both occasions by Carlisle United ‘keeper Adam Collin. As we pushed for the equaliser, Liam Millar sealed the win with his 2nd goal of the match, when he got on the end of a wonderful cross/through-ball in the 85th minute. This defeat sees us in 3rd place, half-way through the season. We were due to take on Grimsby Town at Blundell Park, but it was called off at the last minute due to heavy snowfall. No harm done, as it means we’ll be the fresher team when we take on league leaders Yeovil Town, in our next match, although we’ll probably face a fixture pile up in January as a result. And the 8 day break done us the world of good, as we dominated Yeovil from start to finish. Josh Sheehan got the opening goal in the 28th minute, when his low shot from just outside the area bounced over the outstretched glove of Yeovil ‘keeper Joe McDonnell. 3 minutes later, we went 2 up when Amond finished off a great team move. And in the 74th minute, Danny Rose sealed the win with a 27 yard shot that flew into the top corner. This was a massive win against the league leaders, and it means we enter the New Year in 2nd place, 2 points behind Yeovil Town, with a game in hand to play. The Danny Rose 27 yard blockbuster of a strike in the last match, has been given the goal of the month for December. We got off to a good start on New Year’s Day 2020, when Chris Smith headed in a Danny Rose left-footed cross from the right in the 4th minute. The provider turned scorer in the 53rd minute, Rose intercepting a misplaced pass, before unleashing a low daisy cutter with his favoured left peg, into the bottom right corner. 2-0 to Newport. Colchester United responded immediately in the 54th minute, Luke Norris reacts the quickest when a header came back off the post. Our 2 goal advantage was restored in the 60th minute, when Lois Dunne scored an own goal, while trying to clear Mamadou Touray’s header off the line. A good New Year’s Day victory at Rodney Parade, sees us go top on goal difference. At the KCOM Stadium, Jamille Matt was the hero for us in the 83rd minute, as his header cancelled out Jordy De Wljs free-kick strike in the 14th minute, and earn us a replay at the Rodney Parade. To earn a draw with a club 2 divisions above us is a great achievement, and we’ll fancy our chances in front of our own fans in the replay. Apart from the defeat in Carlisle, we’ve done well over the Christmas and we’re now sitting on top of the table with a game in hand against Grimsby Town to play. On top of that, we’ve a 3rd Round Replay at Rodney Parade to look forward to in 11 days, so it’ll be busy couple of weeks for us.
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