Newport County v Macclesfield Town

Saturday 19th April 2019   k.o 3:00pm

Sky Bet Football League Two 


Report from Mark Vickery at Rodney Parade


Newport County 3 (Demetriou 5, 75, Matt 13)

Bury 1 (Maynard 7)


Attendance: 4,433



Newport County        WLWLLWWddW

Bury                            WLWDWdLLLW



County firmly looking upwards



Heat could play a part, County need to use their heads and let the ball do the work but also tame the threat Bury carry up top as one of the league two top scorers

Warm, sunny and calm. Pitch was in decent condition.

Persistent, enterprising final third, good shape defending and kept Bury arm-length

Matt strike, getting nose in front again soon after conceding

County made just the one change with Scott Bennett coming into central midfield in place of Ben Kennedy who had to be content with a place on the bench. County were still missing Joss Labadie but had plenty of options on the bench to change their tact. County played 3-4-3 formation with Poole, Demetriou and O’Brien in defence and they had to deal with a knock inside the first minute when Demetriou rose strongly to contest a direct ball with Telford but he recovered after treatment from a head injury. County were keen to get the ball moving creating some snappy moves in the Bury half. On 4 minutes, Dolan did well to anticipate ahead of Rossiter on the right side of the pitch well inside Bury half. Dolan took the free kick and delivered an excellent ball into the six yard box which Demetriou seized on with a downward header into the top left corner which gave Bury keeper Murphy little chance. Bury responded with some patient low moves and a harmless looking through ball on 7 minutes appeared to take a deflection of the back of Poole. Maynard made the most of the opportunity being at least 2 yards beyond the last man O’Brien and he slotted low into the right corner beyond Day. County were unshaken and kept their nerve working some good passes forward to pick out Matt and Amond who were efficient with their use of the ball. Bury were keen to use right wing back Adams who was clever with the ball at his feet but County held firm. On 11 minutes, Bury were given a warning when the lost possession in the middle with Dolan tackling O’Shea. His direct quick pass forward caught Bury somewhat out of position defending with Matt and Amond loitering but Stokes was on hand to clear. County kept plugging away and a quick break from deep on 13 minutes punished Bury ruthlessly when Poole won a tackle and Willmott snapped up possession to play measured through ball to pick out Matt. He held off a challenge from Wharton before blasting a powerful low effort past the keeper from 18 yards. Bury made efforts to pick up their game with direct passes out when invited with Maynard prepared to run in behind. County marshalled the threat well with Demetriou and Poole vigilant and went close again on 20 minutes with a move from deep. Demetriou swept well and his clearance was inch perfect in finding Amond. He showed good feet to hold off Aimson left side of the area before cutting inside and his low crisp shot from 18 yards was pushed around the left post by the keeper. County were effective on the ball coaxing Bury into several untidy fouls and they never looked particularly comfortable defending their area with some hurried clearances. On 28 minutes, another County free kick caused problems when the delivery from Willmott was only half cleared to the edge of the area. Demetriou showed good awareness to glance into the path of Amond who struck a half volley over the bar. County did well anticipating the ball quickly and continued to enjoy several free cynical free kick which the referee showed leniency in not punishing. Matt was caught late contesting a direct ball on 35 minutes but able to continue after some treatment and moments later Butler was booked somewhat harshly when he was deemed to have obstructed Adams run right side of the area. Bury had a better spell on the stoke of half time with O’Shea and Mayor probing across the face of the area and Maynard working hard in tandem with Telford to maintain better possession. County had to defend a couple of corners which they did well clearing effectively but on 45 minutes, Demetriou was booked for blocking near the left byline with Stokes threatening to carry the ball inside. County held firm and had a glimmer of a chance in first half injury time when Dolan snapped a low ball down the middle. He was bright coming forward after a neat exchange with Sheehan his low shot from 25 yards was on target but comfortable for the keeper.

County were forced into a change at half time with Matt replaced by McKirdy. County maintained their drive with McKirdy working hard off the ball to close down the Bury defence. County were rewarded with a couple of corners which Bury got safe but they were struggling to find cohesion with playmaker Mayor stifled well by Bennett and Poole. On 48 minutes, County built a decent move down the left side with McKirdy doing well to shield the ball under pressure from Wharton. He set up an opportunity for Butler left side of the area but his effort was wide of the left post. On 51 minutes, County had Dolan in the book for lunging in a little late to tackle Adams on the touchline as he broke free. Bury made a tactical change on 52 minutes with Omotayo replacing Telford and this gave them some more presence in aerial duals. County continued to work some good moves with a ball to feet and patient move on 56 minutes opened up some space in middle when Amond found Dolan but his effort from 20 yards was wide of the right post. Bury elected to play more direct with Maynard linking play but County kept their focus well at the back to deal with some clever flicks. Bury enjoyed a better spell of possession midway through the half with Rossiter having more influence in midfield. On 63 minutes, Rossiter darted inside from the right flank and hit an ambitious effort from 25 yards which went over the bar. Bury made another change soon after with Lavery replacing Moore and this gave them more impetus on the left wing. County kept working hard to stifle and made their first change on 66 minutes to freshen their midfield with Kennedy replacing Dolan. Bury kept persisting with left sided moves involving Stokes and he was booked for dissent on 68 minutes when a throw decision went against him. Kennedy gave County a lift with some bursting runs down their left side forcing Adams deeper and there was a warning for Bury on 71 minutes when Kennedy found a chink of light going past Aimson and his snapshot left side of the area fizzed just wide of the left post. Bury made their final change moments later with Danns replacing O’Shea in central midfield. Bury kept pressing but were always vulnerable to counter attack with Kennedy left flank and McKirdy doing well on the opposite flank. On 73 minutes, a long ball from Poole picked out the run of McKirdy and he did well to hold off a challenge from Rossiter on the right corner of the area. He carried his run to the byline and cut back a low cross into the six yard box which Aimson cleared away from Amond who was lining up to shoot. Bury went close moments later when Mayor went on solo run left side and curled an ambitious shot from 30 yards which clipped to the top of the bar and dropped to safety. County sealed the win on 75 minutes after a left side corner by Willmott was only half cleared. Kennedy did well to manufacture space on the left side of the area and provide a pass inside for Demetriou and he thundered his volley into the roof of the net. County were buoyant with McKirdy causing problems with his pace in behind and alertness to the ball. On 77 minutes, Rose was booked for backtracking to defend when he caught McKirdy from behind with a late tackle. County kept pushing for another goal with Kennedy carrying a threat left side with some clever tricky runs at the Bury defence. Bury looked to counter the threat with Lavery doing his best to provide width left side. On 80 minutes, Lavery ghosted inside from the left flank and opened up for a shot near the edge of the area which struck the raised arm of Poole. The referee awarded a direct free kick which Lavery took curling around narrowly wide of the right post with McKirdy lying flat to protect a low shot under the wall. County remained a threat on the break and Willmott did well on 86 minutes to overlap left side to receive a lay off from McKirdy. He carried his run forward and checked inside beating Stokes near the edge of the area but his low shot was saved by Murphy. On 88 minutes, McKirdy went close when he chased down a hopeful pass which dropped in behind centre back Aimson. He snatched the ball and a speculative volley from 14 yards looped just over the bar. Bury put in some direct balls late on to test County using the aerial strength of Omotayo. On 90 minutes, Omotayo did well to fend off a challenge by O’Brien and set up a shot for Lavery near the edge of the area but the volley was thrashed wide of the left post. County made a late change with Amond replaced by Bakinson but Bury were unable to make any headway in the five minutes of injury time despite dominating possession

Day (7) – quiet game, claimed well on crosses and safe hands to deal with shots low down. Kicked and distributed well throughout.

Poole (8) –  solid game, made some well-timed tackles and strong with his headers. Made some key interventions and quick decision making key today.

Butler (7) –  put under some pressure by Adams but held firm after unfortunate booking. Cleared well throughout and used ball effectively when he won the ball back.

O’Brien (8) –  tenacious game, got tight and let little goalside. Strong in the air and took a couple of knocks from late challenges. Went close again on a couple of set pieces.

Demetriou (8) –  no effects after early head injury, stifled threat snapping up possession and cleared well. Showed pedigree in the air and with ball at his feet scoring two great goals

Dolan (7) – important cog in the middle, did well to anticipate the ball early and link play. Passed well and put in some good set pieces

Bennett (8) – gave assurance read threat well and denied Mayor little space to operate. Competed well in the air and on the floor and moved ball effectively

Willmott (7) – did a good job defending the flanks when he had to and timed his runs forward. Delivered some good crosses from set pieces but well-marked by Stokes

Sheehan (8) – his best game since returning from injury, put in some good tackles and saw the ball early. Passed well and linked moves efficiently final third.

Matt (7) – was having a decent game until knock forced him off. Won some decent headers and dropped off to find space. Took his goal well. Replaced by:

McKirdy (7) – did an effective job second half never letting defence rest and livewire when the ball found him. Got in some good positions and deserved a goal for his efforts.

Amond (8) – did well alongside Matt and always a threat in and around the area. Worked tirelessly second half dropping deep to defend and link play in transition.



Strengths –
saw little of them today, they were composed and passed neatly and showed some enterprise in and around the area.

Weaknesses – centre backs were always vulnerable when they over committed. Passing was predictable and laboured on times and they never really changed tact.

Opportunities –  kept the ball low for large part of the game, set pieces were limited well by County. Went a little more direct after Omotayo came on.
Threats – Mayor left side, guile final third and eye for a pass. Maynard pace in behind. Rossiter worked hard box to box and had an eye for a shot.

P Wright (6) – keen to let the game flow in conditions, could have punished more of the persistent fouling and missed a lot of the cynical antics and pulling.    

Mickey Demetriou – lead the backline superbly and gobbled up the aerial ball, was precise with clearances and took his chances very well.


County made mincemeat out of high flying Bury and restricted a side that has scored the most goals in League Two to very few clear-cut chances. Despite Bury have more possession, County were more effective unit when they had the ball especially in the boxes. The key was the teamwork and tempo County offered and although it was difficult to maintain in the warm conditions, they carved out several chances from decisive play. County also adapted well after Matt went off and McKirdy put in a good shift with his determination to chase down lost causes in the final third and get shots in at will. County exploited weaknesses well today and made a decent Bury side look quite ordinary on times. Next up is Macclesfield away, who are uncertain of the league two future despite going on a good run to get out of the relegation zone. County can expect a different game which will be more physical and confrontational with the predicament Macclesfield are in and the ball is likely to be more in the air. Poole, Demetriou and O’Brien will need to marshal aerial threat of Smith and tame runs in behind of Wilson who sparingly used yesterday. Macclesfield will be bold and potentially mirror County as 3-4-3 so this one could be a war of attrition with discipline, patience and concentration key.