Cambridge United v Newport County

Saturday 13th April 2019   k.o 3:00pm

Sky Bet Football League Two

 

Report from Mark Vickery at The Abbey Stadium

 

Cambridge United 0

Newport County 3 (Amond 4, Matt 34, McKirdy 90)

 

Attendance: 4,294

 

Form:

Newport County        LWLWLLWWdd

Cambridge United    dLLWDdDLWL

 

 

Clinical County keep on pushing

 

 

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
County have defended well last few games but need to assert their game more through middle today with Cambridge still not safe they can expect a battle.

CONDITIONS
Cool, bright blustery and keen wind. Pitch was in decent condition.

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Imposed game well from the offset, taking chances well and defended pace in behind stoutly.

TURNING POINT
Getting the opening goal was key but the second gave very solid platform

THE MATCH
County made just the one change with Joss Labadie not recovered from a knock, Matt Dolan returned to the heart of midfield. County made a good purposeful start despite playing a strong wind with some measured passes from deep which Matt and Amond were alive to. County worked some neat moves on took the lead on 4 minutes after a Demetriou long throw left side of the area was only half cleared back to him. He dinked a decent cross back into box which Cambridge struggled to clear and Willmott retrieved the ball well to chip in a precise cross into the six yard box which pinpointed Amond who directed a precise header into the left corner. Cambridge made efforts to respond with Hepburn-Murphy offering pace in behind with some strong runs which County marshalled well. County continued to probe away using the wind effectively with Kennedy combining well in behind to support Matt and Amond. County closed down the Cambridge well forcing them to play long and were quick to snap up the loose ball. On 10 minutes, Kennedy broke well with a tricky run down the left side of the area and struck a decent effort from an acute angle into the side netting. Cambridge carried most threat from long passes to use the pace of Brown and Lambe left side and Hepburn-Murphy playing on the shoulders of the last man. County remained the most threatening outfit with Kennedy busy in and around the edge of the area and another shot was being blocked well by Taft left side of the area. County had a chance out of nothing on 22 minutes when Lambe slipped a quick low pass from the left side of the pitch which flashed through on the wind and Hepburn-Murphy won the ball ahead of O’Brien but his shot from a wide angle went into the side netting. Cambridge picked up their game midway through the half with some better cohesion and movement final third winning a couple of corners which County dealt well with. On 30 minutes, Cambridge were forced into an early change when Jones pulled up chasing a long ball and he was replaced by Amoo. Cambridge were most creative down the right side with right back Halliday and Amoo linking well but County were equally effective with Kennedy and Butler quick to exploit on the break. On 34 minutes, County won a corner from a good counter attack left side which Willmott delivered superbly. The ball was allowed to drop dangerously deep and Butler anticipated well before cutting inside near the edge of the area and he chipped in a low cross which Matt expertly directed with his head into the left corner. Cambridge persisted with their right flank with Halliday prominent in the best moves that stuck in the County half. On 37 minutes Halliday link well with Amoo who checked back to find Lambe on the right side of the box. He carried his run inside and curled a decent effort from 18 yards wide of the left post. County kept plugging away enjoying the better of possession and quality final third with Willmott supplying some decent crosses from wide positions on the right side. County had to be vigilant with Cambridge more effective on the break with Amoo and Hepburn-Murphy quick to get into position. On 40 minutes, a quick counter by Cambridge instigated by Deegan in central midfield. He slipped a good diagonal pass to free Amoo right side who carried his run right side of the area but Sheehan did well to recover with an important well timed tackle inside the area. On 43 minutes, Cambridge won a corner on the right side which Doyle-Hayes reacted smartly to at the front post but his low header from 8 yards was saved well low down by County keeper Day. Then moments later another neatly constructed break by County saw Kennedy do well to manufacture space right side of the box and his snapshot was well saved low down by Mitov. Cambridge had a better spell of possession on the stroke of half time with several minutes added for injury time but County kept them at arms-length with some stout defending.

Cambridge made efforts to maintain their slicker approach keeping it low but County worked hard to deny them space early in the second half. On 48 minutes, County won a tackle left side and Brown caught Sheehan with a tackle from behind and he was booked. Cambridge made most penetration right side working some good passes into the wind to test County with Amoo lively and Butler was forced back to defend. On 55 minutes, Cambridge won a corner right side which County half cleared and Deegan lofted a decent cross back into the area which Taft met well in air from 10 yards but Day was alert plucking the ball out of the air. County went close again on 60 minutes from a corner left side by Willmott had venom on it and Cambridge could only glance deep with Matt loitering and Butler snapped up possession but his low shot went under the keeper but cleared near the goaline by Taylor. County made a change on 62 minutes with Dolan replaced by Crofts and Cambridge responded with Coulsen coming on for Lambe. County were patient in their approach play with the wind behind them encouraging them forward but overplayed on times. On 65 minutes, Kennedy lost possession on the right side with a loose pass to Willmott. Coulsen direct a good pass to switch play and find Brown right side of the pitch and he carried his run wide before blasting a low opportunist effort from 20 yards which Day parried away well in the right corner. Cambridge remained a threat on the counter attack with Halliday pivotal in the best moves. On 75 minutes, Cambridge worked a good passing movement right side of the area and Halliday was able to roam inside and used his left favoured foot but the crisp effort was beaten away by Day to safety. County made another change soon after to steady the ship with Bennett replacing Kennedy. Cambridge were bold coming forward but were nearly caught on 77 minutes when Crofts then struck a first time volley straight at the keeper from edge of the area after Cambridge panicked making a loose clearance. Cambridge were caught napping on 83 minutes when a move broke deep in the County half with Bennett doing well to stifle a move and find Butler. He played a precise low pass to pick out the run of Amond who ghosted in behind Halliday and down the left side of the box but his low shot was saved by the legs of Mitov. Cambridge persisted with using the pace of their runners in the final third and Hepburn-Murphy coaxed Demetriou into an untidy challenge from behind  on 85 minutes which got him a booking. County made a late change on 90 minutes with McKirdy replacing Sheehan. County then exposed Cambridge crudely moments later with a quick move left side of the area to put gloss on the score . Willmott showed good vision to slip a pass in behind for McKirdy who took one touch before finishing low beyond the keeper. Cambridge kept plugging away in the five minutes of injury time but County were in no mood for any charity keeping a clean sheet for the third consecutive game and to stay in the touch with the play off pack.

Day (8) – did well first half to be alert to balls in behind and cleared well into difficult wind. Made a couple of important saves low down second half and safe with hands on crosses.

Poole (7) –  vigilant dealing with long balls and stifled quickly to make some effective clearances. Forced back second half and played deeper but let little goalside.

Butler (7) –  put under pressure by Amoo and Halliday especially second half but generally coped well. Was composed clearing in behind and delivered some decent crosses.

O’Brien (8) –  kept his focus to deal with the pace and force threat outside the area. Tackled superbly, dealt with everything inside the box and dominated the aerial duals.

Demetriou (8) –  didn’t always time his headers and had to drop off but recovered to make some key clearances. At the heart of opening goal and kept concentration throughout

Dolan (7) – decent game after recent injury and got to ball well first half probing play with some neat passes. Missed his composure and link play when he went off.

Willmott (7) – press a lot of the right buttons especially first half getting forward into prominent areas with well timed runs. Went close with some clever runs to the back post.

Sheehan (7) – better game, did some excellent work to move ball efficiently and some important dirty work to track back and had to get tackle on Amoo inside area spot on first half.

Amond (6) – didn’t see enough of the ball final third and forced to drop back. Always does his best work deep inside the area and only one real chance from header.

Matt (7) – did well first half and was always a problem for Cambridge when they gambled in winning the challenge and he span goalside. Took his only real chance very well.

Amond (6) – enterprising first half and did well to hold and bring in other players. A little off the pace after the break and perhaps not firing on all cylinders after recent injury.

Kennedy (6) – busy first half, did lots of good work to ghost in and link play and put in some decent shots. Did better when he was dynamic and had less time to think about next move.

 

 

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths –
they worked the right channel well. were bold coming forward, most effective on the break and had pace in abundance.

Weaknesses – both centre backs were prone to errors and got pulled about, despite energy and pace they were naďve and struggled to maintain possession forcing too many moves

Opportunities –  got a bit mixed up between playing direct and passing first half but elected to play just on the break second half and did that well.
Threats –
Hepburn-Murphy player well off the last man and had an eye for a shot. Amoo outlet right side and Brown shots in and around the area.

OFFICIALS
R Joyce (8) – got the key decisions right letting game flow well and knew when stop and give advantage.   


MAN OF THE MATCH
Mark O’Brien – since his return to fitness and run back in the side, County have tightened the ship. Lead team well, dealt with pace and broke up danger effectively.

IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

An important second away win on the trot and County will strive to continue to pick up points on their travels. The stone foundation again was with the solidarity at the back, stemming the pace and movement final third and County were only really pressed today when they allowed the Cambridge to counter on them. County played well first half into difficult conditions and it was the quality and determination to keep pressing, not rest on their laurels and get a second goal that was key. County had better control in the middle today despite missing Labadie and even with Amond not back to his best he still got a vital goal. County swarmed around Cambridge in spells today which the hosts found hard to manage and County will be keen to take that intensity in the remaining games. Next up is promoting seeking Bury at Rodney Parade who have some financial concerns off the pitch. They will put that aside having ambitions for automatic promotion with striker Danny Mayor returning from suspension to offer guile in the final third. County have defended well through the middle and will need to stifle their wide play with McFazdean and Stokes pivotal in their transitional counter attacking play and Maynard prepared to play the provider.