Newport County v Colchester United

Saturday 17th November 2018   k.o 3:00pm

Sky Bet Football League Two


Report from Mark Vickery at Rodney Parade


Newport County 2 (Matt 54, Pring 67)

Colchester United 0


Attendance: 3,512



Newport County        WWDDWLDLWW 

Colchester United     LWWWLWWWLL           



Good win despite not firing on all cylinders



Colchester been a bit of bogey side but key today to keep shape, patience and not get done by the sucker punch

Cold, sunny with a keen breeze. Pitch in decent condition but again a little slippery on times.

Frustrating first half of few chances but kept nerve with passing and worked hard to protect lead.

First goal was key today and settled County down.

County made just the one change from the FA Cup win at Met Police last Saturday with Antoine Semenyo coming in for Josh Sheehan who was on the bench. County adopted a 4-4-2 formation with Semenyo tucking in the early stages to play left midfield. The early stages were low key with Colchester setting a precedent holding the ball well and making some patient moves but County were untroubled at the back. County were effective on the break with Willmott giving an outlet right side and Colchester were alert dealing with a couple of searching crosses into the box. The game was interrupted by several free kicks and the pace remained quite slow with Colchester happy to work the ball from the back. On minutes, a thoughtful Colchester move initiated by Wright who made the most of space caused problems for County. He linked well to find Szmodics and his slipped pass invited ex-County striker Frank Nouble the chance to shoot from 25 yards which Day pushed away. County made efforts to work the flanks with some good moves left side involving Butler and Semenyo but another former County player Ryan Jackson was sturdy in his defending at right back. County changed tact to work some straighter more direct passes to test the Colchester centre backs with Matt working Prosser with some strong runs. County were left frustrated by several of the calls with the referee allowing some of the cynical antics to go on which encouraged the behaviour. On 28 minutes, Matt was telegraphed by a tackle from behind by Kent which warranted a booking but no card was forthcoming. From the resulting free kick, Colchester struggled to clear and Demetriou warmed the keeper hands with a header from 14 yards. Colchester continued to stick their plan passing neatly with Lapslie and Senior busy in midfield and Szmodics clever with his runs across the face of the area. On 35 minutes, County were dealt a blow when Willmott raced forward anticipating an excellent pass from the left flank by Semenyo into the box but he pulled up after slipping on the slick surface. Willmott was replaced by Pring who went left midfield and Semenyo pushed up front to partner Amond and Matt. The match continued to be disrupted by fouls with Prosser then receiving attention for a bloody nose but there was little quality on offer as half time approached. Senior continued to cause problems for County with some darting runs down the middle to link play and he was menacing again deep in injury time but his shot from edge of the area was well blocked by Demetriou.

The second half could only be better and County came out offering more tempo on the ball and better closing down in the final third. Colchester continued with the tact to absorb pressure and pick holes on the break. On 48 minutes, Colchester broke quickly after a County set piece broke down with Dickenson making a strong run and Pipe was forced in a late challenge to disrupt the move and was booked. Colchester had a decent spell for a time with some snappy bright moves keeping the ball low but County marshalled the threat well keeping them at arms length. County persisted with attacking their right flank Bakinson doing some good work to snap up possession and play some precise passes. On 54 minutes, an excellent move saw Pipe overlap to receive a pass from Amond but his dangerous low cross was diverted to concede a corner. Dolan took the corner whipping in an excellent delivery to the front post which Amond read superbly glancing into the six yard box and Matt headed home powerfully. Amond was then close to another moments later after a bright County move across the face of the area but his shot was well blocked by Prosser. On 58 minutes, County had the pockets picked somewhat after a decent move but Dolan lost possession allowing Wright to penetrate down them middle but his low shot from 25 yards was comfortable for County keeper Day. Colchester made an attacking change soon after with Dickenson replaced by Mandron. County keep their boldness attacking with verve with Pring making some strong supporting runs and County had a free kick in a threatening position after Dolan was checked by Szmodics on the left side of the box. Senior was booked for contesting the decision but the free kick by Butler was clipped too low and cleared by the head of Jackson. Colchester kept plugging away with some intricate passing forcing play deeper and with County somewhat untidy with their clearances they saw the ball coming back. On 65 minutes, Colchester had a half chance when Lapslie blasted a volley well over from the edge of the area after a loose nervous clearance.  County got the important second goal on 67 minutes and this time it came from some intelligent use of the ball keeping it low and slick. Matt did well to find Dolan and he played a clever pass inside to find Bakinson. Pring must have read the move making an excellent run to receive a low pass splitting the centre of the Colchester and finish confidently from 12 yards with a shot into the right corner. Colchester became increasingly direct in the latter stages of the game with some testing balls in behind but County remained vigilant to clear effectively. On 75 minutes, Semenyo did well with a strong run on the right side of the area only to be clipped by Prosser who was booked. Colchester made another change soon after with Lapslie replaced by Gondoh. Senior persisted with his strong runs and went close 78 minutes when an opportunist shot from 20 yards was deflected off Franks and looped onto the bar. With Colchester committed to push men forward, County had a great chance to add a third on 80 minutes. It came from a direct pass which put Semenyo one on one with Prosser and he ghosted into the area with a dynamic run only to see his low powerful effort parried in the right corner. Colchester made their final change on 82 minutes with ex-County forward Aaron Collins replacing Senior. Collins went left flank to force play into the corner in the final minutes which saw County under some territorial pressure. On 85 minutes, Colchester were close when Collins did well to thread a low pass down the left side of the box to find the effervescent Szmodics. Despite his shot being blocked, Nouble was well positioned but his shot on the turn from 8 yards was cleared near the goaline by Demetriou. County were struggling to clear their lines and Gondoh made the most of stray pass before driving forward but his low shot from 25 yards fizzed wide of the right post. County made a change soon after with Semenyo replaced by Harris. Colchester kept plugging away and Szmodics remained the most threat with another snapshot from 16 yards which Day read well. County made their final change in first minute of 6 minutes injury with O’Brien replacing Dolan. County had a chance to add gloss to the score three minutes into injury time when Bakinson did well to snap up the loose ball and thread a good pass to Harris right side of the box. He tricked his way past left back Vincent-Young who slipped and he danced his way into the box before shooting from an acute angle but keeper Barnes got a finger on the ball but the ball was still not safe. Amond anticipated and looked certain to score back post but his effort struck the bar and went to safety. County saw out the final minutes without too much concern to get a deserved if not somewhat scrappy win which the crowd appreciated.

Day (7) –  had little to do first half but kicked well often with distance. Did well dealing with crosses second half showing safe hands and well positioned to make some good

Pipe (7) –  determined and disciplined, put under some pressure from Dickenson first half but after getting booking early in second half adapted, alert clearing danger.

Butler (7) – restricted on crosses today, cancelled out by Jackson, but was compact with his defending and bright getting forward offering plenty of energy final third.

Demetriou (8) – won his headers and kept concentration dealing with ball in behind to distribute effectively. Did well with decisions knowing when to get tight and drop off

Franks (8) – dominated the aerial duals and made some important interventions and blocks. gave little change in behind with some robust tackles.

Bakinson (8) – was quick to the ball and recover making himself difficult to beat with strength. Passing was precise and did well when he went right side setting up some slick moves.

Willmott (6) – had few moments to hurt with crosses and found space to difficult to find before his injury and was replaced by:

Pring (7) – did a good job defending and denying space and was bold and strong with his runs. Took him position well for the goal finishing with composure.

Dolan (6) –  kept passing ticking over and link play but found space at a premium. Kept well working off the ball and the set pieces he provided were good.

Semenyo (6) –  struggled to get into the game first half and did better when he went up top. Did a decent job when he went right side but often came inside.

Matt (7) – did well in the air and despite not winning every challenge did enough to unsettle. Upped his game second half on and off the ball and took his chance well.

Amond (7) –  worked hard throughout and showed versatility when he dropped into midfield and defend. Link play was intelligent and deserved late goal for his efforts.



Strengths –
composed, patient side and created some good passing moves and were quick getting forward.  

Weaknesses –  centre backs switched off on times and a little casual. They over did some passing and when they went direct they were powderpuff offering little aerial threat up front.

Opportunities –  they slowed game down first half and had a decent spell with they picked up the tempo of the game before fading and slipping back into direct play.
Threats –
 Szmodics link play around area and eye for a shot. Senior darting runs down the middle and Wright was strong carrying the ball forward.

R East (7) – ignored the cynical play, frustrated both sides first half with some inconsistency with decisions but better after the break letting game flow well

Tyreeq Bakinson – didn’t have any clearcut chances but did a lot of important work box to box and sharpness to the ball and decisive passing was key.  


County struggled to get into their stride first half with Colchester happy to stifle and slow the game down at every opportunity. County were struggling to work the corners with their usual swagger but changed tact well to go more direct and put pressure more through the middle turning the centre backs. With sides coming to Rodney Parade more content to block space and deny County opportunities in the corners, they will need to show flexibility with their passes and when they work centre backs it becomes a war of attrition. When County picked up the tempo of the game second half they found increasing space in the middle and you felt when they got the ball down with more zip a goal would come. Set pieces again proved key but it was important County were patient and disciplined today and it was a matured performance. Next up is Cheltenham Town away who are fighting for their future in league two, despite a good win at Notts County today but they have tightened up at the back. They will make the game scrappy, physical and limit space in the middle with robust players like midfielder Atanga and centre back Boyle. County will need to deal with the aerial approach, match their work ethic and bide their time in this one.