Newport County v Macclesfield Town

Tuesday 2nd October 2018   k.o 3:00pm

Sky Bet Football League Two  

 

Report from Mark Vickery at Rodney Parade

 

Newport County 3 (Butler 29, Demetriou pen 59, Matt 90 +7)

Macclesfield Town 3 (Fitzpatrick pen 11, pen 82, Kelleher 6)

 

Attendance: 2,624

 

Form:

Newport County        DWWLWWLWWW    

Macclesfield Town    LDDDLDLLLLD               

 

 

Late Matt goal rescues a deserved point

 

 

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
County have keeper Joe Day back to bolster the defence. Macclesfield are rock bottom for a reason so key County assert their game from the offset

CONDITIONS
Mild, cloudy with light breeze. Pitch in decent condition and slick on top.

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Passive flat start but this side never know they are beaten.

TURNING POINT
Bit a rollercoaster but Butler goal turned the game around

THE MATCH
County made a few changes matching up to the finishing side against Cambridge. Cooper replaced O’Brien slotting into the three man midfield and Matt continued in the three up top with Sheehan sacrificed to the bench. County also had keeper Joe Day back in the side with Nick Townsend name substitute. County gave Macclesfield an early warning inside the first minute when Demetriou delivered a long throw on the left side of the area which saw Macclesfield nervously cleared to the penalty spot and Matt thrashed a volley just wide of the right post. Macclesfield were bright with Marsh jigging about across the face of the area. On 5 minutes, Marsh cut inside from the left flank and blasted a shot well over from 25 yards. On 6 minutes, County conceded a cheap corner with some lazy defending in the right corner. Left back Fitzpatrick put in a decent delivery towards the back post and Kellher made the most of generous space offered by County heading into the left corner from 8 yards. County made efforts to pick up the tempo of the game fending off a lot of pulling and grabbing Macclesfield employed to stifle their game. On 10 minutes, County were close when a Butler free kick from the right side was glanced just over the bar by Franks from 10 yards. County were further behind on 11 minutes when they switched off momentarily allowing a ball to pinpointed into the area from the left flank. Marsh was again the player giving County the headache when he got goalside of the Butler and collapsed in a heap inside the box. The referee awarded a penalty and Fitzpatrick drove the penalty low into the left corner beyond the grasp of Day. County regained a foothold in the game with some better cohesion in the middle of the pitch drawing a number of fouls by Macclesfield. On 20 minutes the referee issued the first of many cards when Cooper was caught late by a low tackle by Wilson and he got a yellow card. County made efforts to get the ball down and measure their passes to turn the Macclesfield defence and complimented this well with some direct play to use Matt. On 25 minutes, Butler threaded a quick pass down the left side of the pitch which Amond read taking his run past Hodgkiss but his shot from an acute angle which was held well by O’Hara. The flurry of bookings continued with County shifting the ball well with Cooper again on the end of heavy challenge by Vicenti and Kellher kicking the ball away in disgust. On 28 minutes, County found some vulnerability down the heart of the Macclesfield midfield when Semenyo exploded through the middle and his low shot from 20 yards was well blocked by Lowe. County were back in the game on 29 minutes when a quick corner on the left side saw Cooper play a short ball to the front post for Amond who had the vision to pick out the late run into the box by Butler. He showed good composure to finish drilling his low effort through the crowd from 10 yards. Macclesfield were keen to use Blissett as an outlet with his towering frame but despite winning some headers County marshalled the threat well. County right back Forbes came more into the game as half time approached and he delivered an excellent cross on 32 minutes cutting in from the right flank but the ball dropped just ahead of Matt at the back post. Macclesfield were keen to block out the flanks but County had other tricks up their sleeve creating some neat enterprising moves down the middle. On 38 minutes, Macclesfield had a warning when Semenyo dropped off deep to collect a pass from Bakinson before drilling a rising shot from 30 yards over the bar. On 42 minutes, reversed the logic with a bright move from deep and Cooper made a good run down the middle but this time County played the ball to left flank to pick out a run from Butler. He whipped over a great cross to the back post which Amond adjusted well to hook a volley on the turn just over from 8 yards. On the stroke of half time, County were close to an equaliser when Demetriou went on strong run down the middle but his low shot from 30 yards fizzed just wide of the right post.

County started the second half where they left off forcing a series of corners in the first 5 minutes. Macclesfield dealt with the aerial ball but when County moved the ball short they were anxious defending. On 50 minutes, a Butler corner from the right side was well met by Amond who dropped off well to anticipate but his header from 10 yards was tipped over by O’Hara. Macclesfield were struggling to put five passes together with County eager to snap up possession and another move down the middle on 55 minutes, saw Cooper fend off a tackle by Maycock before hitting an effort from 25 yards over the bar. On 58 minutes, Macclesfield keeper O’Hara was booked for time wasting with County going up the gear. On 60 minutes, the pressure paid off when Amond glanced a great header inside which went down the middle catching Macclesfield defence off guard and Kelleher was coaxed into a tackle from behind on Matt. The referee awarded a penalty and booked the defender who was very fortunate not to get sent off. Demetriou stepped confidently with a firm penalty in the right corner beyond the keeper. County were buoyant peppering Macclesfield with crosses and another cross by Forbes was met well by Amond despite stretching from 8 yards but the keeper read it well. Macclesfield settled back into the game with a more composed spell with Blissett switching to the right flank and Wilson to the left side. On 70 minutes, Cooper was in the book for a clumsy challenge getting the wrong side of Arthur. The game degenerated with several fouls and Macclesfield had Blissett in the book for preventing Semenyo a run down the left flank moments later. Macclesfield made another change on 72 minutes with Smith replacing Wilson. Marsh was then booked for kicking the ball away with County eager to get on with the game. County kept probing away with Macclesfield sitting deeper and happy to play direct with Smith and Blissett prepared to hold the ball and buy time. The final substitutions were made on 80 minutes with Napa replacing Athur for Macclesfield and County put on another attacking option with Harris going right midfield in place of Semenyo. On 82 minutes, County lost the ball cheaply in the right corner and allowed Macclesfield to break and force a corner on the left flank. From the resultant corner, Vicenti delivered a harmless looking cross back towards the edge of the area and Demetriou appeared to tangle with Blissett with arm striking the ball. The referee awarded a somewhat debatable penalty with County claiming he had been impeded. Fitzpatrick took the penalty slotting into the right corner. Franks was belatedly booked for contesting the decision. County kept plugging away with Bakinson again making hay of the space in the middle on 86 minutes blasting a low shot from 25 yards which the keeper held well low down. Amond was then booked a frustration threatened to creep in for County and they were nearly caught out on 88 minutes when a quick move from left to right released Marsh on the right side of the box and he cut back away from Butler but directed his effort well wide of the left post. County went increasingly direct in the final minutes put in several testing crosses and met in the box. In the second minute of injury time, another corner from the right side by Butler was immaculate and Amond leapt high at the back post only to see his header crash against the bar and drop to safety. Then on 94 minutes, another cross from the right side this time by Forbes was precise in picking out the run of Bakinson back post and his header from inside the six yard was somehow clawed over the bar. Macclesfield made a late change to run down the clock with Pearson replacing Marsh but this added another minute. County were unfazed and pushed keeper Joe Day up in the final minutes to contest in the box. Macclesfield paid a heavy price for not clearing the ball effectively in the seventh minute of injury time when Bakinson collected a loose clearance on the right side of the box. He chipped a deft precise cross into the six yard box and Matt expertly glanced into the left corner beyond the keeper which raised the roof at Rodney Parade.

Day (6) –  was not overworked in this match. Kicked well and handled well but perhaps allowed to defence to sit deep on times defending crosses.  

Forbes (6) –  first half needed to demand ball more and push back Blissett and he when he was bold his crosses were decent. Came alive second half but positional play can be better

Butler (7) – provided fair quota of crosses despite being well tracked by Marsh. Was put under some pressure late on when County were stretched but remained composed to clear

Demetriou (6) –  didn’t have his own way in the aerial duals and was a little sluggish reading the game. Took his penalty well and provided several good long throws.

Franks (6) – won his headers but got pulled around a lot when he allowed players to roam in front of him. Was a nuisance again on set pieces and unlucky not to score.

Bennett (6) – did well in 50-50 challenges and tried to sit deep and anchor play but never really asserted in the game. Kept passing simple and tidy ticking over.

Bakinson (7) what he did today was important, picking holes down the middle and carried athleticism in around the box. Denied several times by good saves but set up late goal.

Cooper (6) –  had spells in and out of the game. Did his best work when he got the ball earlier tackling bravely and shifted passes quickly but shooting was wayward.

Matt (8) – won his fair quota of headers and did well to close down defender off the ball. His hold up play was sharp and showed clinical finishing inside the six yard box.

Amond (7) –  showed good awareness with his link play and headers. Had a couple of decent chances back post, worked tirelessly and deserved a goal for his efforts

Semenyo (6) –  made some strong runs down the middle and when he got a head of steam up gave problems. Need to be more selfish on times going for crosses when shots were on.

 

 

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths –
they played to their strengths and they had to because a lot of weaknesses were evident. Worked the front line well with good combinations when they got final third.

Weaknesses –  central defenders were slow when turned, gave away more fouls than any other side this season, midfield was light physically and showed little patience to hold ball.

Opportunities –  they were flexible across the front three swapping players and went more direct late on in the game to make the ball stick better.
Threats –
 Marsh was busy and inventive. Blissett robust in the air and Wilson runs in behind. Fitzpatrick passed better than any other player on the pitch

OFFICIALS
T Kettle (5) – no sure where all the yellow cards came from because it was not a dirty game. Both penalties were questionable especially the second and missed a lot of the pulling.


MAN OF THE MATCH
Jamille Matt – took up some great positions and benefits from service County can provide. His general game was good and got County out of jail today.

IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

County have conceded 11 goals in the last three home league games and need to address the handicap to stand any chance remaining in the top half of the table. The low key start to the game and passive approach against a side struggling for confidence is difficult to fathom as the County midfield sat back and invited pressure. It took the second goal to get angry and they were able to work their way back into the game from knowhow against Cambridge. Macclesfield set their stall out to block out the channel and their full backs had decent games but there were often options for County down the middle which they didn’t always take. County have not looked as stable playing four at the back although it has got them goals at the moment they being left exposed too easily. County will need to adjust the midfield against Forest Green away this Saturday with Cooper not able to play against his parent club but they will also need to be more assertive with possession and not allow Forest Green develop their neat passing game from the back. It will be key County press play and stem the flow to Reid who is often left isolated and reliant on support to be effective.