Newport County v Notts County

Saturday 17th February 2018   k.o 17:30pm

Sky Bet Football League Two


Report from Mark Vickery at Rodney Parade


Newport County 1 (Franks 24, Harris 26, Matt 90+5)

Notts County (Hemmings 12, Dennis 87) 


Attendance: 2,935



Newport County        LWWD      

Notts County              DLLL



Matt finish seals late win



Notts County are under some pressure this season after a poor start and spending big so key they are got at early on and not allowed to settle.

Clear spells, mild with keen breeze. Pitch was in excellent condition.

Responded well after early setback, inventive with the ball controlling large parts of the game

Two goals in two minutes turned game on its head.

County made a couple of changes with David Pipe replaced by Tyler Forbes at right back. There was another change up top with Mark Harris resuming his partnership with Padraig Amond and Jamille Matt was sacrificed to the bench. Notts County had the benefit of keen breeze in the first half and started with purpose forcing County to defend deeply. On 2 minutes, a bright move saw some exchanges across the face of the area and Hemmings struck a low snapshot which Day read well low down. County pinpointed some good passes from deep down the flanks to turn Notts County and County had a good situation moments later when Husin checked the run of Harris right side of the area. Dolan whipped in a decent delivery which Amond was close to getting a touch but Fitzsimons held well. Notts continued to press and work hard off the ball with ex-Wales international David Vaughan prompting moves in the middle and County keeper Joe Day was forced into a couple of hurried clearances. County were bright in their movement on the left flank but were caught out on 11 minutes when Harris lost possession and Hewitt measured a good low pass for Boldewijn to race onto. His pace took him into the right corner and his neat low cross into the six yard box was turned home by Hemmings ahead of Demetriou. Notts County were keen to play direct using Stead as an outlet but overplayed several passes on the wind. County continued to probe away with Harris and Amond enterprising with the ball at their feet and Dolan and Bakinson coordinating some good moves across the middle of the pitch. On 24 minutes, County worked a good exchange of passes in the left corner forcing Hewitt to concede a corner. From the resultant corner Dolan whipped over an excellent delivery to the back post and Franks ghosted with a header from 6 yards into the right top corner. County were buoyed by the goal and worked hard to close down to unsettle Notts into mistakes. On 26 minutes, Notts indecision proved costly when Amond stole possession off Hewitt on the right channel and slip a neat pass inside for Harris who made a piercing run into the box before slipping a low shot into the right corner from 14 yards. County were energised by the lead offering a determination to win the ball across the middle and press in the final third. On 28 minutes, Sheehan was booked for a high challenge on Hewitt. Notts continued to persistent with direct play but when their moves broke down County were able to build some momentum on the break with Butler and Forbes keen to support on the flanks. Notts offered most threat on the right side with Boldewijn who was strong with the ball at his feet and County had their work cut out to deny him making crosses. The game degenerated as half time approached with both sides having bits and pieces in and around the area. On 40 minutes, Amond hit a smart snapshot on the turn from 20 yards forcing Fitzsimons into a low save after a patient cohesive move. In first half injury time, County again showed their credentials with a slick move with Notts County chasing shadows and the half time whistle came at welcome time with Dolan about to launch a shot from distance.

Notts County came out for second half more abrasive in their approach riding a couple of challenges which the referee failed to book. On 48 minutes, Sheehan did well in the right corner despite having little option, he shielded the ball coaxing Hewitt into a tackle from behind on the right side of area. Dolan executed a vicious low delivery towards the front post which Amond anticipated well glancing a header which the keeper parried well in the right corner. County had been on the end of several clumsy challenges and much to their frustration they had another booking issued when Bakinson stretched to tackle Thomas tracking back on the right flank. County were rewarded with a series of corners from their pressure which Notts managed to get safe but they were struggling to find cohesion going forward. Notts made their first change on 62 minutes with Crawford replacing Vaughan in midfield and the move appeared to give them more balance. County continued to enjoy the better of the possession but chances were limited to outside the box. On 68 minutes, a free kick in the middle of the pitch saw Dolan pinpoint Demetriou well on the right side of the area and his header found Amond. He had little time to adjust under pressure from Duffy and his low volley on the turn from 14 yards went wide of the right post. On 70 minutes, Nusin was booked for a tackle from behind on Harris near the left flank with the diminutive striker threatening to run the length of the pitch. County made a change soon after with Marsh-Brown replacing Sheehan and Notts County responded soon after with Stead replaced by Dennis. Notts upped their efforts in the final stages opting for a 4-3-3 formation and more desire to pass the ball low to work County. County had a great chance to kill the game on 75 minutes, when they broke efficiently on the right side with Forbes combining well to find Harris. His low cross from near the byline was met by Amond with a well-timed run but his low effort from 10 yards was saved superbly by Fitzsimons with his feet in the right corner. Crawford continued to offer influence with his passing and link play in midfield. On 78 minutes Crawford did well to run off and exchange a pass with Hemmings but his run was abrupted by Demetriou. From 25 yards, Jones took the free kick but his poor effort around the right side of the wall went well wide of the post. County made another change on 83 minutes with Dolan replaced by Cooper and Notts responded with another attacking change as Kellet replaced Jones. Notts forced the issue in the final minutes playing 3-4-3 and County marshalled the threat well with Dennis and Hemmings combining well across the face of the area. County switched off momentarily and paid the price on 87 minutes when Boldewijn overlapped well on the left side to play a deft cross to the back post which appeared to hang on the wind and Dennis ghosted in between Day and Demetriou to stab the ball home. County responded immediately being Matt on up top for Harris and they went on the offensive in the 5 minutes of injury time forcing some long throws and corners. Deep into the last minute of injury time, County were awarded a free kick on the right flank after Franks had been checked by Dennis. Forbes delivered an excellent cross the back post which Amond read well guiding a superb header into the six yard box and Matt stole in to finish in the right corner.  County held out for a richly deserved victory and got a warm applause at the end for their enterprise and persistency.


Day (7) –  certainly the less busy keeper but kept focus well. Put under pressure first half from back passes but handled crosses well and showed safe hands low down.

Forbes (7) – decent game, tackled well and held his position better to make some well-timed runs. Offered more cutting edge of crosses lifting the ball into better areas.

Butler (7) – put under pressure in the first half and forced to track back but still found a head of steam to get forward. Supplied less crosses today but those he did were very good.

Demetriou (6) –  arguably at mistake on both goals not cutting out crosses but his general game was good, heading strongly and clearing well. Effective on set pieces

Bennett (6) – put under some pressure by Hemmings who turned off him several times, but was alert to danger and kept defence organised for large parts of the game.

Franks (7) – composed in the air, tackled well low down and kept his passes simple but efficient. Always a threat on set pieces and got deserved goal today

Bakinson (7) – had a decent game, saw a lot of the ball and influenced game a lot until his booking. Passing was smart and intricate but restricted on shots today  

Dolan (8) – sharp about the pitch today, competed well and went out to win the ball and clever with it, provided a fair quota of set pieces which should really have yielded more goals.

Sheehan (6) –  worked hard, started well orchestrating several decent moves early on but suffered after booking and forced to play outside the box for large parts

Harris (7) –  continues to impress, kept ball well under pressure and worked hard to close down off the ball. Set up several opportunities and took his chance clinically.

Amond (8) –  prepared to come out wide and worked tirelessly despite being restricted on chances. Showed a good understanding with Harris and set up winner brilliantly.



Strengths –
pressed play well and were physically strong but went direct and relied on opportunism for large parts of the game

Weaknesses –  both full backs were nervy and prone to passing errors. Centre backs slow to cover ground and they relied on direct hopeful passes which were untidy.

Opportunities – direct in the first half but switched tact to getting the ball down late on which created more threat but unable to sustain.
Threats –
 Boldewijn pace and crosses right side. Hemmings and Dennis were effective in around the area with link play. Thomas picked holes well on the left flank.

A Young (7) – generally consistent, let the game flow and some decisions were puzzling when they just looked like collisions he gave free kicks.

Matt Dolan – showed an eagerness today, took responsibility with the ball and bossed the middle of the pitch. Set piece execution was accurate and caused problems throughout. 


After conceding an early goal, County responded well to assume control for long spells in this game which was anything but dull. The direct aerial approach employed by Notts was largely ineffective forcing them change their tact. County were snappy and intelligent with the ball at their feet and when they got a head of steam up, Notts County struggled to deal with the tempo. Despite not creating that many clear-cut chances the thought and method of the approach play was good today and appreciated by the crowd. County had chances to add a third from some inventive set pieces but then switched off only briefly in this match allowing Notts a chance they really didn’t deserve. County lost some control of the match when Dolan left the pitch and perhaps needed to make the Matt substitution earlier with Notts asserting their passing game better in the final stages. The late goal was a rich reward for persistence and belief but County will know they need to kill sides off better to harbour ambitions of finishing well up in this league. Next up are Grimsby Town who know County striker Amond and Matt well as former players. Grimsby have started steadily and will offer a physical threat but a lot of hold up play going the Vernam with able runners Thomas and Hooper a threat.