Swindon Town v Newport County

Saturday 8th December 2018   k.o 3:00pm

Sky Bet Football League Two 

 

Report from Mark Vickery at the County Ground

 

Swindon Town 2 (Doughty 1, Woolery 82)

Newport County 1 (Amond 47)

 

Attendance: 6,204

 

Form:

Newport County        LDLWWWLWdL

Swindon Town           LdLWLWLWWL  

 

 

Stuttering away form problem for County

 

 

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
Swindon have blown hot and cold this season and have young side so key County get on top of them early and don’t allow any momentum

CONDITIONS
Mild, showery rain with strong wind. Pitch was decent condition but glossy on top

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Another slow start and failed to adapt to the conditions on times with bad decisions making.

TURNING POINT
The opening goal wasn’t pivotal but never really recovered from it.

THE MATCH
County retained the same starting side that drew at Wrexham last weekend with Andrew Crofts named captain. Wrexham had the benefit of a strong wind first half and went on the attack right side from the kick off. Woolery made a positive run near the right side of the area and despite County have two players around the ball, he was able to chip a ball that flashed deep and Woolery in acres of space smashed a low shot on the turn into the net from 8 yards. County made efforts to respond immediately picking holes deep inside the Swindon half with Sheehan and Bakinson prominent. On 3 minutes, Sheehan found space just inside the right side of the area and dragged his effort wide of the left post when he should have tested the keeper. Twine was a useful outlet left side putting pressure on County right back Pipe with some tricky runs which on times were encouraged with no tackle forthcoming. With wind in their faces, County made efforts to clear using Matt as an outlet but they found ball retention difficult and this allowed Swindon to counter in waves with Twine and Woolery a nuisance with their pace in behind. Swindon went down meekly under a number of early challenges and Demetriou was booked on 8 minutes for clattering Adebayo from behind when a direct ball caught County out. Swindon kept forcing the issue with the wind encouraging them forward and County had to deal with a couple of searching crosses from either side of the box forcing Day into punches. County struggled to sustain any cohesion with their moves and looked more effective on the break. On 15 minutes, Butler did well to overlap left side and cut back a deft cross into the area which Bakinson anticipated but his header from 10 yards was wide of the left post when he should have worked the keeper. Pipe took a knock moments later after a run down the middle was interrupted and continued after receiving treatment. Swindon continued to cause problems down the left side with Twine allowed to roam at ease. On 18 minutes, County had a let off when Twine carried the ball down the left flank and danced past several players and with no tackle forthcoming his threaded pass for Adebayo set him goalside of O’Brien. From an acute angle Adebayo struck a low shot towards the right corner which Day got a finger on, directing onto the right post and the danger was cleared. County continued to look indecisive in possession with the middle of the pitch a problem and Swindon were offered another opportunity on 20 minutes when Sheehan was careless with a pass. Doughty seized the ball and an opportunist effort from 30 yards fizzed just over the bar. Taylor then blasted another effort wide of the right post from 30 yards with Swindon dominating the possession and County forced deep. On 23 minutes, Landolo was booked for a reckless challenge on Franks left side of the area. On 26 minutes, Pipe was replaced by Semenyo after struggling to recover from his earlier knock. County adjusted to 4-3-3 with Franks deputising at right back and Butler tucking in as left back. County had a better spell of possession in the second period of the half showing more care with the ball but they had to be wary of the long balls in behind with Woolery and Adebayo having pace to chase the ball down hard in the corner. On 30 minutes, Swindon prised open another shot to test County keeper Joe Day when Woolery cut inside with too much ease and his bold shot from 25 yards was held well by Day. County were struggling to clear their lines on times with the wind holding ball back and Swindon won some corners which County managed to get safe. On 40 minutes, Swindon were close to a second goal again when Twine jinked inside on the left side of the box and he curled an effort from 20 yards around the right post. County had a better spell of possession on the stroke of half time and created a good move on 43 minutes in the left corner with Butler and Sheehan combing to set up Bakinson edge of the area. He struck a first time shot under pressure from Nelson which worked the keeper but he held the shot well. County were forced into another change on the stroke of half time with Crofts replaced by Bennett who went in central midfield. On 45 minutes, a pattern play that typified the first half saw County have a throw in deep inside the Swindon half which Demetriou launched into the area. Swindon stifled the move and broke on the counter with Dunne picking out Adebayo and his shot from distance was wide of the right post. In the third minute of first half injury time, a Swindon move down the middle saw O’Brien misjudge the flight of the ball on wind and he was forced to check Adebayo. O’Brien was booked and the resulting free kick by Taylor from 35 yards fizzed just wide of the right post.

County came out second half offering more urgency and were back in the game on 47 minutes. Semenyo did well to initiate the move with a powerful run across the face of the area. Despite losing possession, he fought back well to win the ball off Landolo and chip a precise cross into the area which Amond read well to head into the right corner from 10 yards. There was altercation not long after the goal with Adebayo catching Matt late in a challenge. He was booked and in the crowd of several players confronting the referee Semenyo was booked. County were buoyed forward by the wind behind them and being back in the game with the midfield further advanced. On 52 minutes, Sheehan did well across the face of the area to shield the ball and he was caught late by Dunne. From a threatening situation, Butler squandered the opportunity curling his effort well over the bar. Swindon set their stall out to play on the break opting for direct play and to use the pace of Woolery and Twine. On 58 minutes, County were nearly caught out when the squandered possession cheaply in the middle and Taylor found Woolery left side and with County stretched but Bennett did well to cover back and time his tackle. County continued to probe away forcing Swindon into some hurried clearances. On 60 minutes, County had another decent opportunity this time from a long throw right side which Demetriou launched into the box and with Swindon struggling to clear Bakinson struck a volley from 12 yards which he couldn’t keep down. County made a change on 67 minutes with Josh Labadie making a welcome return to League Two action after a long lay off from a knee injury. Swindon continued to look dangerous on the break with Twine strong in carrying the ball into the left corner. On 70 minutes, Twine blasted a low strike from an acute angle after getting the better of Franks but his low effort was well held by Day. County were at their best when they took a grip of the ball and kept their patience to play. On 73 minutes, a great move from left to right by County with Labadie orchestrating the move through the middle saw Semenyo released right side of the box but his low dangerous cross was diverted well by Nelson. From the resulting corner by Butler, the ball flashed dangerously deep and Demetriou was inches away with a stretching header going over. Swindon made another change soon after to pep up their approach play with McGlashan coming on right side. On 76 minutes, County were again in a good situation forcing Swindon deep inside their own area and a loose clearance was snapped by Butler but he was unable to keep his shot down. Then on 78 minutes, Sheehan had a free kick in decent situation left side of the box but his disappointing effort went into the side netting. Swindon had threatened a few times on the break second half playing the ball into the wind but they forged ahead on 82 minutes after County again lost possession cheaply deep just inside the Swindon half. Amond was left isolated allowing Doughty to snap up possession and with County sat back off the play he was given far too much freedom to come forward and pick out a pass for Woolery. He timed his run inside the box and took the ball around  Day before slotting home into the unguarded net. County made efforts to pick up their game again and had another decent chance on 85 minutes when Sheehan directed an intelligent cross into the area beating both central defenders and Bakinson ghosted in but his tame effort from 8 yards went wide of the left post. Swindon made a defensive change on 87 minutes with Lancashire replacing Woolery. County probed away in the final minutes but with Swindon sitting back they found few chinks of light and Swindon held on for a third league win in a row that closed the gap with the play off zone.

Day (7) –   made a couple of smart instinctive saves low down and important one first half to keep County in game. Kicking was erratic on times facing the wind.

Pipe (4) –  firefighting until injury, pulled all over the place by Twine and failed to get a tackle in. replaced by:

Semenyo (7) – came into the game more second half and was at the heart of the best moves. Did well to protect the ball and work out from tight situations.

Butler (6) – forced to defend deeper today and saw little threat from open play. Did well to provide some good set pieces and generally kept ball on the pitch.

O’Brien (6) – did well in the air but was exposed on times to pace and balls in behind. Got a silly booking from indecision and was always vulnerable after that.

Demetriou (6) – was put under some pressure in the air by Adebayo and made some good interventions after his early booking put his game on edge.

Franks (6) – did well in the aerial duals and marshalled threat away from danger pretty well. Did a job deputising at right back but put under pressure on times.

Bakinson (5) – indifferent game, slow to track the threat and defensively lax but got forward well into some good situations and could have hat trick with more composure.

Crofts (4) – struggled to make any impact on the game and for all his experience the quality of passing and work rate off the ball saw him on the backfoot. Replaced by:

Bennett (6) – did a good job when he was drafted back into defence and read the game making some well-timed tackles passing sensibly, cleared effectively.

Sheehan (5) –  was not in the game enough first half and went hiding but contributed better after half time picking passes. Off the ball appetite to win the ball back was not there

Matt (6) – restricted on chances and first half saw little from him with ball retention poor. Second half offered more influence winning some good headers but kept outside the box.

Amond (6) –  dropping into middle and influence waivered. Took goal well but most effective when got close to Matt and best work came from unsettling defence in and around area.

 

 

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths –
they were bold in the final third and played well in transition using their pace well. Used the conditions better and were ultimately more decisive

Weaknesses –  gave away free kicks in threatening areas and quite cheaply on times. Played a lot of direct hopeful balls which was enough on the day.

Opportunities –  they were quick getting ball forward and kept it low and neat first half before lofting it high into the wind second half to chase down.
Threats –
 Adebayo robust unsettling defenders. Twine had pace and trickery left side, Woolery played across the line well and took up good positions. Doughty runs box to box

OFFICIALS
D Whitestone (7) – got the key decisions right but slowed down game on times with interruptions to explain instead of getting on with game.


MAN OF THE MATCH
Kayne Woolery – been ordinary in other games against County but composed scoring winner. came alive today thriving on passes in behind and linked well rarely wasting a pass.

IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

County have now gone 6 league game without an away league win and whilst they continue to gift sides early goals which settle them down, they are always going to be on the backfoot. Against the elements first half, leadership was lacking with Crofts struggling in midfield to get to the ball early and the untidy passing allowed Swindon to mount waves of attacks at will. County were forced possibly into playing the same starting line-up, but they will need to freshen up their personal and tactics for the Wrexham game especially in the middle of the park. When County did show the nerve to hold the ball and work the ball with patience they were most effective but they just didn’t do that enough. Today, they were at the most vulnerable when they lost possession often in good situations having long throws or set piece that broke down cheaply. County were indifferent and if they are to remain top 7 there is just not enough depth to cover injuries and suspensions and this has been evident in the last couple of months. The performance may not have been to standard today but the most disappointing element was for all their experience they had over a youthful brash Swindon, they never used it. Next up is a big chance to redeem the fans with the cup replay at home to Wrexham. County need to learn from the first game and make the game quicker and set precedence with the tempo and not allow Wrexham to dictate it with their intricate passing game.