v Newport County
Saturday 30th March 2019 k.o
Sky Bet Football League Two
Report from Mark Vickery at Huish Park
Yeovil Town 1 (James 73)
Newport County 3 (Willmott 62, Kennedy 66, Marsh-Brown 90+1)
Newport County WWLLWLWLLW
Yeovil Town LLLLWWLLLL
Quality shines through
Yeovil have been on a poor run and struggling for goals so key County don’t give any charity and impose their game from the offset.
Sunny, quite warm and little breeze. Pitch was in decent condition but the heavy watering of the pitch did little to benefit either side with players slipping second half.
OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Defended well throughout, little disjointed first half but raised the bar second half scoring some decent goals.
First goal was always going to be important but Kennedy strike soon after key.
County were forced into a couple of changes up front with Padraig Amond suffering from a slight knock, he was replaced by Ben Kennedy and loanee Harry McKirdy made his debut in place of Adebayo Azeez who was on the bench. Josh Labadie returned to the side in the heart of midfield in place of Tyreeq Bakinson who was substitute and Josh Sheehan came in for Scott Bennett who was injured. Mark O’Brien had recovered from his knock against Cheltenham and resumed in central defence with David Pipe named substitute. Yeovil made the more assertive start with some telegraphed ball from deep to pick out target man Fisher up front but the County defence were vigilant and cleared well. The early stages were scrappy with a number of free kicks in the middle of the pitch with Yeovil midfielder D’Almeida and Josh Labadie involved in some stern challenges. Yeovil were keen to use their right channel with Worthington carrying some strong runs into the corner with the support of right back Grant. County were lively on the break and Yeovil were given a warning on 12 minutes when McKirdy made a clever run right side of the area and span off a challenge by Ojo. He clipped back an excellent cross towards the back post which Willmott was inches from finishing. Yeovil continued to probe away flooding playing forward and Worthington had a shot deflected over from 20 yards after a patient move deep inside the County half. County were struggling for cohesion with Matt picking up on some bits and pieces but McKirdy and Kennedy not always on the same wavelength. Yeovil persisted with some direct balls from deep using Fisher as an outlet who bought some cheap fouls. On 25 minutes, James dragged a free kick wide of the left post with a low speculative effort but County goalkeeper Day was still untested. Yeovil midfielder D’Almeida was in the book on 27 minutes for a clumsy challenge on Labadie as County gradually easy their way into the game. Yeovil continued to probe away with some neat passes across the face of the area and Rogers struck an opportunist effort well over from the right side of the box just on the half hour. County worked hard off the ball to deny space and keep Yeovil at arms-length with Labadie and Sheehan combative in the middle. On 33 minutes, Yeovil were awarded a free kick on the left side of the pitch and James took a quick effort from 30 yards which forced Day to parry wide of the left post. County then had Kennedy in the book on 38 minutes when he tracked back to deny the run from deep by Ojo which was somewhat harsh being his first infringement. Kennedy grew into the game as half time approached forcing Ojo back with some neat feet. On the stroke of half time, County had a great chance to forge ahead when McKirdy did well to slip a low pass to Kennedy who cut back a deft cross near the byline despite the attention of Ojo. Willmott read the cross well and ghosted in back post only to see his volley from 8 yards diverted by Grant. County had a couple of corners in the first half injury time which were well executed but Yeovil managed to get the ball to safety.
County started the second half brighter and may have gone ahead on 50 minutes when some indecision by Yeovil left side of the box defending saw Ojo pick pocketed by Matt. He carried his run into the box but the ball sat up delaying his shot but he lobbed a pass into McKirdy but his volley from 10 yard was pushed away by the keeper. Yeovil kept probing away committing men forward and were exposed on 52 minutes when they lost possession cheaply allowing McKirdy to counter. His run was crudely interrupted by Fisher tracking back who was booked. County were more snappy in the final third creating some good moves out wide with Butler coming into the game. On 55 minutes, Grant found himself the wrong side of Butler and was forced into a mistimed challenge which got him a booking. With the game going from end to end, McKirdy was then booked for a late foul on James in the middle of the pitch with Yeovil threatening on the break. County freshened their approach on 60 minutes when Marsh-Brown replaced McKirdy which maintained their tempo and creativity final third. On 62 minutes, it paid dividends when Butler did well to release Kennedy on the left flank who outfoxed Grant forcing his way to the edge of the area. He showed great vision to delay and pick out the late run into the area by Willmott who glanced a precise header home via the inside of the right post from 10 yards. Yeovil made efforts to respond forcing play back inside the County half with Dobre making some strong runs with the ball at his feet. On 65 minutes, D’Almeida struck an ambitious first time volley from 25 yards which was comfortable going straight at Day. Yeovil made another change on 66 minutes with Abrahams replacing Rogers on the right side. Yeovil were still organising when County went further ahead almost immediately with Kennedy again pivotal carrying a strong run on the left flank. This time he cut inside and went past right back Grant at ease and onto his right foot before blasting a powerful effort from 25 yards brushed a defender and went into the top left corner beyond the keeper Baxter. Yeovil made a change on 70 minutes replacing D’Almeida with Duffus to freshen their midfield. County were forced into a change on 72 minutes with Labadie carrying a slight knock and he was replaced by former Yeovil player Matt Dolan. Yeovil kept plugging away bravely with some disjointed pressure and were back in the game moments later. A low corner on the right side by Abrahams appeared to take County by surprise with James creeping in at the front post to poke a low effort home through the crowd. County went back on the offensive forcing some corners and went close on 82 minutes when some indecision inside the 6 yard box saw Matt stretch to get to a loose ball and he appeared to be held back but the referee was having none of it. Yeovil committed men forward in the final minutes but County were increasingly menacing on the break with Marsh-Brown making some lively runs. On 83 minutes, Marsh-Brown supported a swift counter by County with Willmott and Poole working well in tandem right side. When the cross was cut back, Marsh-Brown was well positioned but his shot from the edge of the area was saved low down. County were forced into a change on 86 minutes with Matt replaced by Azeez. County had a great chance to kill the game on 88 minutes when former County defender Gary Warren delayed making a clearance allowing Azeez to steal possession. He turned back goalside to carry a strong run to the byline and his low cross into the six box just eluded the late run of Willmott. Yeovil made their final change just after with Fisher replaced by Zoko. County remained a threat on the break with Yeovil pushing several players forward. County punished them ruthlessly in the first minute of injury time when Poole made a good tackle and released Marsh-Brown down the right side of the pitch. He jinked past Warren and blasted a superb shot into the top left corner from 14 yards at an acute angle with the keeper grasping thin air. County may have added to their lead in the fifth minute of injury time when Marsh-Brown had a chance to shoot but selflessly set up Azeez with pass but he directed his low effort wide of the right post from 14 yards. County held on comfortably in the final minutes with Poole doing well to construct some good move in the right corner.
Day (7) – had a quiet game and safe with hands. Was forced to come for some crosses but made some good decisions. Kicked well under pressure first half
Poole (7) – steady game, put under some pressure first half by Dobre but settled down well especially second half making some key tackles, contributing with some neat passes
Butler (8) – was forced back in the first half and stifled when he broke through. Grew into the game and initiated first goal very well put in some telling crosses after half time
O’Brien (7) – was on the end of one or two late challenges, very strong in the air, cleared well under pressure and settled down well after some anxious moment first half.
Demetriou (7) – put under pressure by Fisher but won his fair quota of headers. More mobile and efficient with his use of the ball later in the game and menace on set pieces.
Labadie (7) – broke up play well in the middle and used ball efficiently when he got it. Took one or two knocks for his bravery but carried team higher up pitch as game progressed.
Willmott (8) – lots of good work off the ball, linked moves and did better when he went to the right side. Came close a few times with late runs into box and could have had a hat trick.
Sheehan (7) – busy game, was bright and intelligent with the ball at his feet and when he got on top of his game second half, County were most enterprising and threatening.
McKirdy (6) – was the most likely threat first half and unsettled the Yeovil defence but couldn’t find space to open up with his pace, lost ball cheaply on times.
Matt (6) – struggled for dominance in the air and played a little to much with back to goal. Looked a little flat today and didn’t react to some of the crosses put in.
Kennedy (7) – second best early on, too easily beaten by Ojo. Showed flexibility when he went left side and at the heart of the best play creating and rewarded for boldness on goal.
SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths – they worked some decent low moves in spells but couldn’t sustain them. Crosses into the area were generally precise.
Weaknesses – centre backs left big gaps especially down the middle and gamble of flooding men forward always made them vulnerable. Lacked a cutting edge.
they pushed on boldly first half putting in balls in behind and making game
scrappy in the middle but too one paced on times and unable to change tempo.
Threats – Dobre made some bright eager runs, Worthington offered most creativity in tandem with Rogers.
N Kinsley (7) – found his interpretation frustrating on times ignored several off the ball tackles and some of the bookings were unnecessary. Got the key decisions spot on
MAN OF THE MATCH
Robbie Willmott – did good off the ball work, not just on it. always a threat when County counter attacked with late runs into area but prepared to track back and stifle which was key.
IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
County managed the game well today and got stronger as it continued. They were under some pressure first half but it was dealt with well through a combination of good work off the ball snapping at the Yeovil midfield or maintaining focus to clear balls pinged in behind. County needed to raise the tempo of their game from back to front and they did that very competently second half. It was key they had more flexibility which created it when they switched Kennedy to the left flank and Marsh-Brown did well in last half an hour on the pitch. County have plenty of options up front presently but will need to be more assertive in games to keep climbing the league. They did that much better second half and the turnover of their play was always a problem for Yeovil. County now have two appetising home games coming up to test their mettle with an inform Tranmere Rovers side visiting this Saturday. They have closed in on the top 3 in recent weeks so will be interesting to see how bold they are in their tactics. The main threat will come from League Two top scorer Norwood who plays most effective off the last man so key County stifle any telegraphed balls in behind from back to front. Tranmere have some capable players but they do have an ageing squad that can be stretched about but possession will be key.