Boden strike seals hard-fought victory

Report by Mark Vickery from Adams Park

Wycombe Wanderers 0
Newport County 2 (Bean 62 own goal, Boden 89)
Attendance: 2,940

Form:
Newport County LLdWLDLL
Wycombe Wanderers WLdWWLLL

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
County side has settled look about it with the same starting line-up and bench. Wycombe will come out so important we keep shape and time runs forward

CONDITIONS
Cold, clear periods with little breeze. Best pitch this season

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Measured, battling display, kept focus and took our chances.

TURNING POINT
County getting in front settled them and they always looked capable of adding to score

THE MATCH
County manager John Sheridan retained the same starting line-up and bench and their positives signs from the offset with County organised at the back and releasing some neat passes forward. County created some decent moves down the right flank with Barnum-Bobb keen to get involved. On 10 minutes, County swept forward from deep after stifling a Wycombe break and with Wycombe left back Joe Jacobsen struggling to recover Barnum-Bobb found O’Sullivan on the right side of the area. He did well manoeuvre space for a shot but dragged his shot from an acute angle wide of the left post. Wycombe were keen to utilise their right channel with ex-Luton right back Harriman keen to penetrate and test County left back Barrow. County held firm despite a couple of searching Wycombe crosses and continued to look lively going forward with John-Lewis taking up some good positions deep inside the Wycombe area. On 18 minutes, Wycombe had an opportunist effort from distance when a shot by O’Nien on the left side of the area drifted wide of the right post. County enjoyed some good possession with Byrne and O’Sullivan seeing the ball early in midfield and they continued to penetrate well with Ansah and John-Lewis in advancing positions but their shots on the turn were well blocked. Wycombe set their stall out to counter and this did this well with both Jacobsen and Harriman comfortable on the ball. On 25 minutes, Wycombe had a free kick in decent central position just outside the area and Jacobsen struck a powerful effort which County keeper Joe Day was able to smother. Wycombe continued with their approach to work the flanks and look for first time crosses but County kept focussed and able to clear effectively. On 30 minutes, Harriman was again pivotal with a move on the right side and when the cross went deep towards Holloway he guided it back into the area presenting Kretzschmar with a half chance but his low shot from 8 yards was well read by Day. Wycombe stepped up their game with a couple of shots from distance by Thomspon which Bennett blocked well. County had a decent spell just before half time forcing a series of corners and went close on 40 minutes when an O’Sullivan corner from the right side was misjudged by Wycombe keeper Ingram and allowed to drop deep to Ansah who hit a decent downward volley inches wide of the left post. County were encouraged forward and went close on 44 minutes when Barrow did well to continue his run to the left corner of the area and cut back an excellent cross which again caught the hesitant keeper in two minds. John Lewis was able to meet the ball under pressure from Ingram but his header from 10 yards drifted just over the bar. Wycombe had a decent effort in first half injury when Thompson again struck and opportunist effort from right side of the box linking well with Bean but his rasping low effort was pushed away well by Day

Wycombe made efforts to pick up the tempo of their game after the break but were often let down by poor passing or distribution from crosses. County continued to look the more decisive team and good threaded pass from Byrne down the right side of the area was seized upon well by Ansah but defender McCarthy appeared to handle the ball just near the edge of the area and found himself booked. Wycombe probed away offering plenty of running with Bean thrashing a wild effort wide of the right post from 25 yards on 55 minutes. Wycombe made an early change with Hayes replacing Ugwu up front. On 57 minutes, County had an opportunity from a corner on the right side which O’Sullivan provided to pinpoint the unmarked Donacien at front post but he was unable to keep his effort down. Wycombe elected to play increasingly direct hoping to catch County sleeping but the defence remained well marshaled with Wycombe suffering frustration of a few offside decision against them. County eased their way back into the game and took the lead on 62 minutes after Wycombe had struggled to clear a free kick by O’Sullivan on the right side of the area. A weak clearance found its way back into the patch of O’Sullivan who struck a vicious effort into the six yard box which deflected off Wycombe midfielder Bean and beyond the keeper. County were boosted massively by taking the lead and went close again moments later with a snappy move that found the feet of John-Lewis. He jinked past a challenge by McCarthy and unleashed an excellent drive just wide of the right post and bar. County created another bright move on 65 minutes exploiting space well on the right flank and Elito did well to find Ansah who had time to get in a shot on the right side of the area but Ingram reacted well to save low down. Wycombe made another change soon after to pep up their game with Kretzschmar replaced by Wood. Wycombe picked up their game again winning a batch of corners from the industry of Hayes who headed over the bar on 70 minutes when stretching to meet the cross. The game remained competitive in the middle of the pitch with O’Sullivan and Byrne working hard off the ball and O’Sullivan was booked on 75 minutes for a dangerous sliding tackle on O’Nien. County made their first change soon after with Boden replacing Ansah and Wycombe made their final sub with McGinn replacing Bean. Wycombe applied some disjointed pressure in the final ten minutes but County continued to look effective coming forward with Boden and John-Lewis working hard in tandem to close down. County remained composed and were happy to work the corners and Barnum-Bobb received a somewhat harsh booking on 85 minutes for time wasting. County got their second goal on 89 minutes from an excellent kick out by Day. The flight of the ball appeared to deceive McCarthy when put under pressure by John-Lewis and Boden did well to anticipate the loose ball in behind. He kept his composure finishing with a low shot from an acute angle to seal the game. County made another change with Klukowski replacing O’Sullivan and despite Wycombe pressing in five minutes, County held out strongly keeping the ball in the corners at every opportunity

Day (8) — made several important saves low down in the first half and was always alert to crosses claiming well. kicked well throughout
Barnum-Bobb (7) — did well defensively made himself hard to beat, tackled tenaciously and contributed positively in the final third
Barrow (6) — put under some pressure first half by right back and was a little lax closing down crosses. grew into the game and sturdy defending after half time
Donacien (7) — decent game, marked well and won some positive headers. Cleared effectively working the ball forward into some decent areas
Bennett (8) — strong in the air and did a lot of organising and talking keeping defence on their toes. Cleared well when he had to taking no chances
Partridge (7) — gave little away in the aerial duals and was well positioned dealing with and anticipating danger. Put himself about on set pieces without reward
Byrne (7) — better game, was sharper with his use of the ball and had appetite to win and break up play. played some neat passes to turn the Wycombe defence
O’Sullivan (8) — saw a lot of the ball and was bold and decisive when he got the opportunity. Delivered some decent set pieces and went close several times
Elito (6) — in and out of the game, marking and awareness of danger needs improving but picked holes well to turn defence into attack
Ansah (7) — worked the channels well and never gave defenders much respite. Came close on a couple of occasions inside and outside the box
John-Lewis (7) — busy game, put himself across the line and won several decent headers to cause anxiety. Took up some decent positions inside the area to link play

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths — few to note on the night. They were quick to flood forward utilising the channels and work crosses
Weaknesses — struggled to defend down the middle and lack of height in the side. Impatient, passing was wayward and overreliance on crosses
Opportunities — first half they gambled on crosses but went increasingly direct later in the game sacrificing men at the back
Threats — Thompson had an eye for a shot from distance. Kretzschmar box to box and Wood was creative later in the game

OFFICIALS
F Graham (8) — despite a couple of harsh bookings, generally kept game ticking over and got the key decisions right

MAN OF THE MATCH
Tommy O’Sullivan — worked tirelessly, clever with ball at his feet, at the heart of the first goal and went for the jugular providing several vicious crosses

IF YOU WERE JOHN SHERIDAN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
County built on their performance against Portsmouth setting their stall out from the first minute to defend with focus and they were bold coming forward given the opportunity. They worked hard a team with everyone playing their part and this result was very much a collective effort with their hosts lacking cohesion and running out of ideas by the end. County penetrated well first half and always looked capable when they got Ansah or John Lewis playing inside the area. County still need to improve their defending of the left channel and shape with Elito often left roaming and leaving Barrow isolated. County did well to keep the ball live today, working the ball into the right zones and they worked the ball around from the back with nobody shirking responsibility. It is important now County don’t relax. Bristol Rovers away next is likely to be a feistier encounter with the hosts unlikely to be so generous with space. This game could degenerate into a physical battle so it will be important County earn the right to play but also keep their discipline at the same time

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