Mark Vickery
Oct 19 · 9 min read

Disciplined County grind another valuable win

Report from Mark Vickery at Rodney Parade

Newport County 2 (Amond 45+4, Sheehan 56)

Scunthorpe United 1 (O’Brien 49)

Attendance: 3,936


Newport County LWLWLDWWWL

Scunthorpe United LWLWDLLDDW

Scunthorpe have made themselves much harder to beat in recent games so expecting a battle so County need to match the fight first and foremost

Sunny spells, quite breezy but mild. Pitch looked in good condition after the recent heavy run but glossy on top.

Lacked usual fluency but determined and unshaken after conceding

None to note but getting second goal quickly after conceding was helpful

County made a couple of changes with captain Josh Labadie returning after injury in place of Matt Dolan who was on the bench. There was another change in defence with Ryan Inns returning after suspension in place of Kyle Howkins who was named as a substitute. There was an explosive start to the game with County having a great chance to go ahead inside the first minute. From the kick off, Labadie did well to work a quick ball through the middle and Matt put pressure on McArdle in an aerial challenge. Sheehan slipped a good through for Matt who broke free and had opportunity to shoot but set up Amond left side of the area but his shot was saved by Watson. County were on the attack again moments later using the ball well right side and Willmott was scythed down blatantly by Scunthorpe left back Brown. Both the referee and linesman ignored the protests with Brown very lucky to escape with booking with the advantage offering little for County. On 3 minutes, Scunthorpe made a quick raid left side and Colclough had his strong checked by McNamara who got booked. Scunthorpe were happy to break up play and launch direct balls towards Proctor with former Huddersfield striker Novak willing in support. Novak was thwarted with a couple of offsides making runs in behind but the game remained scrappy and lacking cohesion in the middle of the pitch. On 12 minutes, County snapped out from the glue in the middle with Sheehan taken out crudely by Songo’o but the referee again showed leniency failing to penalise with booking. From the resultant free kick, Haynes clipped his effort over the bar when he should have worked the keeper. County made efforts to pull Scunthorpe around with some patient moves on the flanks especially left side with Amond and Haynes linking well. Scunthorpe had to deal with several crosses into the area as County continued to win free kicks at will. On 18 minutes, County had a free kick in a decent position right side when Sheehan was bowled over by Songo’o. Haynes swung in a decent free kick which dropped deep and Amond was alert thrashing wide of the right post from a difficult angle. County kept probing forcing Scunthorpe to concede several free kicks which caused problems with Innis and Matt winning headers but the ball was scrambled to safety. On 22 minutes, another abrasive off the ball challenge by Scunthorpe saw Proctor catch O’Brien late as he was clearing and this time the booking was issued. From the free kick by Sheehan, Matt caressed a decent header at the back post back inside and a somewhat nervous clearance invited Labadie to volley first time but his effort from 12 yards was saved comfortably by the keeper. On 32 minutes, County had a free kick in a dangerous position right side and delivery by Haynes had some venom on it with O’Brien glancing just over from 8 yards under pressure from Songo’o. On 35 minutes, Sutton was booked for a clumsy challenge on Sheehan presenting County with another chance in a good position. Sheehan lofted the delivery back post to find Innis who headed across the face of the six yard box to find O’Brien who struck his half volley just over the bar. Scunthorpe had a better more cohesive spell on the stroke of half time keeping the ball low but County kept them at arms-length. On 45 minutes, some untidy play by County in the middle allowed Scunthorpe to break with Proctor making a strong run and O’Brien was forced into a late tackle tracking back which got him a yellow card. County kept plugging away deep into injury time and got their reward. From the free kick left side by Willmott the ball appeared to be overplayed but Innis did well shield ahead of Songo’o and exchanges passes and provide a decent cross into the area. O’Brien did well to win his header and Amond was alert to glance home from close range into the right corner.

County started the second half well forcing Scunthorpe to defend deeper with some well worked moves right side. On 48 minutes, a good low passing move saw Labadie seize possession and direct a pass to find McNamara who overlapped well right side of the area. His low cross pinpointed Matt who directed a decent first time effort from 10 yards which McArdle made an important interception. With Scunthorpe struggling to clear their lines Willmott clipped back a decent cross into the six yard and a Matt was denied by an excellent save by Scunthorpe keeper Watson. County switched off momentarily soon after when Scunthorpe worked a quick move right side with Gillead releasing a pass for right back Perch. His strong run took him outside Haynes and direct an opportunist cross into the six yard box which O’Brien appeared to have under control but his sliced clearance went into the net. County responded well some patient moves but Scunthorpe remained a threat on the break with Proctor and Novak contesting well across the line. On 55 minutes, Sutton stole into a good position right side and cut back a decent cross to find Novak in space but scooped his effort over the bar. County kept putting press on working the Scunthorpe defence and were ahead again moments later when Amond did well to protect a direct ball forward and manufacture some space. He worked a good pass to find Sheehan near the edge of the area who struck an excellent first time effort precisely into the left corner beyond the grasp of Watson. Scunthorpe made an immediate change with Slater replacing Sutton to pep up the midfield. Scunthorpe were keen to use their right channel with Gillead and Perch working well in tandem. A slick low move on 65 minutes, saw Gillead dance his way to near the byline and his cross was cut back to find Novak but the effort was well blocked by O’Brien. Scunthorpe made another change on 68 minutes with Ward replacing Gillead to maintain their hold on the game in the middle. County were forced back on times with Scunthorpe working some good moves right side and Proctor and Novak providing a decent outlet. County marshalled the threat well with Inns, O’Brien and Bennett alert to the danger. On 75 minutes, Ward lunged recklessly in a challenge on Innis and was extremely fortunate just to get a booking. County were happy to play on thre break with Haynes and McNamara making some useful contributions. County were nearly caught out though on 78 minutes when Haynes overplayed deep inside the Scunthorpe half and a quick pass forward found Slater. He had space to roam forward and play a pass left side for Proctor but County were able to recover with Sheehan tracking back with an important clearance left side of the area. Scunthorpe made their final change soon after with Van Veen replacing Proctor. County sat back in the final ten minutes, offering sporadic breaks and had a glimmer of chance on 85 minutes but Willmott struck an ambitious volley well over from 25 yards. County made their first changes soon after with Amond replaced by Abrahams and Nurse coming on for Labadie. Scunthorpe kept probing with some determined breaks from deep when invited and Willmott was booked for interrupting a break left side by Brown. Scunthorpe threw in some opportunist crosses deep in injury time the best chance coming when Ward clipped in a decent delivery right side but central defence McGahey snapshot from 12 yards forced King into a good instinctive save low down. County held out and got a warm applause for a hard-fought but deserved win.

King (7) — had few saves to make on target but showed safe hands. Distributed well in general, safe kicking under pressure and kept defence organised

Haynes (6) — had a bright first half seeing ball early and efficient with his passing. Got forced back second half and under some pressure allowing too much room on some crosses.

McNamara (7) — settled well after early booked and dealt well when targeted showing composure to clear. Made some good raids forward second half and manufacture opportunities.

Innis (7) — dominated the aerial duals and was nuisance on set pieces setting a couple of decent chances inside the area. Did well in tackle and kept ball moving which was important

O’Brien (7) — didn’t have his own way in the air and had to make decisions on when to get tight and drop off. A little unlucky with the own goal but made several important blocks and interventions.

Bennett (7) — did a good job snapping up possession and gave assurance to direct play and use ball effectively with some neat passes in behind. Took up some good positions on set pieces.

Willmott (7) — quiet first half and found space hard to find. Was better today when he was decisive and less time to think. Provided fair quota of crosses and worked back well to defend.

Labadie (6) — got bogged a lot in physical duals and never really got going. Did well in aerial duals and was brave challenging going close in and around the box.

Sheehan (8) — passed well throughout, grew into the game causing damage second half picking his battles wisely with some late runs. Took goal well and worked back superbly to avert danger later on.

Amond (7) — picked up his performance today, did a lot good work to hold the ball under pressure and intelligent use of the ball. Had a couple of decent chances before the goal which he took well.

Matt (6) — worked hard to contest and when he made the ball stick used it effectively. did his best work inside area but got dragged deep on times and less effective. Should have buried the two chances.

Strengths — they were robust, physical and worked some good moves in transition. stuck rigidly to their gameplan.

Weaknesses — both centre backs were vulnerable to pace when ball played low. Gave away several free kicks and let off several crude challenges. Passing was erratic and wasteful.

Opportunities — went direct for large parts but did offer more patience to work the ball low later in the game. Put in several opportunist crosses from wide positions.
Threats — Novak had an eye for goal and best play went through him. Perch provided most quality on crosses, Gillead enterprise and link play final third.

T Nield (5) — young referee, didn’t get much help from his linesman but failed to pick up on several poor challenges and game was close to boiling over times.

Josh Sheehan — intelligent with his runs, did the dirty work when he had to but always a problem for Scunthorpe when he ghosted in and around the area untracked


County struggled to build sustained momentum today with Scunthorpe adopting frustrating tactics through persistent fouling and time wasting. With the officials indifferent to say the least, it was important County kept their resolve and discipline and they did that well to get the three points. After quite a reserved first half County worked some better low moves second half and upped the tempo of the game but still lacked their usual fluency. County had several set pieces in decent positions but some of the deliveries were floated and not whipped in allowing Scunthorpe off the hook when County didn’t read the second ball. Amond had a more influential game today and his return to form will be key for County allowing Matt space to profit in behind. Next up for County is Crawley at home and they can freshen the pack if needed with the substitutions getting less game time today. Crawley have lost 4 out of the last 5 games after decent start to the season when they were playing an effective passing game to hurt sides. Crawley are likely to play 4–5–1 system with first choice target man Palmer injured his place has been taken up by less experienced Enigbokan-Bloomfield who will roam across the line. County will need to tracks run and enterprise from Reece-Cox and right back Young capable on crosses when invited.

Mark Vickery

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