Ten man County down on their luck

Report by Mark Vickery from Rodney Parade

Newport County 1 (Parkin 50)

Plymouth Argyle 3 (Carey 38 pen, 55 pen, Slew 78)

Attendance: 3,460

Form:

Newport County LDLDLLLLdL

Plymouth Argyle WWWDWWLWD

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
 Pleased to see Scottish U21 international Kyle Cameron given a chance a left back. We need to defensive discipline and pick holes with our pace today

CONDITIONS
 Partly cloudy, calm quite cool and pitch seemed to have recovered well after drainage maintenance near changing rooms corner

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
 Match them until the sending off and showed plenty of spirit and determination after the sending off

TURNING POINT
 County keeper Joe Day sending off

THE MATCH
 County manager Graeme Westley made three changes with Kyle Cameron replacing left back Dan Butler who was on the bench. There were also two changes to freshen the approach up front with Grego-Cox replacing Myrie-Williams who was named as a sub. Marlon Jackson was not in the squad and replaced by Jordan Green. County made a good start to the game with a decent move down the left side inside the first minute. Cameron released a ball forward which found Rigg in the left channel. He forced his way deep in the left corner and cut an decent pass back to the face of the area which Grego-Cox anticipated but sliced his effort wide of the right post. Plymouth made some persistent runs down the right flank with Carey angling his runs in support of Miller but County held tight with some good counters. On 10 minutes, a neat efficient break by County opened up space and Rigg was unfortunate to see his effort blocked by Bulvitis. Then, moments later another intricate move on the right side saw Grego-Cox and Sheehan combine well before slipping a good pass to Parkin and his low blast from an acute angle was well blocked by Bradley. County kept pressing but Plymouth were quick in the transition from defence to attack and gave a warning on 12 minutes when a lofted ball into the area was directed into the path of Carey from a neat header by Spencer. Carey had time but struck a firm volley wide of the right post from 12 yards. County responded well with a couple of corners and went close on 15 minutes when a Toxer long throw on the right side of the area was glanced just wide of the left post by Jones with Bennett inches from touching it in. Plymouth changed tact directing passes to the left channel with Slew a handful with his physical robust approach and pace to find a cross. Barnum-Bobb was forced back to defend several crosses which County dealt with well but free kicks being conceded in threatening positions Plymouth remained a threat. County elected to play direct on times but continued to play some slick football with Parkin doing well to provide an outlet and intelligent link play. Parkin went on forceful solo run on 27 minutes down the right side of the area but again Bulvitis got in an important block at the front post. Slew continued to cause problems with direct runs and Barnum-Bobb was booked on 28 minutes for pulling him back. Grego-Cox was somewhat harshly booked for a foul inside Plymouth half when he tangled the wrong side of Carey. Plymouth were quick to work both channels and the referee continued to flash card when Cameron was booked for his first honest challenge on Carey who was merely tapped on the angles near the right channel. On 36 minutes, a very controversial decision went against County when a Plymouth shot took a lucky deflection off Bennett and into the path of Slew. He was denied the chance to shoot when County keeper Joe Day raced forward to parry the ball and went down near the six yard box and the referee issued a straight red. It was a penalty but under the new rules for this season only yellow card should be given if an honest attempt was made to get the ball. County made a change with Sheehan sacrificed for reserve keeper James Bittner who was sent the wrong with a low shot into the right corner. Plymouth were on top as half time approach with Slew continuing to cause problems with his pace. A deep cross in first half injury time from Slew deep in the left corner was glanced wide of the right post by Tanner under pressure from Bennett.

County started the second half positively with some good possession despite their handicap of ten men. On 47 minutes, Parkin did well to brush off a challenge from Bulvitis and his attempted lob from 18 yards forced McCormick to take back step to claim the ball. On 50 minutes, McCormick had no answer when Parkin cracked a superb opportunist volley from 25 yards straight into the right corner. Plymouth were quick to respond forcing County back again defending their right channel with Slew and Carey busy in their approach play. On 55 minutes, Slew outwitted Barnum-Bobb on the right corner of area and a precise pass found Carey who appeared to go down extremely easy when Jones checked his run. Carey placed his penalty low into the left corner this time beyond Bittner. County kept their focus and continued to work openings with Tozer and Grego-Cox working tirelessly in midfield. On 62 minutes, Tozer was on the end of dangerous challenge by Cox which the referee failed to pick up despite being just 12 yards in front of him. County made a change on 65 minutes to freshen their approach with Healey on for Parkin up top. Plymouth responded with right sided Jervis replacing Tanner. Healey was clever the ball at his feet and forced the Plymouth central defenders into some pulling back which the referee failed to pick up on. County worked a couple of decent moves with Green tricky with his run and Rigg persistent down the left flank to support but Plymouth remained focussed in dealing with crosses. On 73 minutes, Plymouth made another change with Smith replacing Fox and County responded soon after replacing the hardworking Green with Compton. A move that typified the inept interpretation of the referee came moments later when a through ball down the middle saw Healey forge his way goalside of Bradley and despite being blocked not even the free kick it merited was forthcoming. County were committed to getting something with both full backs making efforts to support but the quality on crosses was often lacking. On 78 minutes, Cameron was caught in possession on the left channel. Miller was quick to release Jervis and with County exposed at the back Bennett was forced to come across early allowing him to pick a pass to the unmarked Slew who blasted low into the net beyond Bittner. To their credit, County kept going in the final ten minutes and maintained their energy working some good situations as Plymouth sat deeper. Plymouth finally had a man punished in the book on 82 minutes with Spencer obstructing the run of Barnum-Bobb. Plymouth made a late change with Donaldson replacing Spencer but County were close to a second on 87 minutes when a corner from the left side by Compton was glanced just wide of the right post by Tozer from 10 yards. Healey had been given little protection in his short time on the pitch and was not surprising when he got booked for a late challenge on Songo’o born out of frustration more than anything else. County kept plugging away with adversity they faced but today was not their day

Day (6) — did alright dealing with the early exchanges before being somewhat harshly sent off and was replaced by:

Bittner (5) — claimed well showing safe hands, kicked reasonably well under pressure but some kicks were short and gobbled up by Plymouth 
 Cameron (6) — had a decent game despite early booking, got the ball safe quickly and anticipated well with some decent passes forward

Bennett (6) — was strong in the air and looked much sharper when he had the ball at feet. Got exposed on the third goal when he went tight too early.

Barnum-Bobb (4) — given a difficult time by Slew and was bullied off the ball too easily. Recovered well after the booking but struggled for confidence on times

Jones (6) — was robust and generally swept danger well with effective if not safe with distribution. won his fair quota of headers, some too wayward
 Grego-Cox (6) — was bright with the ball at his feet and did well in the first half an hour. Become less effective after and was brushed off challenges too easily

Sheehan (7) — worked hard, started the game very well picking holes and at the heart of some decent moves before being sacrificed when Day sent off

Tozer (7) — another decent game building his sharpness and was always ahead with his passing and the way he moved the ball. Unlucky not to score with his header.

Rigg (6) — in and out of the game, did well dropping back to tidy up play and shape moves but looked most threatening when he got wide for crosses

Parkin (7) — was strong competing as usual especially in the air and rarely wasted possession. Set up some good moves and scored brilliant volley — goal of the day

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
 Strengths — the defence had a good shape and recovered well to intercept. Quick turning defence into attack and had physical strength over County

Weaknesses — left back was ordinary when got at and offered some charity in the air from set pieces. Less lenient official would have punished their cynical approach

Opportunities — they went down the right side early on but soon changed tact to work the left flank. Played on the break more effectively after half time 
 Threats — Carey nuisance buying several free kick but was alert with his craft and working the keeper. Slew was strong carrying ball and Tanner eye for a quick shot

OFFICIALS
 M Salisbury (4) — interpretation of the rules questionable, allowing much of the cynical clambering and booked three County players for taps on the ankle

MAN OF THE MATCH
 Jordan Slew (Plymouth 8) — even when County forced Plymouth back his outlet was key with physical strength and creativity working left channel well

IF YOU WERE GRAEME WESTLEY WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

County were well in this game until the unfortunate sending off, working the Plymouth defence with the tempo and creativity they offered in the final third with only some late interventions inside the Plymouth area preventing County taking the lead. County defended their left channel much better today but this forced Plymouth to switch attention to the opposite side and Slew caused subsequently caused problems for right back Barnum-Bobb. The key for County in the forthcoming weeks and months will be stifling sides down both flanks, both full backs on top of their game suffocating other teams and employing some of the enterprise seen on offer today coming forward. Their luck will surely change but now important they keep their belief and spirit as they did today in the face of adversity. County finished well and looked sharper today in the mind and body in the final stages. Barnet are next up on Tuesday and important County tame direct physical threat into Akinde with most goals going through him. If they do the off the ball business well and coax Barnet into free kicks they will have every chance.

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