County held after floodlight failure
NEWPORT County AFC failed to grasp a golden opportunity to climb into the League Two play-off places as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Plymouth Argyle.
The game was halted for nearly ten minutes in the second half due to a partial floodlight failure but neither side did much to light up a lifeless encounter.
Exiles manager Justin Edinburgh will be reasonably happy with a point but the game was there for the taking against a home side desperately lacking in confidence.
And with their rivals dropping points they may see this as a missed chance to make ground at the top of the table.
Edinburgh made one enforced change in personnel from Saturday’s 3-0 home win over York City with Robbie Willmott replacing the injured Harry Worley.
Willmott was shifted to left wing-back with Billy Jones moved inside to centre-back and Tom Naylor continuing in the defensive midfield role where he excelled against the Minstermen.
This was County’s first Football League visit to Home Park since a 2-0 defeat in September 1985 in the old third division.
But it wasn’t a memorable occasion, in the first half at least, as both sides struggled to get out of second gear.
The first real chance for either side came just before the half hour mark as Ryan Jackson surged forward from right wing-back and saw his shot deflected into the side netting.
From the corner Ismail Yakubu headed wide and soon afterwards ex-Pilgrim Chris Zebroski completely missed his kick after more good work from Jackson down the right.
At the other end Lewis Alessandra forced Lenny Pidgeley into a smart save low to his left but the flag was up for offside.
And just before the break Conor Washington raced on to a long ball but was just beaten to it by home ‘keeper Luke McCormack.
The half-time whistle was met with boos by the frustrated home fans who had not seen their team win since September 7 and witnessed only three home goals all season before this game.
County and Argyle legend Tommy Tynan was greeted with cheers from both sets of fans during the interval and how the hosts must have wished they still had a goalscorer like the Liverpudlian in their ranks.
In Washington and Zebroski the Exiles certainly had the better front men on view and Washington went close with a long distance thumper that just cleared McCormack’s bar moments after the break.
Centre-back Yakubu missed another good chance as he headed straight at the ‘keeper from a Washington cross, though he was unsighted by teammate Lee Minshull.
Pidgeley, a virtual bystander for much of the first hour, was called into action as he punched Luke Young’s free-kick away from danger.
But most of the action was at the other end as Jackson continued to probe impressively down the right and Washington and Zebroski waited patiently for their chance.
After the enforced delay from around 75 minutes Luke Young almost caught County napping but he blasted his chance over the top of Pidgeley’s bar.
Max Blanchard then headed over from a corner as the hosts staged a late rally but it was too little too late for John Sheridan’s men.
The 11 minutes added on for injuries and floodlight failure were largely uneventful as the game petered out into a stalemate in torrential rain.
Plymouth: McCormick, Blackman, Blanchard, Hourihane, Alessandra, Boco (Gurrieri, 72), Reid, Young (Bencherif, 85) Trotman, Nelson, Hayes (Harvey, 72)
Subs not used: Cole, Berry, Wotton, Reckord
County: Pidgeley, Jackson, James, Yakubu, Jones, Willmott, Naylor, Minshull, Chapman (Flynn, 72) Washington, Zebroski (Crow, 90)
Subs not used: Pipe, Jolley, Stephens, Redman
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 5,689 (404 County)
Argus star man: Ryan Jackson
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