County well beaten on miserable opening day: Full match report

County well beaten on miserable opening day: Full match report

Newport County AFC versus Wycombe WanderersFANS Looking forward to the start of the season (9105094)

Newport County AFC versus Wycombe WanderersFIRING ONE IN Newport County's Mark Byrne (9105098)

Newport County AFC versus Wycombe WanderersTIGHT SITUATION Lee Minshull with ball (9105120)

Newport County AFC versus Wycombe WanderersCHASE DOWN County's Andy Sandell wins the ball (9105136)

First published in Sport
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NEWPORT County AFC got a huge reality check as to the value of pre-season success with a turgid performance to begin their 2014/15 League Two campaign.

They began their 46-game odyssey with a lifeless, uninspiring and hugely disappointing performance against a side nearly relegated last term and will need to sharpen up quickly to avoid the campaign becoming a huge slog.

The Exiles have tricky fixtures to come for the remainder of the month and if Saturday is a benchmark, they’ll do well to end August in better shape than a British Eurovision entry after the votes are collated in the Balkans.

This was very much the Newport County AFC vintage that we endured between January and March last term where a combination of factors sucked the confidence and ability to win from Justin Edinburgh’s charges.

That is hugely disappointing and despite what some pessimists will say; it wasn’t necessarily to be expected, because County finished last season if not with a flourish, then with a vast improvement.

They took at least some momentum from the end of the campaign and capped it off on a high by beating promoted Rochdale and have looked a million dollars in pre-season where they won all but one of their games.

However, pre-season can be a misleading time where fitness drills masquerade as football matches and that was illustrated on Saturday.

County looked nowhere near as assured defensively as they did against the likes of Coventry City and Carl Zeiss Jena and their impressive displays from set pieces seemed like a distant memory.

County’s forwards found cohesion in July that encouraged us all, but on Saturday, in truth, they looked like three new signings thrown together by Karl Oysten last week; though all three have pedigree at this level.

However, County didn’t fall meekly to defeat due to the poor performance of any individual, it was a collectively bad display with no function of Newport’s game as effective as was necessary.

In midfield County weren’t especially competitive and they failed time and again to retain the ball with Mike Flynn and Lee Minshull particularly culpable. The result of that was County resorting to long balls time and again after the half hour mark, but even that was executed poorly.

There is a myth that direct football is a bad thing, it’s even a myth to say it’s always bad to watch, but the way County did it on Saturday, it’s both a bad tactic and bad to watch without question.

The Exiles didn’t plan to play directly, they resorted to doing so because of an inability to keep the ball and they also did so aimlessly and without sufficient pressing in the Wycombe half to ensure they didn’t just turn over possession more often than not.

County found themselves under the cosh after just a minute but Paris Cowan Hall’s header was tipped over the bar acrobatically by Lenny Pidgeley.

Newport then had their best spell of the contest and the most dominance either side enjoyed throughout, as for 25 minutes they looked as good as we’d hoped.

With Sandell roaming forward effectively and Howe and Zebroski finding some space, they tested Michael Ingram in the Chairboys’ goal a few times, Howe, Flynn and new signing Mark Byrne all finding the target, but it was speculative stuff. Only when Kevin Feely’s firm header went over the bar did Newport genuinely look like opening their account for the season.

County lost momentum and the visitors grew into the game and then punished Newport with two quick and highly preventable goals.

Peter Murphy easily headed home a near post corner on 41 minutes and the Exiles compounded that mistake with another, Jones and Feely too easily beaten on the stroke of half time, allowing Sam Wood to waltz across Newport’s penalty area and cross for Cowan-Hall who couldn’t miss.

Manager Edinburgh switched from 4-3-3 to 3-5-2 before the hour after making no inroads at all at the start of the second half; the visitors had a composure and steadiness about them that will have delighted visiting manager Gareth Ainsworth who has signed several players with stature over the summer.

There was almost 70 minutes on the clock before County truly fashioned a chance that would get them back into contention and they fluffed it, Lee Minshull missing the target completely from a header from about eight yards, a glaring miss by his standards.

And by the time the referee announced six minutes of injury time, there was an acceptance inside Rodney Parade that six hours wouldn’t be enough time to produce a goal. The fans departed desperately disappointed at the start to the campaign, but hopeful it is not a sign of things to come.

Newport County (4-3-3): Pidgeley, Willmott, Sandell, Jones, Feely, Byrne, Flynn (Klukowski 56), Minshull (Chapman, 72), Zebroski, Howe, O’Connor (Yakubu 56)

Subs not used: Thomas, Hughes, Jeffers, Jolley

Booked: Sandell, Byrne, Zebroski

Wycombe Wanderers (4-4-2): Ingram, Jombati, Jacobson, Pierre, Mawson, Cowan-Hall (Craig 86), Murphy, Kretschmar (Bloomfield 80), Wood, McClure, Hayes

Subs not used: Richardson, Morias, Rowe, Walker, Holloway

Booked: Jacobson

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 3664

Comments (9)

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5:11pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Clever Trevor says...

The more i think about it i wish the pitch was a shambles again,at least we stopped teams playing on it,this one will be the downfall of us.
Was Les' comments the dreaded vote of confidence for JE ?
The whole back 4 was woeful yesterday,midfield over run,forwards starved of service.but the hot dogs as good as ever.
The more i think about it i wish the pitch was a shambles again,at least we stopped teams playing on it,this one will be the downfall of us. Was Les' comments the dreaded vote of confidence for JE ? The whole back 4 was woeful yesterday,midfield over run,forwards starved of service.but the hot dogs as good as ever. Clever Trevor
  • Score: 4

5:22pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Harps62 says...

It was terrible. No need to have a midfield as the ball went back and fore over there heads. Even Lennie got into the habit of hoofing it anywhere.
The new lad Byrne although very lightweight tried his best but Flynny and Lee were woeful sorry to say.
It really was a nightmare as before kick off I was so excited with the new pitch looking superb.
Robbie wants to play fullback but that cannot happen as he is the only attacking threat we have at present.
Keep the ball on the ground.
Its not rocket science!!
It was terrible. No need to have a midfield as the ball went back and fore over there heads. Even Lennie got into the habit of hoofing it anywhere. The new lad Byrne although very lightweight tried his best but Flynny and Lee were woeful sorry to say. It really was a nightmare as before kick off I was so excited with the new pitch looking superb. Robbie wants to play fullback but that cannot happen as he is the only attacking threat we have at present. Keep the ball on the ground. Its not rocket science!! Harps62
  • Score: 5

7:23pm Sun 10 Aug 14

b3talover says...

County WILL be relegated.
County WILL be relegated. b3talover
  • Score: -12

9:13pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Sing up for the amber boys says...

b3talover wrote:
County WILL be relegated.
Wow, you can predict the future - that is some gift
[quote][p][bold]b3talover[/bold] wrote: County WILL be relegated.[/p][/quote]Wow, you can predict the future - that is some gift Sing up for the amber boys
  • Score: 2

11:27pm Sun 10 Aug 14

b3talover says...

Sing up for the amber boys wrote:
b3talover wrote:
County WILL be relegated.
Wow, you can predict the future - that is some gift
Hardly rocket science. Brushed aside by a team that narrowly missed relegation last season. No right back. Eight strikers that can't buy a goal between them, continuing from last season. Schoolboy defending, continuing from last season. Flynn misplacing passes, continuing from last season. Fortress Rodney Parade... Circus Rodney Parade more like! Half the team should be wearing clown suits when they play next! They will be relegated. Simple as. No amount of positivity will change the outcome.
[quote][p][bold]Sing up for the amber boys[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]b3talover[/bold] wrote: County WILL be relegated.[/p][/quote]Wow, you can predict the future - that is some gift[/p][/quote]Hardly rocket science. Brushed aside by a team that narrowly missed relegation last season. No right back. Eight strikers that can't buy a goal between them, continuing from last season. Schoolboy defending, continuing from last season. Flynn misplacing passes, continuing from last season. Fortress Rodney Parade... Circus Rodney Parade more like! Half the team should be wearing clown suits when they play next! They will be relegated. Simple as. No amount of positivity will change the outcome. b3talover
  • Score: -5

11:32pm Sun 10 Aug 14

exrisca says...

"a lifeless, uninspiring and hugely disappointing performance"
Come on Michael, they were never that good.
"a lifeless, uninspiring and hugely disappointing performance" Come on Michael, they were never that good. exrisca
  • Score: 0

8:35am Mon 11 Aug 14

golfball says...

The alarm bells are ringing after one game
Did the summer break happen because the only thing that's changed is the pitch - conclusion
To choose Sandell as captain indicates there is no true leader in the camp
Darren Jones is not good enough?
Wing backs can attack but can't defend?
Why sign Klukowski and pick Flynn and Minshall?
O'Connor still needs to show he's good enough
Long high balls is JE style and the pitch good or bad is irrelevant
Unless things change quickly we can look forward to the conference next season
The alarm bells are ringing after one game Did the summer break happen because the only thing that's changed is the pitch - conclusion To choose Sandell as captain indicates there is no true leader in the camp Darren Jones is not good enough? Wing backs can attack but can't defend? Why sign Klukowski and pick Flynn and Minshall? O'Connor still needs to show he's good enough Long high balls is JE style and the pitch good or bad is irrelevant Unless things change quickly we can look forward to the conference next season golfball
  • Score: 2

11:06am Mon 11 Aug 14

bodffordd says...

Iv'e read all the comments, and agree with some, not sure about others. However, for me, like over 3,000 fans at Rodney Parade on Saturday it was time to be optimistic, new season, new players, pitch as good Wembley, what else was needed?...a win
But...what went wrong? we ask. In my humble opinion here are some of the reasons, Wilmott an attacking forward playing right back (not even wing back) Flynn and Minshull in midfield, Darren Jones in the back a big disappointment, and after a bright 15 minutes Howe faded into oblivion, Sandell not the player we know he is.
Lets all be optimistic again for the coming games, and hope that JE like last season will make the changes necessary
Iv'e read all the comments, and agree with some, not sure about others. However, for me, like over 3,000 fans at Rodney Parade on Saturday it was time to be optimistic, new season, new players, pitch as good Wembley, what else was needed?...a win But...what went wrong? we ask. In my humble opinion here are some of the reasons, Wilmott an attacking forward playing right back (not even wing back) Flynn and Minshull in midfield, Darren Jones in the back a big disappointment, and after a bright 15 minutes Howe faded into oblivion, Sandell not the player we know he is. Lets all be optimistic again for the coming games, and hope that JE like last season will make the changes necessary bodffordd
  • Score: 4

9:51am Tue 12 Aug 14

foxy3rd says...

The County players always seem to " talk the talk " but rarely "walk the walk " .
The County players always seem to " talk the talk " but rarely "walk the walk " . foxy3rd
  • Score: -1

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