THIS was a game that had enough highs and lows for a whole season for Newport County AFC and their fans.
In fact it was a perfect microcosm of the 2013/14 campaign for the Exiles – first half good, second half goodness gracious me!
Justin Edinburgh’s men were 2-0 up and in complete control after an uplifting first 45 minutes thanks to a thumping Adam Chapman drive and an Aaron O’Connor tap-in.
But the second 45 was a horror show as history repeated itself against bogey team Morecambe.
Bring me sunshine? It seems it’s always doom and gloom against the Shrimps as far as County are concerned.
Twice last season they led against Jim Bentley’s side and twice they ended up with nothing.
It happened again on Saturday and they can’t even blame Tom Naylor this time, or poor refereeing, or gamesmanship from Kevin Ellison.
It was Ellison who made the difference again, however, with two goals in five minutes around the hour mark – the first a superbly struck free-kick and the second handed to him on a plate by Darren Jones and Lenny Pidgeley.
And when Andy Sandell failed to cut out a cross from the right Paul Mullin was left with a free header at the far post to win the game on 84 minutes.
The County defence – back four, five or three – hasn’t had a good first week with new signing Jones suffering more than most.
The hosts got one goal back, panic set in and the end result had a feeling of inevitability about it because the frailties at the back are nothing new.
At the moment Edinburgh’s side are like a distressed dog owner struggling to cope with a boisterous beagle – they can’t hold onto a lead.
Seven times in 2014 they’ve let precious points slip from their grasp from a winning position.
It’s happened twice at Morecambe and you can add Accrington away, Wimbledon home and away and Scunthorpe and Burton at home to the list.
League Two is a tough division where mistakes are punished and it won’t get any easier at Mansfield on Tuesday night.
Not all of those games turned on defensive lapses but County desperately need to cut out the individual errors and get at least a point on the board before a bad start gets even worse.
Edinburgh and assistant Jimmy Dack know well from the last two seasons the benefit of a fast start but momentum can work both ways and at the moment it’s momentum of the wrong kind that County are experiencing.
There were some positives to take from this game with Chapman taking his chance well and O’Connor off the mark for the season with a poacher’s finish.
Both goals came from Robbie Willmott free-kicks and both also owed a lot to good work from Ismail Yakubu in the opposition box.
Going forward the Exiles were significantly better than they were against Wycombe last week and they took advantage while they were on top.
But at Field Mill they will know they need to be up for a physical battle, resolute and determined not to be bullied out of the game like they were at Morecambe.
And if any more money can be squeezed out of the budget – or one or two fringe players move out – then further additions to the squad would certainly help before the end of the month.
With just four wins in 27 games since the turn of the year some fans are understandably frustrated with the players and with the manager.
But they and he should still have enough credit left after the last few years for the majority to stick with them through a difficult period.
Morecambe: Roche, Beeley, Hughes, Parrish, Goodall, Fleming, Williams (Devitt, 46), Kenyon, Amond (Mullin, 46), Redshaw, (Drummond, 89), Ellison
Subs not used: Arestidou, Wright, Sampson, Doyle
County: Pidgeley, Willmott, Hughes, Jones, Yakubu, Sandell, Minshull, Byrne, Chapman (Jeffers, 78), Howe (Zebroski, 70), O’Connor (Jolley, 87)
Subs not used: Thomas, Jackson, Klukowski
Booked: Sandell, Minshull
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Attendance: 1,506 (149 County)