Telford 2 County 4
FOR the second match running Newport County came from behind to win, but AFC Telford United made it slightly easier than Southport on Saturday.
In fact it was more like the reverse of County’s defeat on their last visit to Shropshire in August last season during Anthony Hudson’s brief reign when both Scott Rogers and Tom Doherty were sent off.
This time it was the hosts who were reduced to nine men as they surrendered the lead given to them by Kieron St Aimie midway through the first half.
Aaron O’Connor bagged his ninth goal of the season to level seconds before the break and an own goal and further strikes from Ismail Yakubu and Andy Sandell kept County on top of the table.
Edinburgh made two changes from the last gasp 2-1 victory over Southport with Tony James returning from injury to replace Andrew Hughes and Jefferson Louis coming in for Mike Flynn.
That meant a return to the 4-3-3 formation that served the Exiles so well in August but there was no start for Saturday’s goal hero Ben Swallow, who had to make do with a place on the bench once again.
The hosts had drained 9,000 litres of water from the New Bucks Head pitch before kick-off but the surface was still sodden and it began to cut up quickly.
As a consequence the opening stages were very scrappy with neither side able to produce much in the way of free flowing football.
Telford had the majority of the early pressure with Steven Leslie firing just wide inside 30 seconds and strikers St Aimie and James Spray causing Lenny Pidgeley problems under high balls into the Exiles box.
Daniel Preston headed wide from a free-kick and then Leslie again went close with an effort that was deflected just wide.
County slowly dragged themselves into the game with Danny Crow twice heading Sandell corners wide and O’Connor seeing a snap shot blocked after being played in by Jefferson Louis.
Lee Minshull had the best chance as he found space in the six yard box and saw his bullet header tipped over the bar by Ryan Young in the Telford goal.
But just as Edinburgh’s side were starting to get on top they fell behind as St Aimie produced a moment of individual brilliance to hold off a challenge from James and smash the ball into the top corner of Pidgeley’s net on 27 minutes.
That was a real confidence booster for the hosts and they pushed hard for a second with Spray firing just wide and Leslie wasting a free-kick in a great position.
But they were hit by a sucker punch from the Exiles in the second minute of time added on as Crow picked out O’Connor with a lovely defence splitting ball and the top scorer rounded Young to slot into an empty net.
It was a big psychological boost for the visitors and things got even better after the interval as Telford hit the self destruct button.
First they gifted County a goal as Jordan Rose hacked his clearance against Preston and into his own net and then St Aimie was stupidly sent off for lashing out at Crow.
As the home crowd got increasingly frustrated with the referee and several members of their own team, County took charge of the match.
Edinburgh brought on Mike Flynn to replace Crow and shore up the midfield as O’Connor and Louis continued to wreak havoc up front.
Then Yakubu wrapped up the three points as he bundled in a Thomson free-kick before the hosts were reduced to nine men as the hapless Preston was dismissed for kicking out at the prone Louis.
Andy Sandell put the cherry on the cake with a fabulous fourth, whacking the ball past Young from the edge of the area and sending the away fans home very happy indeed.
James then headed into his own net a minute before being taken off but there was no way back for a demoralised Telford.
Telford: Young, Salmon, Preston, Davies (Rooney, 75), Trainer, Jones (Hubbins, 75), St Aimie, Spray, Leslie, Taylor, Rose Subs not used: Brown, Collister, Byfield Booked: Preston, Jones Sent off: St Aimee, Preston
County: Pidgeley, Pipe, Sandell, Yakubu, James (Swallow, 82), Porter, Minshull, Evans (Thomson, 43), Crow (Flynn, 60), Louis, O’Connor Subs not used: Hughes, Perry Booked: James, Crow, Sandell
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Argus star man: O’Connor