Exiles battle back for a superb victory on Parade

South Wales Argus: INTO SPACE: Newport County's Chris Zebroski beats Oxford's David Hunt INTO SPACE: Newport County's Chris Zebroski beats Oxford's David Hunt

NEWPORT COUNTY 3 OXFORD UTD 2

AFTER more than six weeks without a home game this felt like the start of the season all over again for Newport County AFC.

And Justin Edinburgh will be hoping it is the start of resurgence for his team as they picked up a desperately needed three points against third-placed Oxford United.

With four more home matches to come in the next fortnight things could be looking a lot brighter in Newport – if the rain stays away.

A fantastic crowd of 3,757 spurned the attractions of Manchester City v Barcelona on the box to cheer on their heroes at a patched-up Rodney Parade for the first time since January 4.

And, frankly, who needs Xavi, Iniesta and Messi when you can watch Ryan Burge, Adam Chapman and Robbie Willmott?

Edinburgh made three changes from the disappointing 3-0 defeat at Hartlepool United on Saturday with Harry Worley suspended and Tom Naylor and Shaun Jeffers dropping to the bench.

In their place came three returning heroes.

Byron Anthony made his first appearance since his horrific broken leg at Brighton in August.

After an encouraging cameo from the bench on Saturday Chris Zebroski got his first start since dislocating his kneecap at Braintree in November.

And Ismail Yakubu hasn’t been out for anywhere near as long but his absence at the back has been felt as much any other.

And what a difference playing at home with a near fully fit squad can make to a team.

County had started well in Hartlepool before crashing to a dispiriting defeat but they flew out of the blocks against Oxford.

Zebroski almost marked his return to the starting XI with a goal within five minutes after Lee Minshull’s flicked header put him through but visiting ‘keeper Ryan Clarke blocked his snap shot.

Clarke also did well to punch Willmott’s teasing cross away under pressure as the Exiles poured forward in the opening stages and put the side with the best away record in the division on the back foot.

But, as so often happens when you’re on a bad run, the visitors then broke away and scored with their first attack.

And it was the experienced front duo of Dave Kitson and James Constable who did the damage for the visitors.

Former Premier League front man Kitson found his strike partner with a defence-splitting ball on 14 minutes and Constable slammed the ball past Elliot Parrish in the County goal.

It was extremely harsh on Edinburgh’s men and, after the last few months they’ve endured, they could easily have crumbled at that point.

But, as is usually the case, they showed the fantastic character of this squad and roared back at Oxford with twice the intensity.

They might have had two penalties, one for handball and one when Minshull appeared to be tripped in the area, but the equaliser they deserved didn’t come until first half stoppage time.

Minshull’s scuffed shot from the edge of the box clipped Rene Howe on the way through a crowd of players and bobbled off the sand into the bottom corner of Clarke’s net.

That was the least the Exiles deserved for a spirited first 45 minutes and they picked up where they left off after the interval.

Willmott and Chapman both tried their luck from distance and Zebroski continued to be a menace to one of his many former clubs.

After pushing and probing for 25 minutes the goal came from a set-piece – a peach of a free-kick from Burge.

The midfield maestro endured a disastrous start to his Exiles career as injury after injury kept him sidelined for months.

But he has been the most impressive player in amber for weeks now and this was his finest moment yet as he curled a beauty past Clarke and into the bottom corner from out wide on the right.

Any of the Barcelona stars would have been proud of the goal and, even though League Two is a world away from the mega millions of the Champions League, it could yet prove priceless for County.

There were two more goals in the last ten minutes but Burge’s was the vital contribution.

Zebroski added a third on 82 minutes after a mix up between Clarke and his skipper and substitute Potter pulled one back for Oxford on 87 but County held on despite five nervy minutes of injury time.

County: Parish, Pipe, Yakubu, Anthony, Sandell, Willmott, Minshull, Chapman (Porter, 85), Burge, Howe, Zebroski (Jeffers, 85)

Subs not used: Thompson, Crow, Jackson, Naylor, Jolley

Booked: Chapman

Oxford: Clarke, Newey, Kitson (Williams, 58), Constable, Smalley, Hunt, Rose (Potter, 46), Mullins, Wroe, Bevans (Connolly, 76), Ruffels

Subs not used: Henly, Davies, Long, Ashby

Booked: Newey

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 3,757

Argus star man: Burge

Comments (14)

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10:06pm Tue 18 Feb 14

asrncafc says...

Tonight the County lads showed one and all that they have not given up their chance to be with the promotion contenders.

Playing against a much quoted Oxford team and conceding an early goal against the run of play, Newport County took comand of the match and emerged worthy winners at the end of a nail-biting match.

Three most important points and given the results of the other matches played tonight, County climbed back to eighth position but have now narrowed the gap with the other league promotion contenders.

From what I have read, Burge's freekick was a beauty. Oxford were only dangerous towards the end of the match but County held well till the end.

Thanks to Justin Edinburgh and his players who returned to winning ways, the County fans' hopes are now sky high.
Tonight the County lads showed one and all that they have not given up their chance to be with the promotion contenders. Playing against a much quoted Oxford team and conceding an early goal against the run of play, Newport County took comand of the match and emerged worthy winners at the end of a nail-biting match. Three most important points and given the results of the other matches played tonight, County climbed back to eighth position but have now narrowed the gap with the other league promotion contenders. From what I have read, Burge's freekick was a beauty. Oxford were only dangerous towards the end of the match but County held well till the end. Thanks to Justin Edinburgh and his players who returned to winning ways, the County fans' hopes are now sky high. asrncafc

10:23pm Tue 18 Feb 14

sooty001 says...

What a night, at last we have two powerful players up front, Zebroski and Howe, they never stopped running all night it was a pleasure to watch. The whole team deserve a medal, they worked hard for each other and not one player on that pitch gave less than 100%. Well done lads value for money, Should get a bumper crowd there on Saturday ( weather permitting ).
What a night, at last we have two powerful players up front, Zebroski and Howe, they never stopped running all night it was a pleasure to watch. The whole team deserve a medal, they worked hard for each other and not one player on that pitch gave less than 100%. Well done lads value for money, Should get a bumper crowd there on Saturday ( weather permitting ). sooty001

10:43pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Harps62 says...

Some really nice play until the last 5 minute panic.
Chapman, Burge and Robbie are class.
The 2 boys up front ran themselves ragged but like Jeffers they are 3 of a kind, Same game style same size. Hopefully this will bring the best back from Jolly and O Connor when he returns.
One hell of a squad now though.
Brill!
Some really nice play until the last 5 minute panic. Chapman, Burge and Robbie are class. The 2 boys up front ran themselves ragged but like Jeffers they are 3 of a kind, Same game style same size. Hopefully this will bring the best back from Jolly and O Connor when he returns. One hell of a squad now though. Brill! Harps62

10:57pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Newporttrue says...

Great support tonight from the county faithful,I myself was there to witness this much deserved victory against a very average Oxford team. Again we had to play against the officials who were very poor tonight,just as well our football beat them and Oxford well done lads looking forward to saturday up the county.......
Great support tonight from the county faithful,I myself was there to witness this much deserved victory against a very average Oxford team. Again we had to play against the officials who were very poor tonight,just as well our football beat them and Oxford well done lads looking forward to saturday up the county....... Newporttrue

11:14pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Adrian Williams says...

Zebroski, Anthony and Yak coming back tonight was massive and made a big difference up front and at the back. An outstanding perfomance from Minshull too who has been on the fringes of late. We looked more balanced an confident tonight - I thought we bossed the game from start to finish. After a performance like that, and with so many home games and a virtual fully fit squad to choose from, there's no reason why we can't kick on from here. A great and much needed result - well worth the wait :o)
Zebroski, Anthony and Yak coming back tonight was massive and made a big difference up front and at the back. An outstanding perfomance from Minshull too who has been on the fringes of late. We looked more balanced an confident tonight - I thought we bossed the game from start to finish. After a performance like that, and with so many home games and a virtual fully fit squad to choose from, there's no reason why we can't kick on from here. A great and much needed result - well worth the wait :o) Adrian Williams

8:57am Wed 19 Feb 14

netala says...

can I firstly ask a question, what have we done to deserve the treatment, by the officials in every game we play? got that out of the way, last night we dominated the game. they came out of the blocks at full speed. our front two played havoc with the oxford defence. their strength and awareness of each other was something, which as been lacking this season. I thought chapman controlled the midfield, although he must restrain from baiting the referee, even if he was wearing a blue shirt. to say his decisions were questionable is an understatement, but as they say all together a very satisfying evening , bodes well for the future. well done the 3757 who felt county were a better option than man. city v barca.
can I firstly ask a question, what have we [ county] done to deserve the treatment, by the officials in every game we play? got that out of the way, last night we dominated the game. they came out of the blocks at full speed. our front two played havoc with the oxford defence. their strength and awareness of each other was something, which as been lacking this season. I thought chapman controlled the midfield, although he must restrain from baiting the referee, even if he was wearing a blue shirt. to say his decisions were questionable is an understatement, but as they say [ he who laughs last laughs loudest.] all together a very satisfying evening , bodes well for the future. well done the 3757 who felt county were a better option than man. city v barca. netala

9:39am Wed 19 Feb 14

Harps62 says...

netala wrote:
can I firstly ask a question, what have we done to deserve the treatment, by the officials in every game we play? got that out of the way, last night we dominated the game. they came out of the blocks at full speed. our front two played havoc with the oxford defence. their strength and awareness of each other was something, which as been lacking this season. I thought chapman controlled the midfield, although he must restrain from baiting the referee, even if he was wearing a blue shirt. to say his decisions were questionable is an understatement, but as they say all together a very satisfying evening , bodes well for the future. well done the 3757 who felt county were a better option than man. city v barca.
100% agree the Ref and linesmen were diabolical.
Just hope there was a tidy assessor in the stand.
The standard in our league is very poor.
Where do they find these idiots?
[quote][p][bold]netala[/bold] wrote: can I firstly ask a question, what have we [ county] done to deserve the treatment, by the officials in every game we play? got that out of the way, last night we dominated the game. they came out of the blocks at full speed. our front two played havoc with the oxford defence. their strength and awareness of each other was something, which as been lacking this season. I thought chapman controlled the midfield, although he must restrain from baiting the referee, even if he was wearing a blue shirt. to say his decisions were questionable is an understatement, but as they say [ he who laughs last laughs loudest.] all together a very satisfying evening , bodes well for the future. well done the 3757 who felt county were a better option than man. city v barca.[/p][/quote]100% agree the Ref and linesmen were diabolical. Just hope there was a tidy assessor in the stand. The standard in our league is very poor. Where do they find these idiots? Harps62

11:26am Wed 19 Feb 14

county mad says...

I got jaw ache this morning from smiling.UP THE COUNTY!!'!!!!
I got jaw ache this morning from smiling.UP THE COUNTY!!'!!!! county mad

12:09pm Wed 19 Feb 14

ex-St. Julians boy says...

Nice to see them back to winning ways. Probably did confidence t power of good as well.
Nice to see them back to winning ways. Probably did confidence t power of good as well. ex-St. Julians boy

2:58pm Wed 19 Feb 14

llandaff says...

The ref and linesmen were probably the worst I have ever seen. There appeared to be what can only be described as downright bias evident throughout the whole 90 minutes. Unpunished blatant fouls, handballs and a 100% offside second goal(confirmed on the video) waived on for the opposition. The league needs to take a careful look at last night's "performance" by these officials' (so called), instead of firing unwarranted criticism at the club for the state of the pitch. County won the match as the better team despite the appalling decisions.
A great result both morally and richly deserved.
The ref and linesmen were probably the worst I have ever seen. There appeared to be what can only be described as downright bias evident throughout the whole 90 minutes. Unpunished blatant fouls, handballs and a 100% offside second goal(confirmed on the video) waived on for the opposition. The league needs to take a careful look at last night's "performance" by these officials' (so called), instead of firing unwarranted criticism at the club for the state of the pitch. County won the match as the better team despite the appalling decisions. A great result both morally and richly deserved. llandaff

6:33pm Wed 19 Feb 14

hazellboy says...

llandaff wrote:
The ref and linesmen were probably the worst I have ever seen. There appeared to be what can only be described as downright bias evident throughout the whole 90 minutes. Unpunished blatant fouls, handballs and a 100% offside second goal(confirmed on the video) waived on for the opposition. The league needs to take a careful look at last night's "performance" by these officials' (so called), instead of firing unwarranted criticism at the club for the state of the pitch. County won the match as the better team despite the appalling decisions.
A great result both morally and richly deserved.
league 2 standard refs for league 2 standard players, you cant expect premier refs!
[quote][p][bold]llandaff[/bold] wrote: The ref and linesmen were probably the worst I have ever seen. There appeared to be what can only be described as downright bias evident throughout the whole 90 minutes. Unpunished blatant fouls, handballs and a 100% offside second goal(confirmed on the video) waived on for the opposition. The league needs to take a careful look at last night's "performance" by these officials' (so called), instead of firing unwarranted criticism at the club for the state of the pitch. County won the match as the better team despite the appalling decisions. A great result both morally and richly deserved.[/p][/quote]league 2 standard refs for league 2 standard players, you cant expect premier refs! hazellboy

6:49pm Wed 19 Feb 14

maz1maz says...

hazellboy wrote:
llandaff wrote:
The ref and linesmen were probably the worst I have ever seen. There appeared to be what can only be described as downright bias evident throughout the whole 90 minutes. Unpunished blatant fouls, handballs and a 100% offside second goal(confirmed on the video) waived on for the opposition. The league needs to take a careful look at last night's "performance" by these officials' (so called), instead of firing unwarranted criticism at the club for the state of the pitch. County won the match as the better team despite the appalling decisions.
A great result both morally and richly deserved.
league 2 standard refs for league 2 standard players, you cant expect premier refs!
Well you wouldn't want Howard Webb would you?
[quote][p][bold]hazellboy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]llandaff[/bold] wrote: The ref and linesmen were probably the worst I have ever seen. There appeared to be what can only be described as downright bias evident throughout the whole 90 minutes. Unpunished blatant fouls, handballs and a 100% offside second goal(confirmed on the video) waived on for the opposition. The league needs to take a careful look at last night's "performance" by these officials' (so called), instead of firing unwarranted criticism at the club for the state of the pitch. County won the match as the better team despite the appalling decisions. A great result both morally and richly deserved.[/p][/quote]league 2 standard refs for league 2 standard players, you cant expect premier refs![/p][/quote]Well you wouldn't want Howard Webb would you? maz1maz

7:10pm Wed 19 Feb 14

peckylecky says...

Fantastic result and a return to the flair football that is so very good to watch but add to that a steely edge that never gave oxford a look in. How they conceded 2 goals is a mystery . I for one cant wait for the next game, and if they play with the same resolve then a play off place is a foregone conclusion. GO NEWPORT.
Fantastic result and a return to the flair football that is so very good to watch but add to that a steely edge that never gave oxford a look in. How they conceded 2 goals is a mystery . I for one cant wait for the next game, and if they play with the same resolve then a play off place is a foregone conclusion. GO NEWPORT. peckylecky

9:08pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Frankfurt says...

It isn't always the case that we have officials who seem eager to give decisions in favour of opponents but reluctant to give them in favour of County, but it does seem to happen fairly often. Last night was certainly another example. I do wonder why this happens. Some think it is a reaction to abuse by the crowd, others because we are Welsh and the officials are always English. I don't know what it is.
It isn't always the case that we have officials who seem eager to give decisions in favour of opponents but reluctant to give them in favour of County, but it does seem to happen fairly often. Last night was certainly another example. I do wonder why this happens. Some think it is a reaction to abuse by the crowd, others because we are Welsh and the officials are always English. I don't know what it is. Frankfurt

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