Dominant Exiles have to settle for just a point

South Wales Argus: FINE GAME: County's Aaron O'Connor shields himself from the ball during tonight's game FINE GAME: County's Aaron O'Connor shields himself from the ball during tonight's game

COUNTY 1 WREXHAM 1

A REVITALISED Newport County failed to find the victory they needed to return to the top of the Blue Square Conference, paying the penalty for some wasteful finishing.

The Exiles missed a penalty, a sitter in injury time and struck the crossbar on an evening where they proved they are no flash in the pan in terms of being promotion contenders.

Justin Edinburgh’s men aren’t generally ones for keeping an unchanged side even after a positive result and certainly in light of the massacre against Forest Green Rovers it was no shock to see the manager switch things around.

Byron Anthony was the defender who paid the price for shipping five with David Pipe recalled after injury and Ryan Charles was rewarded for his wonder goal at Rovers on Boxing Day with a first start in months.

Wrexham were virtually at full strength and the Exiles would no doubt have been wary about the goal threat of Danny Wright, a constant thorn for Newport in recent times.

However, it was the visitors who had to prepare themselves for an early onslaught, County starting as if the last game didn’t happen, moving the ball cutely and quickly and causing the Dragons plenty of concern.

They probably should have led as early as the second minute, Pipe’s accurate freekick dropping perfectly for top-scorer Aaron O’Connor but his connection was as much fresh air as ball and Joslain Mayebi was able to make an easy grab.

The goalkeeper didn’t seem so secure when Andy Sandell’s trademark freekick on ten minutes seemed destined for the top corner, but Mayebi was grateful to see the ball end up just wide of the upright.

The visitors were sitting deep and looking to exploit Newport on the counter but when they did make a sharp break, Joe Clarke’s cross-shot was just wide with Alan Julian struggling to reach it.

This was an extremely even contest which was certainly a fine advert for the Conference and it exploded into life around the 30 minute mark.

First Mike Flynn’s dead-eye pass split the Wrexham defence and O’Connor burst onto it, controlling brilliantly but seeing his shot across goal well saved by Mayebi.

The eccentric but most certainly talented Cameroonian was keeping the Dragons in the contest and when Danny Alfei felled O’Connor after a quick throw undid Wrexham, he produced more heroics to tip away Sandell’s penalty. And that miss was a game-changer, Wright once again Newport’s tormentor-in-chief, bursting onto Adrian Cieslewicz’s clever through ball and storming through the Exiles’ rearguard and chipping over the stranded Alan Julian to give Wrexham the advantage.

It was exceptionally harsh on County and on the stroke of half time they were an inch away from parity, O’Connor firing viciously across goal and past Mayebi but also the wrong side of the post.

The Amber Army were in need of a lift but much like on New Year’s Day it was the visitors who started better after the interval. However, this time it was Newport who had the first true chance, Lee Evans’ corner meeting Flynn’s head but Alfei cleared off the line moments before Ismail Yakubu was forced to limp out of proceedings.

It was scarcely credible County were still trailing and their leveller finally arrived from a corner, Michael Smith boxing in Mayebi who punched meekly, O’Connor finding Max Porter whose deflected shot looped over the stranded keeper.

Charles then forced another stop from Mayebi as a Flynn-inspired Newport continued to dominate, their passing crisper and ambition greater than the North Walians who looked bereft with Flynn sticking like glue to Dean Keates.

Julian had become a virtual spectator but when he spilled a cross with 15 minutes remaining Cieslewicz had the goal at his mercy, only to hit the inside of the post in a huge let-off.

It signalled Wrexham’s best spell, Keates inches wide with a freekick as both sides pushed for a late winner, O’Connor’s thrilling run resulting in a corner when a pass instead of a shot might well have meant a goal as the contest drifted from good to pulsating.

Danny Crow made his welcome return after six weeks on the sidelines and he missed a simply stunning chance to take all three points, a superb County move involving O’Connor and Lee Evans giving him a clear sight of goal from six yards, but he tamely found Mayebi.

Even the most diehard Wrexham fan would’ve conceded County had played well enough to win the game and they came even closer in stoppage time, a brilliant run from O’Connor teeing up Flynn whose powerful header cannoned back off the crossbar.

Newport County: Julian, Pipe, Sandell, Yakubu (Hughes 57), James, Porter, Flynn, Evans, Charles (Crow 84), Smith, O’Connor

Subs not used: Minshull, Pidgeley, Swallow

Booked: Porter

Wrexham: Mayebi, Ashton, Alfei, Riley, Chieslewicz (Rushton 86), Harris (Ogleby 67), Wright, Keates, Clarke, Hunt, Westwood

Subs not used: Coughlin, Little, Walker

Booked: Wright, Mayebi

Referee: Karl Evans

Attendance: 3627 (421 away)

Argus star men: Mike Flynn and Aaron O’Connor

Comments (12)

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10:57pm Fri 4 Jan 13

COUNTYVOICE says...

much better COUNTY

grit determination , passion and commitment.

still not sure about julien , he seems to get caught in two minds sometimes with almost near fatal consequences.

but for me the star man was aaron o connor, a team player who ran ran and ran all night.

ryan charles didnt set the world alight again tonight, maybe suggesting he has the rare moment of brillance.

the return of danny crowe is very welcome. but for me there was too much use of the star wars style of play in the first half , hitting high long balls and hoping o connor latches onto it

but having said that a big crowd , a rough and tumble "local derby" and on the face of it a very fair result.

lets hope grimspy lose tomorrow as there will only be a point in it with county still having that all important game in hand.

nice to see edinburghs' passion tonight dont think he sat down all night.

county are just missing that one / two players of real quality, if they can get them in this transfer window they will be there at the end of the season

well done county, cracking game , and a good return to form after forest green.
much better COUNTY grit determination , passion and commitment. still not sure about julien , he seems to get caught in two minds sometimes with almost near fatal consequences. but for me the star man was aaron o connor, a team player who ran ran and ran all night. ryan charles didnt set the world alight again tonight, maybe suggesting he has the rare moment of brillance. the return of danny crowe is very welcome. but for me there was too much use of the star wars style of play in the first half , hitting high long balls and hoping o connor latches onto it but having said that a big crowd , a rough and tumble "local derby" and on the face of it a very fair result. lets hope grimspy lose tomorrow as there will only be a point in it with county still having that all important game in hand. nice to see edinburghs' passion tonight dont think he sat down all night. county are just missing that one / two players of real quality, if they can get them in this transfer window they will be there at the end of the season well done county, cracking game , and a good return to form after forest green. COUNTYVOICE

12:01am Sat 5 Jan 13

larneman says...

Talk about Jekyll and Hyde !!! WOW County this was some change around.So much commitment. I watched this on setanta busting for a pee but just could'nt take my eyes off the screen. We could have lost it (Oh Julian) but just as easy we could have won it. As the 2 commentaters said. "This was a great advert for the conference league" In the end a draw was a fair result. This promotion chase is'nt over for any of the top 6 or 7. Keep this up County and we must be there at the end of the season.
Thank you for a very enjoyable game. I'll go for my pee now.
Talk about Jekyll and Hyde !!! WOW County this was some change around.So much commitment. I watched this on setanta busting for a pee but just could'nt take my eyes off the screen. We could have lost it (Oh Julian) but just as easy we could have won it. As the 2 commentaters said. "This was a great advert for the conference league" In the end a draw was a fair result. This promotion chase is'nt over for any of the top 6 or 7. Keep this up County and we must be there at the end of the season. Thank you for a very enjoyable game. I'll go for my pee now. larneman

12:06am Sat 5 Jan 13

andy83 says...

julien between the post is going to cost us he never looks n control pipe played another cracker
julien between the post is going to cost us he never looks n control pipe played another cracker andy83

12:49am Sat 5 Jan 13

lowandhardandinthecorner says...

If we'd had Pidgely and Jolley instead of Julian and Charles, we'd be celebrating 3 points tonight
If we'd had Pidgely and Jolley instead of Julian and Charles, we'd be celebrating 3 points tonight lowandhardandinthecorner

12:50am Sat 5 Jan 13

lowandhardandinthecorner says...

If we'd had Pidgely and Jolley instead of Julian and Charles, we'd be celebrating 3 points tonight
If we'd had Pidgely and Jolley instead of Julian and Charles, we'd be celebrating 3 points tonight lowandhardandinthecorner

1:32am Sat 5 Jan 13

LSB Bee says...

Brilliant game, enjoyed every minute of it - what a a wonderful advert for conference football. County deserved the three points and the Gogs must consider themselves lucky to return up north with a point. Flynn and O'Connor didn't stop running all night. Onwards an upwards. CTID
Brilliant game, enjoyed every minute of it - what a a wonderful advert for conference football. County deserved the three points and the Gogs must consider themselves lucky to return up north with a point. Flynn and O'Connor didn't stop running all night. Onwards an upwards. CTID LSB Bee

9:59am Sat 5 Jan 13

netala says...

what a difference in 3 days, county playing with supreme confidence right from the start. driven on by captain marvelous. " Pipe " deserves a medal for his leadership he inspired the rest of the team onto, what should have been, a deserved victory. the long high ball should not be an option, we have talented football players use their skills.only sour point was the goalkeeper , he`s just not cutting it at this level, although he`s played at a higher one, a change is needed J.E. please do it. but overall a satisfactory result. promotion still a possibility.
what a difference in 3 days, county playing with supreme confidence right from the start. driven on by captain marvelous. " Pipe " deserves a medal for his leadership he inspired the rest of the team onto, what should have been, a deserved victory. the long high ball should not be an option, we have talented football players use their skills.only sour point was the goalkeeper , he`s just not cutting it at this level, although he`s played at a higher one, a change is needed J.E. please do it. but overall a satisfactory result. promotion still a possibility. netala

10:34am Sat 5 Jan 13

Tony Soprano says...

stunning performance lads, totally agree with the above comment about Pidgeley & Jolley in place of Blunder & Charles.
well done lads CTWD
stunning performance lads, totally agree with the above comment about Pidgeley & Jolley in place of Blunder & Charles. well done lads CTWD Tony Soprano

12:05pm Sat 5 Jan 13

michaelgdn says...

Playing well but not finishing off well, will not win promotion.

There does not seem to be confident, instinctive and accurate play in front of goal, There is no doubt that Jolley would have won the match against Wrexham with the chances that were presented

Do not lose Pidgeley by not playing him that would be disgraceful

Michael G.. ..
Playing well but not finishing off well, will not win promotion. There does not seem to be confident, instinctive and accurate play in front of goal, There is no doubt that Jolley would have won the match against Wrexham with the chances that were presented Do not lose Pidgeley by not playing him that would be disgraceful Michael G.. .. michaelgdn

2:21pm Sat 5 Jan 13

Slider02 says...

Ummmm - having seen the County play a couple of times now, if i was to be brutal, I am sorry but julian really HAS to be dropped in favour of Pidgley - he has cost us far too many games by not being the defensive team leader that he should be. He simply does not have what it takes to tell his defenders what he wants them to do.

A keeper simply has to be in charge, and seen to be in charge, and ooze confidance at all times. Unfortunatly Julian has lacked this leadership skill on far to many occasions.

Yes the team also needs a few new faces as well, And Justin is entirely right to stick with his valuations of his targets.

But now the second half of the season is underway, and as each game, and each point becomes more vital, the team cannot continue with a keeper that is sometimes indesisive between the sticks. If he is not dropped - he will probably cost us promotion to league 2.
Ummmm - having seen the County play a couple of times now, if i was to be brutal, I am sorry but julian really HAS to be dropped in favour of Pidgley - he has cost us far too many games by not being the defensive team leader that he should be. He simply does not have what it takes to tell his defenders what he wants them to do. A keeper simply has to be in charge, and seen to be in charge, and ooze confidance at all times. Unfortunatly Julian has lacked this leadership skill on far to many occasions. Yes the team also needs a few new faces as well, And Justin is entirely right to stick with his valuations of his targets. But now the second half of the season is underway, and as each game, and each point becomes more vital, the team cannot continue with a keeper that is sometimes indesisive between the sticks. If he is not dropped - he will probably cost us promotion to league 2. Slider02

7:21pm Sat 5 Jan 13

llandaff says...

I will say it yet again, the defense was wide open, with Julian virtually rudderless.Wrexham's goal was a carbon copy of the 5th goal by FGR on Tuesday. Please please Mr E change the goalkeeper now and sign up two decent defenders. County were great going forward and I enjoyed the match, but we should have won it. Finishing was dire in front of goal. I won't mention the penalty! Come on lads the best is yet to come!
I will say it yet again, the defense was wide open, with Julian virtually rudderless.Wrexham's goal was a carbon copy of the 5th goal by FGR on Tuesday. Please please Mr E change the goalkeeper now and sign up two decent defenders. County were great going forward and I enjoyed the match, but we should have won it. Finishing was dire in front of goal. I won't mention the penalty! Come on lads the best is yet to come! llandaff

9:25pm Sat 5 Jan 13

COUNTYVOICE says...

pidgely has to be given another chance, given that famous competition for places.
slogan

but surprisingly county seemed to play better when yakubu came off injured and andrew hughes came on...... coincidence.?

julien is a good shot stopper, but he was left flapping at the chance wrexham had in the second half when they hit the bar.
could v been costly
pidgely has to be given another chance, given that famous competition for places. slogan but surprisingly county seemed to play better when yakubu came off injured and andrew hughes came on...... coincidence.? julien is a good shot stopper, but he was left flapping at the chance wrexham had in the second half when they hit the bar. could v been costly COUNTYVOICE

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