NEWPORT County AFC were given a second drubbing of the week when beaten 3-0 by Salford City in League Two.

The Exiles made a nightmare start to trail after just 38 seconds when a Priestley Farquharson error was punished by Tyreik Wright.

Conor McAleny scored a cracker to make it 2-0 after 18 minutes and then another mistake, by the usually reliable Scot Bennett, allowed Ian Henderson to make it 3-0 after half an hour.

There was no way back and the Exiles ended their August away from home on a low – and it could have been worse if Salford had been more clinical.

Here are the talking points from Moor Lane…

South Wales Argus: NIGHTMARE: Scot Bennett's poor pass left Joe Day exposed for the thirdNIGHTMARE: Scot Bennett's poor pass left Joe Day exposed for the third


All aboard the County rollercoaster.

Last week the Exiles produced a disciplined performance to record a 1-0 win at Tranmere that was up there with the Bradford and Bolton successes of last season.

Seven days later they put in a display that was arguably the worst performance of the last 12 months, vying with the loss to Southend at Rodney Parade in the shame stakes.

It will be a surprise if Salford are not contenders for the top seven this season but had started the season poorly.

County’s task was to frustrate and play off their doubts but that gameplan was ripped up inside a minute when Farquharson was caught trying to play out. It was similar to his error at Tranmere last season.

McAleny’s goal was a superb strike but the third was another error by Bennett, who failed to adjust to a pitch that was playing slow in the sun when passing a ball back to goalkeeper Joe Day.

Game over but this could easily have been a score to rival the 8-0 against Southampton with Salford blowing a glut of chances in the final quarter of an hour.

The rapid turnaround from being given the run-around by the Saints should be mentioned but it was County’s sloppiness rather than weary legs that was the deciding factor in this game.

Not one player would have been more than a 5/10.

South Wales Argus: SORRY! Matty Dolan heads over to talk to the County fans after the gameSORRY! Matty Dolan heads over to talk to the County fans after the game


The one positive from an afternoon that was depressing despite the glorious sun was the introduction of Matty Dolan.

The captain returned with 45 minutes against Southampton and was called into action in the first half, albeit for damage limitation at 3-0.

His display showed why Michael Flynn and Wayne Hatswell have been so careful in bringing the midfielder-turned-defender back from a calf strain suffered at Oldham on opening day.

Salford don’t have the biggest crowds but when Dolan came on you could hear more chatter with the 28-year-old organising, prompting and leadership.

County are flexible and have the ability to play a flat four as well as a defensive three but there is a solid argument for building a base by sticking with the wing-backs system that served them so well last season.

Dolan is pivotal, especially in the absence of fellow stalwart Mickey Demetriou, and getting him fit to organise without the ball and pull the strings with it is key.

It would also enable Bennett, who has put in some influential performances at the heart of a three, to work on developing a midfield partnership with Ed Upson.

South Wales Argus: ISOLATED: Alex Fisher was alone up topISOLATED: Alex Fisher was alone up top


Finn Azaz did not feature in Salford after coming off at half-time against Southampton and the young midfielder was sorely missed; the Aston Villa loanee has the ability to be that link between midfield and attack.

Things were disjointed at Moor Lane and striker Alex Fisher was completely isolated in the first half with the Salford defence doing a fine job against the physical frontman.

Hatswell called for Timmy Abraham early and he had some flashes of inspiration, but County still suffer from the same problems from last season in the final third.

It was a huge blow to lose Courtney Senior to serious knee injury in pre-season while Courtney Baker-Richardson is yet to make his bow after a quad strain.

Perhaps manager Michael Flynn, who is now out of isolation and able to return to the dugout, will spend the next couple of days trying to add some extra midfield creativity… but then again, he could also do with a proven striker.

Maybe it’s down to the midfield-attack link but at the moment County, just like last season, don’t look to have anybody that will hit double figures.

A successful campaign is currently reliant on them sharing the goals around but it’s been a slow start.


It was an awful week and the manner of the defeat in Salford was alarming, but it has been a steady August for County given the schedule.

They have headed to the north west of England three times, to the East Midlands once and Suffolk.

Six points from 12 on the road is a good return – 1.5 points per game compared to 1.16 over the course of last season, while the corresponding fixtures yielded two points from draws at Mansfield and Salford – and provides a foundation to build from.

County will relish a return to Rodney Parade on Saturday when Leyton Orient, fresh from an impressive win against Bradford, are the visitors.

After having being cagey on their travels, County can get on the front foot and make the most of their backing from the stands.

Flynn had to watch from his lounge rather than the touchline but I can tell you what he would have said after the game, it would have been along the lines of: ‘I didn’t get too high after Tranmere, I won’t get too low after Salford’.