NEWPORT County AFC suffered a 1-0 defeat to Northampton Town in a low-quality game at Rodney Parade.

The Exiles were aiming to thrive on home soil after a strong start to the League Two campaign on the road but produced an abject performance.

Cobblers defender Jon Guthrie smashed in the only goal of the game approaching half-time and County failed to seriously threaten an equaliser.

READ MORE: Michael Flynn's post-match verdict

Here are the talking points from Rodney Parade…


The first home game of the campaign was a 2-2 thriller against Leyton Orient, an end-to-end game with both sides playing some good football.

This was not. It was a drab encounter and well-drilled, organised Northampton deserved the win after being better at the basics.

The goal was a shocker from a defensive point of view; County conceded a poor free-kick by playing themselves into trouble then they failed to deal with it.

Guthrie slammed in a loose ball and gave the Cobblers something to hang onto, which they did with ease for a fifth clean sheet in seven games.

County were shocking but probably would have totted up an uninspiring point were it not for the latest defensive shocker.

South Wales Argus: WINNER: Jon Guthrie celebrates for NorthamptonWINNER: Jon Guthrie celebrates for Northampton


County were already 3-0 down at Salford when Wayne Hatswell, in charge for the absent Michael Flynn, made a pair of first-half substitutions.

Easy to say with hindsight, but perhaps similar was required last night.

Flynn was clear in his post-match verdict that the players had gone away from the gameplan by playing the ball long to a pair of young, nippy but slight forwards in Lewis Collins and Timmy Abraham.

It was here that the absence of Ed Upson, who was ill, was felt. County needed somebody to demand the ball, cool things down and look to work the ball forward.

Teams have done their analysis and know that Priestley Farquharson is not the most comfortable on the ball and the right side of the defence doesn’t have the calmness in possession from 2020/21 when Brandon Cooper and Liam Shephard were in the team.

One felt for 18-year-old Aneurin Livermore and 20-year-old Jake Cain in midfield but they will learn from the chastening experience.

Could Matty Dolan, dropped after a poor performance at Harrogate, have settled things down?

South Wales Argus: TOUGH NIGHT: County didn't play to Lewis Collins' strengthsTOUGH NIGHT: County didn't play to Lewis Collins' strengths


It was a frustrating night for Collins and Abraham, who got a starting shot only for the team to not play to their strengths.

“In the first half I thought we might as well play with no strikers but that was down to the boys knocking the ball up to them,” said Flynn.

“There wasn’t enough movement off the ball to get on the ball, then we were just giving it away.”

The front line is currently a problem with the Exiles reliant on Alex Fisher, a player who only signed after the start of the campaign thanks to a successful trial, to provide a focal point.

County still want to play possession-based football but need a presence up top and have just one man able to do that.

Courtney Baker-Richardson is recovering from a quad injury while Jordan Greenidge, who was earmarked for the development team this season, has been absent since the coronavirus/isolation problem.

Last season County were a team that dominated possession but struggled in the final third. Last night they failed to get past a Northampton team that pinned them in.


Flynn changed all 11 players from the League Two opener at Oldham to the Carabao Cup tie at Ipswich. There could be no major complaints if he did similar this weekend.

It will be a huge surprise if County don’t make drastic changes for the home fixture against Walsall –Dolan, Aaron Lewis, Upson, Chris Missilou, Finn Azaz, Cooper, Alex Fisher are all serious contenders for starts.

Sadly County will definitely be forced into one change and Scot Bennett will be badly missed after injury.

But it’s not just a case of changing the personnel, the Exiles have to be on it mentally and stick to the plan.

Forget about Flynn’s fury, the fans will not accept a repeat of the Northampton performance.