James Rowberry suffered his first defeat as Newport County manager as Morecambe heaped more pain on the Exiles with an FA Cup first-round victory.

It was Morecambe who beat Newport in last season’s League Two play-off final and a goal from Aaron Wildig saw them repeat the trick.

It means County, who have famously been FA Cup giantkillers in recent seasons, won’t be doing so this year and will only have league action to focus on this term.

Morecambe started strongly and immediately put County under pressure. Alfie McCalmont was the man with the early home chances. Morecambe had the conditions and the wind in their favour for the first half, but their defender Scot Wootton was yellow carded for scything down Courtney Baker-Richardson. Jake Cain had a shot saved while Dom Telford went close to continuing his red-hot form.

Jokull Andresson in the Morecambe goal saved on both occasions and then Finn Azaz saw a shot narrowly deflected just wide of the post.

It was the closest County had come to a goal and after a slow start, Rowberry’s men had woken up as they played some impressive football in tough conditions.

On loan midfielder Ollie Cooper was an influential presence for the visitors as he tried to take control of the game. Baker-Richardson also had a shot saved but the offside flag had gone up.

Rowberry would have been a happy man with how his side had recovered from a sluggish first few minutes even though Andresson stopped County from taking the lead.
County built up a head of steam just before the break but the two sides turned around with the game goalless.

Newport goalkeeper Joe Day produced some more smart handling at the start of the second half when he saved well from Cole Stockton who also slammed over the bar.
Cain and Telford couldn’t hit the target at the other end as an entertaining game continued. Both sides were having their chances, but County could have considered themselves unfortunate to go behind. Morecambe substitute Wildig was the man with the goal as he made an instant impact.

Less than a minute after coming off the bench, Wildig finished a drilled low Morecambe cross which came across the box. No Newport defender could get near it and Wildig tapped in at the back post.

It was a bitter blow for manager Rowberry and his team, but they came close to an immediate response. Baker-Richardson had an acrobatic effort deflected narrowly wide.
Azan then shot over from distance. County were certainly not out of the contest and Rowberry introduced attackers Kevin Ellison and Lewis Collins in search of an equaliser.

Ellison and Azaz – yet again – had shots saved by Andresson, but no goal arrived and Newport were left to rue the fact they didn’t convert their chances.

Morecambe (4-3-3): Andresson; McLaughlin (Cooney 83), O’Connor, Wootton, Leigh; Jones, Phillips (Wildig 67), McCalmont; Ayunga, Stockton, Gnahoua (Diagouraga 79)
Substitutes not used: Letheren, McDonald, Delaney, Mensah, Gibson, Harrison
Goal: Wildig 68
Booked: Wootton  

Newport County (4-1-2-1-2): Day; Norman, Clarke, Demtriou, Lewis (Collins 83); Willmott, Azaz, Cain (Ellison 77); Cooper (Fisher  90), Telford, Baker-Richardson
Substitutes not used: Townsend, Haynes, Upson, Dolan, Abraham, Missilou 

Referee: Chris Sarginson
Star man: Finn Azaz (Newport County)