JAMES Rowberry was pleased his Newport County AFC players passed the character test of getting something from a cold night in Crawley but felt it was two points dropped after being denied a penalty.

The Exiles shared the spoils 1-1 at Broadfield Stadium thanks to in-form striker Dom Telford, who slotted his 13th goal of the season from Ollie Cooper’s cross in the 84th minute.

County bossed the first half but were outplayed in the second and fell behind when Kwesi Appiah headed in from a free-kick 10 minutes after the restart.

The Crawley striker also struck the bar with a lofted effort after Telford’s equaliser and it took a fine diving save from Joe Day to deny Reece Grego-Cox.


Rowberry has taken 10 points from his first five League Two games to guide the Exiles to ninth in the table, two points off the play-offs and five back on second, but was disappointed to only leave with a draw.

“I thought we did enough in the first half to create opportunities and didn’t take them. We built quite well but didn’t get on their third and fourth line to get in behind as we like to,” he said.

“We’ve got to work harder in the final third to ensure that we produce quality to get the opportunities we deserve with our build-up.

“Second half they came at us more and got after us, I was disappointed to concede from a set play but the reaction was terrific.

“Some might say it was a point gained, I’d say it was two lost but it was vital to get something out of the game.

“I look at results here in previous years and if we had gone 1-0 down then I’m not sure how we would have got on. It’s a positive result to come back from going behind to draw the game.”

Rowberry also felt that County were denied the chance to hit the front from the spot in the first half when wing-back Aaron Lewis was brought down by a clumsy challenge.

Referee Sam Allison, who has been one of the better officials in the Exiles’ games in recent seasons, shock his head and left the visiting dugout exasperated all night.

South Wales Argus: FRUSTRATION: County felt they Sam Allinson should have given them a penaltyFRUSTRATION: County felt they Sam Allinson should have given them a penalty

“I felt we should have had a penalty – it was a stone-cold penalty and I’ve seen it back as well. One hundred per cent,” said Rowberry.

“A lot of the decisions didn’t go our way and we couldn’t get a real flow to the game because of the decisions of the referee.

“It’s similar to what (Swindon boss) Ben Garner said to the Press on Saturday, he was laughing with me at some of the decisions and I was saying to John Yems at Crawley that I couldn’t get my head around it.

“We invest a lot in coaching, leadership, management and infrastructure of football clubs and I think there has got to be a duty of care to invest in the development of referees as well.”

County got back to Newport in the early hours and will be back on the bus on Thursday to head to Essex for a Friday night date with Colchester.

Rowberry started his reign with wins against Bristol Rovers, Stevenage and Hartlepool, lost a high-quality game with Swindon and drew in Crawley.

He said: “They say in the Premier League about going to Stoke on a cold Tuesday night, in League Two it’s almost going to Crawley on a cold Tuesday night!

“I was pleased to get a point in the end but on reflection, in the first half especially, we should have done more to win the game.”