With Newport County AFC out of action after EFL fixtures were suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re dipping into the Argus archives to relive the club’s miraculous Great Escape from relegation three years on. Follow the action day-by-day as Michael Flynn’s men battle to beat the drop against all the odds…

First published on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

STRIKER Alex Samuel still believes Newport County AFC can avoid relegation, and he is going to do all he can to help them stay in League Two.

Samuel, who joined the Exiles on loan from Swansea City in January, netted his first goal for the Rodney Parade outfit in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Blackpool.

The Neath-born 21-year-old has impressed in 10 County appearances to date, with his 11th match in amber set to come tonight when Samuel’s side host Luton Town (kick-off 7.45pm).

Samuel, like so many of the current Newport squad, weren’t at the club when the two teams met in an explosive Kenilworth Road clash last August.

A lot has changed since the Hatters’ controversial 2-1 win in that reverse fixture, with changes in management and playing personnel aplenty for County during the intervening months.

Eighteen places and 27 points now separate the sides at opposite ends of the league table.

The Exiles lost for the first time under Michael Flynn on Saturday, but Samuel feels it is imperative they put that setback behind them as quickly as possible.

“The result doesn’t really reflect the game,” he said. “With the chances we had we could have easily come back.

“But it has gone now and we’ve got to focus on a huge game tonight. We need to get winning again and get out of this relegation battle.”

He added: “I think we can stay up.

“We performed well again on Saturday. We battled well and more than matched Blackpool, so we’ve just got to keep going, dust ourselves off and go again against Luton.

“I’m just enjoying playing regular first-team football, that’s what I want, and to give my best for Newport while I’m here.

“That’s what I’m doing and that’s what I’ll keep doing.”

South Wales Argus:

And now that he is off the mark in front of goal, Samuel is keen to keep adding to his tally.

He said: “It was obviously nice to score. Hopefully there will be many more.

“Throughout the whole game I just had to keep in my mind that I was going to get a chance running in behind, and it came.

“Riggy (Sean Rigg) put one over and, luckily, it bounced in my favour and I got in front of the defender.

“I think there were two on me and the referee said he would have given a penalty if I hadn’t scored, but I put it away.

“I’m so glad I stayed on my feet, I just want to be ruthless in the box.”

Lenell John-Lewis, Jamie Turley and Ben Tozer remain out for County, Darren Jones could feature, while skipper Joss Labadie is a doubt after picking up a hip injury against Blackpool.