NEWPORT County AFC failed to make it a perfect seven from seven at Rodney Parade after drawing 1-1 with Walsall in League Two on Tuesday night.

The table-topping Exiles had taken 18 points from a possible 18 but had to settle for one against the Saddlers.

The visitors took the lead when Elijah Adebayo fired home after 22 minutes only for Scott Twine to reply almost immediately.

READ MORE: The match report from Rodney Parade

The midfielder ambitiously shot from 35 metres out from a quickly-taken free-kick and profited from Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts spilling the ball into his net.

The Saddlers deserved to be ahead at the break but the second half was more even, with Twine wasting a glorious chance at the death when he nodded wide from close range.

Paul Mullin’s late, late goal for third-placed Cambridge at second-placed Cheltenham means that County remain three points clear at the top of the table.

Here are the talking points from the clash at Rodney Parade...

South Wales Argus: DOWNED: Scott Twine is brought downDOWNED: Scott Twine is brought down


Perhaps it is just a sign of how good County have been this season that there was disappointment at being held to a draw against a strong side.

The Exiles have played some terrific football to sit top of the table in League Two, while winning late in four previous home encounters can’t just be down to luck.

Twine really should have made it a fifth late show by County only to fluff his lines when unmarked late on but they wouldn’t have deserved this one.

With Cheltenham and Cambridge drawing, this was a good point that maintains a three-point lead.

Walsall may have been on a four-game losing streak but they are a good team; they sit 16th but Tuesday night’s evidence suggests they should be in the mix for play-offs/promotion.

This was the worst performance that I’ve witnessed from County this season and they still took a point. Draw a line under it, onto the next one.

South Wales Argus: PUSHING OUT: Joss Labadie on the attack for CountyPUSHING OUT: Joss Labadie on the attack for County


Walsall had dangerous players but they were also extremely well-drilled to put County under real pressure.

Flynn’s men have reaped the rewards of being brave when playing out from the back but this was an evening where they were hustled into mistakes.

The Saddlers’ goal was well-taken by Adebayo but it didn’t make good viewing from a defensive point of view.

“There were four or five errors with diving in and losing runners,” lamented Flynn afterwards.

Matty Dolan has look assured all season since moving back from midfield to central defensive but this was a testing night and he was extremely lucky not to be punished after being caught out twice shortly after Twine’s leveller.

It’s down to County to stick with the method that has earned praise in the opening months of the season and they have to be able to shrug off nights like this when they were a little bit rattled, especially in the first half.

Other teams are sure to follow Walsall's lead but the rewards have been worth the risk so far.


County were better in the second half and there was a bit more joy from going direct.

Planned work on the Rodney Parade pitch did not happen this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic and there is the fear that it could go downhill swiftly, even without being used by Newport RFC and with Cardiff Blues back in the capital in January.

The Exiles have to be adaptable and show different ways of winning; they cannot just rely on building from the back and on Josh Sheehan pulling the strings.

Jamie Proctor can be a physical presence up front but is yet to hit the standards set by Ryan Taylor, who started life promisingly after moving from Plymouth.

South Wales Argus: FEISTY: Kevin Ellison argues with Walsall late onFEISTY: Kevin Ellison argues with Walsall late on


For all the minor grumbles about the County performance it still could very easily have led to three points.

It was a night when things didn’t go their way and many players would have ranked it as their worst personal display of the campaign yet they still managed to push late on.

Robbie Willmott once again made a difference – worth of a start down the right on Saturday, whether right wing-back or right wing in a change of formation? – and created a wonderful chance for Twine.

Dolan then went close to being the winner with a deflected free-kick, but it wasn’t all towards the Walsall end.

The Saddlers put pressure on in injury time with three late corners but County defended well.

They have shown spirit to strike late in previous fixtures and they also displayed good concentration to ensure they weren’t hit by a Walsall sucker punch.