NEWPORT County AFC had to settle for a point after a goalless draw with Stevenage at a sunny Rodney Parade.

A game short of incident ended in stalemate with County thankful for a smart save at the start of the second half by Nick Townsend, who rushed off his line to deny Elliot List in a one-on-one.

The Exiles huffed and puffed but failed to conjure any clear chances and were held to a draw that leaves them sixth in League Two ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Tranmere.

Here are the talking points from Rodney Parade…

HEADER: Priestley Farquharson of County is beaten to the ball by Terence Vancooten

HEADER: Priestley Farquharson of County is beaten to the ball by Terence Vancooten


It was a surprise to pop on the Sky Sports highlights package and see that it lasted 1m 50secs.

That the first incident was a ball lumped into the box that was claimed at the second attempt and that it also included a cross being punched away showed that this was an incredible feat of filling by whoever clipped the action together.

This was a game of very few incidents of note: a super save by Nick Townsend, a tame effort by Nicky Maynard and a mystifying decision not to show yellow to Stevenage’s Scott Cuthbert after a textbook professional foul to stop a counter.

It was an incredibly stop-start game and the ball-in-play time must have been low given the amount of waiting for corners, throws and free-kicks.

The pitch is unquestionably the main factor in this but the Exiles have to be better on it, and this was the best that it has looked for weeks.

The club may be asking to take games away from Rodney Parade but it is very possible that the EFL will tell them to get on with it at their proper home.

Stevenage looked a little shaky at the start when they got to grips with the surface, so County need to try to start fast to get in front. Easier said than done.


County held on against some late pressure to beat Walsall on Wednesday but it came at a cost.

Midfielder Joss Labadie had been fantastic at both ends, coming up with some telling defensive interventions, providing two assists for clear chances and scoring the winner.

However, he took a bang at the death and came off in injury time.

County could not risk him against Stevenage and he was missed; the trio of Labadie, Sheehan and Bennett that worked so well at the Bescot was broken up.

In came Anthony Hartigan and it was another display that left you wanting more from a player who has lots of experience of League One.

Perhaps the pitch is not getting the most out of his game but the 21-year-old is too often a passenger.

That is an accusation that can never be levelled at Labadie, who is in the thick of it when winning free-kicks or breaking up play.

CLAIMED: Jamie Cumming catches a cross under pressure from Ryan Taylor

CLAIMED: Jamie Cumming catches a cross under pressure from Ryan Taylor


Nobody is creating much on the Rodney Parade pitch, which makes set plays even more important.

It was galling to see that Swindon won a relegation six-pointer with Northampton after Scott Twine whipped in a free-kick to equalise on the stroke of half-time.

What County would give to have their former loan star’s delivery back.

The Exiles are wasting chances to test the opposition keeper from free-kicks and failing to make corners count, whether it’s Josh Sheehan or Matty Dolan.

Mickey Demetriou would have had to put bags of frozen peas on his biceps after a glut of long throws against Stevenage.

The visitors dealt with them without alarm and County failed to force stopper Jamie Cumming to come through traffic to claim the ball.

Set-piece detail is always important but it is even more vital at the moment in home games.


The result was fair and it was another point for hard-working County in their push for promotion even if they were desperate for three after their excellent in Walsall.

As ever in League Two, some of the other results went their way and others didn’t. There’s always one team on the slide and another on the up.

However, it feels like the next block of games will be crucial to deciding who will be chasing the play-offs and who will be cut adrift in the bid for the top three.

County are just about hanging in as contenders for automatic promotion but leaders Cambridge have points on the board and Forest Green, Cheltenham and Tranmere all look like extremely strong sides.

The Exiles head to Birkenhead in midweek and if they can leave with something to show for their efforts against the club in fourth then it will be a job well done.

With four of the next five games on the road, Flynn & Co need to keep ticking along with ones and the odd three.