NEWPORT County AFC dropped to seventh in League Two after a 1-0 defeat to Leyton Orient at Cardiff City Stadium.

The Exiles were hunting back-to-back home league wins for the first time since October but instead they suffered successive defeats.

County hit the post in the first half when Matty Dolan’s free-kick was flicked on by Joss Labadie but were second best after the break and paid the price when Conor Wilkinson slotted.

A cross went through the back post and he side-footed home, with the goal given after referee Samuel Barrott correctly overturned an offside flag.

Here are the talking points from the clash in the capital…


“Swing from high to deep, extremes of sweet and sour,” James’ ‘Sit Down’ is the soundtrack to County’s season.

From the hope of the top three after winning against Colchester, Bradford and Morecambe to the fears of missing the play-offs following defeats to Port Vale and Orient.

Looking at the table just makes the past week more frustrating. Seventh-placed County are four points back on third-placed Forest Green Rovers and four ahead of eighth-placed Exeter.

They remain right in the mix for the play-offs, in fact those chasing have had their own struggles.

Yet the top three would have really been on had the Exiles produced the goods against Vale and/or Orient.

County will now watch on with interest during the international break with the possibility of them being out of the play-off spots by the time they return at in-form Barrow.

Flynn's side have 10 games to go with key clashes against promotion rivals Bolton, Carlisle, Cambridge, Crawley, Exeter and Cheltenham.

The past week's failures mean they have no wiggle room against some quality teams, and this won’t be a fortnight of rest ahead of a key period because there is plenty of work to be done on the training pitch.

South Wales Argus: MARKED: County playmaker Josh Sheehan was watched carefully by OrientMARKED: County playmaker Josh Sheehan was watched carefully by Orient


The lack of creativity has been a theme of 2021, one that cropped up when County were hit by a quick combination of problems with the loss of Scott Twine, costly suspensions and pitch problems at Rodney Parade.

Perhaps the shoddy surface just provided an excuse for an Exiles side that can struggle to stick the dagger into rivals.

They moved it nicely against Orient everywhere apart from the all-important final third. The Londoners were happy to let Josh Sheehan and Matty Dolan shift the ball around in the middle of the park.

Visiting goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux had just one save to make and that was a routine one from Nicky Maynard.

County have five forward options up front with Padraig Amond having just six League Two goals to his name, Jake Scrimshaw three, Ryan Taylor two and Maynard and Dom Telford one apiece.

Twine is still joint top scorer with Amond and penalty taker Dolan.

“It doesn't matter who you are playing up front at the moment, they aren’t getting any service,” said Flynn afterwards.

“I feel sorry for the forwards, it's almost like they know they are only going to get one chance in a game and there is then so much pressure on them to take it.

“We have so much of the ball and get into so many good areas, but the amount that get blocked or are overhit or under hit is criminal.”

Attacking midfielder Luke Gambin failed to make a big statement in his bid for a start by failing to lift the quality off the bench.

Hopefully Joe Ledley can have two weeks of useful graft then take some of the creative burden off Josh Sheehan, who has had a successful season but at times goes way too deep to hurt teams.

South Wales Argus: BOW: Joe Ledley tries to get County on the moveBOW: Joe Ledley tries to get County on the move


It wasn’t the debut that Ledley wanted in his hometown but the Wales international will hopefully be an influential figure in the run-in.

He slotted in at the back after Dolan was forced off with a calf strain – Flynn opting to play him there rather than moving Scot Bennett back – but he has primarily been signed to play in his usual midfield role.

"I don't think that he did anything wrong," said Flynn. "He didnt have much to do, used the ball well and moved well. I am sure we will see his quality."

South Wales Argus: DEPUTY: Aaron Lewis has slotted in for Ryan Haynes down the leftDEPUTY: Aaron Lewis has slotted in for Ryan Haynes down the left


A feature of the flying start to the campaign was the double threat from the flanks, Liam Shephard bombing on down the right and Ryan Haynes down the left.

County need to rediscover that creation from wide channels because there has been too much waste.

Shephard will be disappointed that he hasn’t hit the standards set in the opening months since returning from suspension.

Haynes was suffering from a dip before a groin injury that has sidelined him for the past four games.

Aaron Lewis has been solid as a deputy but needs to be more like Denis Irwin and trust his left peg to be a threat on the outside.

However, County are undoubtedly more balanced with Haynes down the left.