NEWPORT County AFC’s hopes of a late charge into the League Two play-offs were dashed by a 2-1 defeat to Colchester United at Rodney Parade on Friday.

The Exiles would have gone back into the top seven with victory but instead threw away a 1-0 lead in the second half to suffer a fourth consecutive loss on home soil.

Dom Telford gave them the lead with his 26th goal of the season but the striker won’t have Wembley glory to go along with the golden boot.

John Akinde equalised for the U’s after 67 minutes, almost straight after coming off the bench, and then Noah Chilvers slotted after 76 minutes.

County couldn’t respond and even six points from their two remaining games is extremely unlikely to be enough for the play-offs.

Here are the talking points from Rodney Parade…


It’s going to be a busy day at Specsavers near Friars Walk – there were 5,989 fans at Rodney Parade (5,811 from Newport) and they will be worried about their vision.

County boss James Rowberry declared afterwards: “Tactically they didn’t break us down, tactically they didn’t do anything to hurt us, it was just individual errors that cost us.

“Our first half was excellent and our second half was not excellent.”

They deserved the lead and could very well have doubled it from the spot when Rob Street was brought down only for the appeals to be waved away.

However, County were certainly not excellent and they haven’t been for months.

Rowberry needs to be careful and there are shades of Roberto Martinez, who would suggest his side had been ‘phenomenal’ in even the meekest of Premier League defeats.

Fans get sick of that constant positivity, they need a bit of honesty and culpability every now and then. That doesn’t have to mean throwing individual players under the bus.

Rowberry is still a management novice but he can still be himself when delivering some home truths without going full Flynn.

South Wales Argus:


This was a case of County paying the price for being tentative; they left themselves vulnerable at 1-0 against a Colchester side who looked poor for most of the game.

They didn’t really grasp the game and paid the price for not going for the kill at the start of the second half.

The Exiles had some nice moments when building in attack but lacked crispness and accuracy; perhaps the extra touch was taken a little too often and things didn’t flow naturally.

The start of Rowberry’s reign was characterised by winning the ball high up the pitch, breaking at speed with players flying forward and firing shots in.

That still happens occasionally but of late the final ball or touch hasn’t quite been on the money while on occasions last night the opportunity to break was wasted by a pass sideways.

Their shot count has also shrunk, especially shots on target.

They burgled a win at Swindon despite a Telford curler that was comfortably saved being their only one on target, with the winner at the death coming from an own goal.

County have lost five of their last seven but not once has the opposition ‘keeper been forced into having an absolute stormer.


We could easily have been spending our afternoon watching results coming in from elsewhere hoping for a bit of help.

County are not good enough for the play-offs, the last month or so has shown that, but they still should have been given the chance to go 2-0 up from the spot.

Street was wrestled to the ground at the end of the first half and it certainly wouldn’t have been any softer than Sutton’s spot-kick last Monday.

Crystal Palace are getting what they wanted from this loan spell – the young striker is learning about the rough stuff, and without much reward.

If Street keeps progressing then at least he will have VAR with the Eagles.

South Wales Argus: County boss James RowberryCounty boss James Rowberry


From the sun of Sutton on Monday to a chilly Newport Friday, and County have provided a run of form that they normally produce in January.

Of course we would love the Exiles to be in the play-offs but the hope must now be that we are reflecting this time next year on an invaluable spell.

Rowberry’s honeymoon is well and truly over – although some of the online reaction to the spluttering form has been way OTT – and his determination to stick with the 4-2-2-2, even with some slight tinkering, and speed at making changes is in the spotlight.

The manager and his staff are learning plenty about themselves and the team.

Key loanees will be gone after two more games, Telford is sure to be in demand, some individuals might be harming their chances of a new deal, others could be pushed towards the door.

Rowberry must stick to his principles and work hard to embed them over pre-season but this spell should also have shown him what he needs to add for the rigours of League Two if County are to make the next step.