NEWPORT County AFC failed to finish with a flourish in League Two after losing 2-0 to Rochdale at Rodney Parade.

The Exiles suffered a fifth successive home defeat after conceding a goal in either half, a result that meant they finished 11th.

County fell behind when Matt Done beat the offside trap in the 16th minute before slamming a shot past Nick Townsend.

The hosts wasted several chances and the points were sealed when Abraham Odoh finished smartly in added time.

Here are the talking points from Rodney Parade…


A season in which a club was in the mix for the play-offs would normally lead to summer optimism but County’s collapse leaves plenty of questions.

The streak of five home defeats is something normally experienced by teams that end the season in relegation scraps.

It’s not just the defeats, it has been the manner of them and the opposition.

Only Exeter can be classed as top opposition with Hartlepool finishing 17th, Crawley 12th, Colchester 15th and Rochdale 18th.

The performances contrasted starkly with that five-game streak in February and March that gave such hope for the final furlongs.

County imploded and after a summer of change need to ensure the new-look squad has the ability get the results on home soil to go along with the style that Rowberry wants to play.

They ended the campaign ranked 13th in the division for results at home (W9, D6, L8, 33pts) compared to being sixth on their travels (W10, D6, L7, 36pts).

South Wales Argus: Star midfielder Finn Azaz endured a frustrating afternoon on his final County outingStar midfielder Finn Azaz endured a frustrating afternoon on his final County outing


County’s decision-making and execution has been poor in the run-in and against Rochdale they once again wasted several promising positions.

Finn Azaz has been sensational for the Exiles this season but he would have been disappointed that he didn’t go out with the bang before returning to Aston Villa, and potentially getting a loan move to the Championship next season.

He was a little wasteful and failed to add to his seven goals and six assists in amber.

The first half shot count was low but that was down to the final ball or heavy touches in the final third.

The theme continued after the break with County getting in dangerous areas, especially down the right, only for crosses to be blocked or cleared.

More quality was needed, but some clear openings were still created…

South Wales Argus: DESPAIR: Rob Street missed in a one-on-oneDESPAIR: Rob Street missed in a one-on-one


The strike force has been a problem in the run-in when at the turn of the year things were going brilliantly with Dom Telford firing in the goals and thriving thanks to his partnership with Courtney Baker-Richardson.

Their contracts expire this summer and we will find out shortly whether they will be back in Newport next season.

Telford scored just once in his last 13 but still claimed the golden boot, albeit helped by Forest Green Rovers’ Matty Stevens’ injury misfortune.

Baker-Richardson’s fitness hindered him in the run-in and that led to chances for Rob Street, who didn’t really grasp them.

The Crystal Palace loanee is clearly a talent and will have learnt heaps from his time with County after arriving in January for a first spell in senior football.

His work rate can’t be faulted but he simply can’t be as wasteful in front of goal. If he has showed the same composure as Done when one-on-one just past the hour then County would probably have signed off with a win.

South Wales Argus: Robbie Willmott on the lap of appreciationRobbie Willmott on the lap of appreciation


County didn’t fall short because of one single reason but I’d argue that a major factor was the loss of Robbie Willmott through injury.

The midfielder enjoyed a superb season after seemingly being set for the exit last summer.

He started playing with freedom in attacking areas under Michael Flynn and then dropped deeper under James Rowberry to allow Finn Azaz and Ollie Cooper to take centre stage.

The stalwart’s experience was key to bringing the best out the young midfield pair plus their fellow loanee Jake Cain.

Willmott is a player with the ability to link defence and the number 10s and attackers, while he also has his feisty moments.

The midfield is Rowberry’s main area to work on this summer and a lot of players are needed.

They are in good shape but can he rely on 31-year-olds Scot Bennett and Willmott to play with the desired energy and snap for a 46-game season?

James Waite should continue to grow but others are needed to fill the boots of Azaz, Cooper and Cain.

Young Sonny Lewis, Jack Karadogan and Lewys Twamley are promising prospects but will be there to back up and learn from the seniors.