JAMES Rowberry took a lot of positives from his side’s performance at Forest Green Rovers as Newport County AFC completed their pre-season with a 1-1 draw at The New Lawn.

Despite the hosts having the better of the few first half chances, County stepped up a gear after grabbing a deserved equaliser – having gone 1-0 down to a Jamille Matt penalty – and went on to look the more likely of the two teams to grab a winner.

Rowberry has stressed throughout pre-season that the performances and building up an understanding of the way he wants his side to play are more important than the results, and following Saturday’s match was in fairly high spirits.

“I was pleased with where we are at and how we competed, how we pressed and how we maintained possession of the ball,” he said.

“You could see the new signings are settling in a bit more too, so I’m pleased.

“We look at the course of the games that we’ve had, Cardiff surprised me a little bit with how much they went towards an in-possession based game, but we dealt with that relatively well in the first half. We look at Torquay where it was a tough game – it was a League Two like game.

“There’s no right or wrong way to play football, but then if you look at what Forest Green did, it’s very much a possession-based style and way of play, wanting to play out from the back. We’re going to come against that a few times.

“With the goal we conceded, we’ve missed three clearances before the penalty is allowed.

“I said to the lads have as much pleasure in a great pass or a great shot at goal and a great clearance as well – they’re all the same. As long as we recognise that importance of the basics, I’m pleased with the outcomes we’ve got today.”

Rowberry made seven changes in a couple of minutes either side of the hour mark, and the energy in County’s press stepped up with the fresh faces.

The boss was pleased with the application from his substitutes, and said this gave him a lot to think about for next week – especially with the rule change allowing managers to use five players from their bench.

“I said to the lads from the start, I’m telling you when I’m bringing you off on 60 so they could leave it all out on the pitch,” he said.

“The beauty of this year is we’ve got five subs, so we can make those changes. We can keep that intensity and our way of play, that can stay ingrained.

“So if we need to take strikers off, we can; if we need to take the wing backs off, we can; if we need to take the lads who are pressing at the front off, we can adjust quickly and smoothly because everybody’s got an understanding of the way of play.”