NEWPORT County AFC totted up another point after an entertaining goalless draw with MK Dons at Rodney Parade.

Both sides will feel they should have claimed a League Two maximum but a share of the spoils was probably fair.

Omar Bogle went close on a number of occasions for County in the first half and top scorer Will Evans missed a glorious opening soon after the restart.

However, they were thankful for three superb Nick Townsend saves and a wonderful late block by Matt Baker as the Dons finished on the front foot.

Here are some talking points from the draw in Newport…

South Wales Argus: BRIGHT: Lewis Payne came into County's XI and played wellBRIGHT: Lewis Payne came into County's XI and played well (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


County can name a strong outfield team of absentees that is arguably as strong as those that took to the field on Saturday.

They were without Josh Seberry, James Clarke, Declan Drysdale, Kyle Jameson, Adam Lewis, Aaron Wildig, Harry Charsley, Kiban Rai, Seb Palmer-Houlden and Offrande Zanzala.

That led to a situation where Graham Coughlan could only name a five-man bench, of which only midfielder James Waite and novice striker Olly Thomas were proper options.

Academy lads Alfie Young and Nelson Sanca were on the bench but it would have taken a catastrophe for them to be introduced.

The fear was that County would be flagging in the final stages – especially given the way they press in the final third – and so it proved.

The Dons came on strong and should really have made pressure count at the death, but that would have been cruel on the Exiles starters who emptied the tank.

However, if teenager Thomas isn’t going to be used in such a situation then when will he? One suspects the Bristol City prospect will spend the second half of the season elsewhere.

South Wales Argus: CLOSE: Omar Bogle shot just past the post for CountyCLOSE: Omar Bogle shot just past the post for County (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


County created some good chances and once again impressed with their tenacity to win back possession in the final third.

However, they just didn't make the most of the openings.

The shot count was 16 (12 in open play, four set piece) and yet just one of those was on target, an acrobatic Matt Baker effort that was simple for Craig MacGillivray.

It was either selfishness or lack of awareness that led to Bogle failing to slip in Nathan Wood after 36 minutes, while last season’s top scorer failed to be cutthroat from an early chance in the box and was inches wide with a right-footed effort after a strong run.

This season’s top scorer Evans grafted hard and showed some nice touches but he had a shocker five minutes after the restart when MacGillivray’s poor pass gifted a one-on-one, only for the forward to side-foot a couple of yards wide.

The strike partnership played well and grafted hard, they just didn't hit the target.

Townsend had to produce some heroics at one end, his opposite number wasn’t worked enough at the other.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Matt Baker performed strongly in County's defenceINFLUENTIAL: Matt Baker performed strongly in County's defence (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


It would be pushing it to say that County looked rock solid but they did record their third clean sheet in quick succession, following on from the efforts in victory against Gillingham and Oldham.

The return to 3-5-2 has helped with captain Ryan Delaney looking happier on the left with the ever-dependable Scot Bennett in the middle.

Matt Baker has done well in midfield but returned to defence and was excellent, pressing when the time was right and also doing the ugly stuff.

The Stoke prospect produced a magnificent block in the six-yard box in the closing stages and will be missed at Mansfield next weekend when on Wales Under-21s duty.

There is an argument for Townsend, Baker, Bennett, Delaney being the best combination, even when Clarke and Jameson return.

A word of praise also for the loanees on the flanks with Lewis Payne doing well down the right and Matty Bondswell sticking to the task against the very dangerous Jonathan Leko.


County’s injury list is long so the games coming up after Tuesday’s EFL Trophy clash with Bristol Rovers are good ones.

The Exiles travel to Mansfield, third with a game in hand and looking very strong, then host a Stockport side who are setting the pace and look to be the best team in the division.

That is followed by Morecambe away – a tough trip at the best of times, let alone on a Tuesday – and the Barnet FA Cup tie.

Fingers crossed Coughlan will have a few more options and some bench power by the December 9 encounter with Tranmere, who climbed out of the drop zone with a win against fellow strugglers Forest Green on Saturday.

Hopefully County’s manager isn’t reading this part because he won't see it this way, but anything from the next three league games is a bonus.

County: Townsend, Payne, Baker, Bennett, Delaney (captain), Bondswell, McLoughlin, Morris, Wood (Waite 85), Bogle, Evans.

Substitutes not used: Maxted, Thomas, Young, Sanca.

Yellow: Bogle, Evans.

Attendance: 3,777 (345 MK)