NEWPORT County AFC doubled up in League Two by beating Morecambe 2-1 on Tuesday night.

The Exiles became the first side to leave Mazuma Stadium with three points this season thanks to goals from set pieces by Will Evans and Seb Palmer-Houlden.

The Shrimps, fresh from a 6-0 hammering by Wrexham, struck first through Michael Mellon in the 12th minute.

However, County responded when Evans slammed in from a corner in the 28th minute then they hit the front after 56 minutes when Palmer-Houlden nodded in from a free-kick.

Graham Coughlan’s side held on to back up their shock win against leaders Stockport County - and this victory was arguably more impressive.

Here are some talking points from the success in Morecambe…

South Wales Argus: WINNER: Seb Palmer-Houlden celebrates putting Newport County 2-1 up at MorecambeWINNER: Seb Palmer-Houlden celebrates putting Newport County 2-1 up at Morecambe (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


County’s injury worries easing has enabled Coughlan to return to his favoured three at the back and that doesn’t only mean they are more solid at the back.

They caused plenty of problems for Morecambe with their set pieces with the central defenders plus the forward trio all providing plenty of bulk.

Added to that is the threat of Bryn Morris from the edge of the area, as was shown against Stockport and with an opening in the second half in Lancashire.

Shane McLoughlin might not possess the whip of Adam Lewis but his delivery caused problems for the Shrimps.

County were the set-piece kings in League Two last season and they are looking to climb the chart after a slow start, even though they no longer have the arms of Mickey Demetriou.

South Wales Argus: LEADER: Newport County captain Ryan DelaneyLEADER: Newport County captain Ryan Delaney (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


The Exiles are starting to look a lot more like last season, when they did the basics well to give themselves a chance of turning one point into three.

Morecambe’s goal was sloppy – Omar Bogle gave the ball away and then the defence failed to snuff out the danger – but then it was solid stuff to ensure there was no second from the Shrimps.

There were a few nervy moments, as you would expect on the road, but the Exiles put their bodies on the line and racked up the clearances and interceptions.

It’s no surprise that the return of James Clarke has led to Ryan Delaney looking like the seasoned campaigner that was expected.

The captain was pleasingly no-nonsense on his return to Morecambe, complete with a bandage after a nasty early cut.

Delaney and McLoughlin are doing a good job down the left while youngsters Matt Baker and Lewis Payne are performing well down the right, Clarke is steering the ship, Scot Bennett and Morris provide the protection and the strike trio graft.

Character, grit and determination were on display on a cold Lancashire night, attributes that warm the hearts of the Amber Army.

South Wales Argus: CHALLENGE: Newport County sub Kiban Rai goes up for the ball in MorecambeCHALLENGE: Newport County sub Kiban Rai goes up for the ball in Morecambe (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


County were able to name a seven-man bench in the league for the first time since October 24, albeit that included academy novice Nelson Sanca.

The physio’s room still contains Kyle Jameson, Declan Drysdale, Josh Seberry, Adam Lewis, Aaron Wildig and Offrande Zanzala but things are looking a lot healthier ahead of the December schedule, which features six games if they don’t need an FA Cup replay.

Coughlan was able to turn to Kiban Rai to add energy in a lively cameo then fit-again Harry Charsley to add a touch of calm.

It will be a balancing act for the boss, who will want to have some continuity of selection while also being proactive with rotation to avoid inflicting more injuries on the squad.


Six points have really made a difference to County – if they keep everyone fit then they have a shot at beating last season’s tally of 57.

They are going along at 1.25 per game (1.24 last season) but before we get too giddy, remember the pre-season target.

This campaign is all about survival while sorting the club’s future out, with the slow process for Huw Jenkins’ takeover inching along.

County have a small budget and there are some struggling clubs who are going to spend big in January.

Because of that it is wise to just keep totting up the points and be mindful of those below rather than looking up and chasing a top-half finish given the riches at the disposal of those that hunt the play-offs.

With Tranmere and Forest Green to come in December then Sutton on New Year’s Day, the schedule will dictate how active Coughlan and Jenkins need to be in January.