NEWPORT County AFC face another fixture in their December schedule after a late Barnet leveller in round two of the FA Cup.

The Exiles looked set to progress courtesy of Shane McLoughlin’s goal on the stroke of half-time, the left wing-back rolling in to add to his double against Oldham in the first round after good work by James Clarke.

However, Barnet kept pushing until the end and got the equaliser that they deserved in the 89th minute when Danny Collinge nodded in from a corner to make it 1-1.

Here are some talking points from the tie at Rodney Parade…

South Wales Argus: LEVEL: Danny Collinge celebrates making it 1-1 for Barnet at Newport CountyLEVEL: Danny Collinge celebrates making it 1-1 for Barnet at Newport County (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


County were extremely wasteful on the counter-attack but could have no complaints about both teams being in the hat for the third round.

Barnet were comfortable on the ball, had a serious threat down the left in Idris Kanu and piled the pressure through set pieces with 16 corners, a number of free-kicks and the long throw of Jordan Cropper.

After hitting the front, the Exiles will feel that they should have finished the job, pocketed the £67,000 prize money and recorded three wins on the spin for the first time under Coughlan, but they know that Barnet deserve another crack at the Hive.

In fact, it was the Bees that were hunting a winner in added time, so there was some relief to get another crack at them in a replay, which could even be televised.

South Wales Argus: GRAFTER: Will Evans on the break for County against BarnetGRAFTER: Will Evans on the break for County against Barnet (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


Coughlan named the same side for the third game on the spin but the starters couldn’t quite notch a third win after stunning record-chasing leaders Stockport and then becoming the first side to leave Morecambe with three points.

County were undeniably flat and the exertions against the Hatters and the Shrimps – plus the travel to Lancashire – took their toll against a Barnet side who had Tuesday off.

Coughlan rightly opted not to tinker with his team (the club cannot afford that when there is £67,000 and a third-round tie on the line) but the XI looked leggy.

That is not just because of three games in eight days but because of the injury crisis that has left a core of players digging deep and digging deep.

They weren’t as energetic with the press as usual, they were wasteful in possession and lacked the quality when opportunities presented themselves on the break in both halves.

Omar Bogle went through at 1-0 and was uncharacteristically uncertain in the one-on-one before firing straight at goalkeeper Laurie Walker – where was the coolness of the Bradford finish?

County need this Tuesday off before a key League Two clash at struggling Tranmere, then Barnet again, then Grimsby.

South Wales Argus: BACK: Aaron Wildig made his return from injury for Newport CountyBACK: Aaron Wildig made his return from injury for Newport County (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


Some members of County’s squad could have done without a trip to North London – Ryan Delaney, Bryn Morris, Shane McLoughlin, Will Evans, Omar Bogle have all racked up the minutes – but others may just welcome the fixture.

Striker Seb Palmer-Houlden is still not able to play the full 90 after a serious hamstring tear, Harry Charsley made his second successive cameo after an ankle injury and his fellow midfielder Aaron Wildig came on after a back spasm that had caused hamstring problems.

The positive is that the Barnet game gives the chance to sharpen up ahead of the hectic festive schedule – and players would rather play than train.

South Wales Argus: CHALLENGE: Scot Bennett climbs high for County against BarnetCHALLENGE: Scot Bennett climbs high for County against Barnet (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


Barnet ramped up the pressure in the second half but Coughlan didn’t really turn to his bench to try and change the story.

Matty Bondswell came on for fellow wing-back Lewis Payne, Charsley got half an hour for Palmer-Houlden and Wildig replaced Bennett.

James Waite, Nathan Wood and Kiban Rai were left kicking their heels in frustration in the dugout, that despite Rai being called in from a warm-up at one stage.

Coughlan and his staff were given a quandary by Barnet’s threats – they could have done with fresh legs but needed to keep some size on the pitch for the set pieces.

Rai would have been lively up front but County would have missed the physicality of Bogle and Evans.

In hindsight, perhaps some more energy would have been wise but the plan was two minutes plus added time from working with an ugly win.

County: Townsend, Payne (Bondswell 61), Baker, Clarke, Delaney (captain), McLoughlin, Bennett (Wildig 74), Morris, Evans, Bogle, Palmer-Houlden (Charsley 61).

Subs not used: Maxted, Waite, Rai, Wood, Sanca, Young.

Barnet scorers: Collinge.

Referee: Jacob Miles.

Attendance: 2,707 (226 Barnet).