NEWPORT County AFC recorded another big win on the road when outplaying Harrogate in League Two on Tuesday night.

The Exiles bossed the game at Wetherby Road to run out 4-1 winners and climb to tenth in the table, just two points off the play-offs.

County were on the front foot from the first whistle and got their reward when Will Evans scored from the penalty spot after half an hour.

That was soon followed by an Offrande Zanzala finish from close range and he repeated the trick early in the second half.

Seb Palmer-Houlden scored a cracker in the 70th minute, finishing superbly after wonderful link-up play with Adam Lewis and Evans, before a George Thomson consolation for Harrogate.

The Exiles have now won three of their last four on the road in League Two after responding impressively to Saturday’s poor showing at Milton Keynes Dons.

Here are some talking points from the clash in Yorkshire…


League Two is bonkers and thank goodness that County are in the part of the fight for the play-offs rather than the scrap for survival at the bottom.

There are probably just four clubs – Swindon, Tranmere, Salford and Doncaster – that aren’t involved in a promotion bid, fight for the top seven or relegation battle.

The Exiles were so bad in Milton Keynes that one feared they were creaking but then they responded in Yorkshire, just as they did against Gillingham after being off it against Notts County.

Take your pick for overused quote: 'it’s the hope that kills you' or The Godfather's “Just when I thought I was out…”.

County climbed to 10th and are just two points off seventh, with the ridiculousness of the division shown by Walsall climbing into the play-off spots.

They were absolutely awful when the Exiles won at the Bescot on February 10, so bad that they jeered by their own fans as they came back out for the second half.

Now the Saddlers are the ones in the final play-off berth with nine weekends to go until it’s all settled on April 27.

County welcome leaders Mansfield to Newport on Saturday and head to second-placed Stockport the following weekend.

They’ve shown that they can rise to the occasion after the Hatters and Wrexham at Rodney Parade. Repeat the trick and Coughlan will really be fighting a losing battle when trying to keep a lid on things.

South Wales Argus: FAST START: Will Evans created an early chance for County at HarrogateFAST START: Will Evans created an early chance for County at Harrogate (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


Coughlan said that the MK Dons performance was “chalk and cheese” to their previous away day at Walsall.

Harrogate was chalk and cheese to MK.

Granted, the quality of the opposition was dramatically worse and the Sulphurites are clearly in a tough spot in a season in which they have exceeded expectations.

However, County didn’t give them the chance to settle and were back to their pressing, aggressive best.

James Rowberry’s side romped to a 4-0 win at the same ground in August 2022 when they snapped away at the Harrogate defence and hit them hard.

History repeated with County getting on the front foot and taking command in the first half by forcing errors.

South Wales Argus: JOY: Offrande Zanzala celebrates his second with James ClarkeJOY: Offrande Zanzala celebrates his second with James Clarke (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


Zanzala would have been fuelled by the desire to experience that goal-scoring feeling when doing months of painful rehabilitation after rupturing knee ligaments in February, 2023.

The striker made his return off the bench against Swindon in at the start of the month and looked understandably rusty.

He gradually worked up towards his first start and it came in Yorkshire after Coughlan freshened things up and gave Palmer-Houlden a breather.

Zanzala was last on the scoresheet against Crawley on January 2, 2023 and 14 months later he was in the right place at the right time, twice.

Fingers crossed it can spark a profitable run-in for the 27-year-old, who does offer something different to the other forward options with his ability to drive at defences with the ball.

It could well be the final few months of Zanzala’s County career after injury misfortune but he can play a big role in the possible hunt for the top seven.

South Wales Argus: County manager Graham Coughlan with Bryn MorrisCounty manager Graham Coughlan with Bryn Morris (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


Coughlan will be slightly upset that County missed the chance for a ninth clean sheet of the campaign, and fifth since the turn of the year, but other than that things went perfectly to plan.

The Exiles were convincing winners, seemed to get through unscathed and took the opportunity to share the workload.

The manager gave Palmer-Houlden a breather and worked Zanzala up to an hour of action while Kyle Jameson made a composed return on the left of the defensive three, where there is a vacancy after captain Ryan Delaney’s injury misfortune.

The scoreline meant he could be replaced on 82 minutes without any fears of late drama.

Luke Jephcott, James Waite and Matty Bondswell all got some minutes along with Harrison Bright, who made his first appearance since his January return from Barry Town United, while Declan Drysdale featured in a matchday squad as he works towards being a genuine option.

Coughlan’s family settled in Yorkshire courtesy of his time at Sheffield Wednesday and the manager’s homecoming couldn’t have gone much better.