Defeat For Pools At Newport
Pools returned home pointless from Newport County after a goal in each half condemned Colin Cooper’s men to a 2-0 defeat Rodney Parade.
The Pools boss made two changes to his starting line-up, recalling Christian Burgess and Jack Compton to his starting eleven as he looked to freshen things up for the third game in six days.
However, a vocal home crowd got behind the hosts from the off and the players responded by applying pressure on the Pools’ rear-guard pretty much from the first whistle.
Armed with long throws down both flanks, Scott Flinders’ goal came under bombardment in the early stages as Justin Edinburgh’s men went about showing why they’ve lost just once at home all season.
The breakthrough arrived with the game only six minutes old when a hanging right-wing corner from Robbie Willmott was met by a towering header from centre-back Harry Worley who turned away in delight as it nestled in the top corner.
The goal didn’t serve as a signal to sit back for County who continued to bomb forward in direct fashion; Danny Crow’s lobbed effort was blocked by Christian Burgess and appeals for handball were quickly waved away.
While penned in at one end, Pools looked to be carrying a threat whenever the ball crossed the halfway line and James Poole almost underlined that when he turned skilfully twenty-five yards from goal but saw keeper Lenny Pidgeley brilliantly claw away his top corner bound drive.
Conor Washington has been one of the big success stories of the season for League new boys County and he was proving a menace moving in from the left flank, on one occasion ghosting past Jack Baldwin before driving a shot across goal and wide from tight angle.
The 21-year-old prospect then pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the Pools penalty area after the defence had struggled to deal with another long throw, but his driven effort flew just past the right-hand post with Flinders looking beaten.
Washington was at it again from the resultant corner, once more profiting from loitering on the edge of the box but this time his well-struck effort flew the wrong side of the opposite post.
Baldwin’s efforts to restrain the County attacker could have led to more trouble close to half time when Washington turned in to the area and went down under the Pools’ defender’s challenge – thankfully both officials agreed there was no infringement despite appeals from the noisy crowd.
Pools knew they would have to come out fighting in the second half and, after weathering an early storm, they set about putting themselves on the front foot.
Michael Duckworth charged forward to good effect before exchanging passes with Luke James and teeing up Poole whose shot looked on target before taking a deflection and flashing wide.
Andy Monkhouse and Simon Walton both had shots turned down as County were made to work harder to clear their lines with Pools beginning to find a rhythm.
Poole was at the heart of all things good for Pools and when he turned neatly and drove at the home defence before finding Dolan on the left whose cross was met by Duckworth but his header was held by Pidgeley.
Then came the key moment in the game. Poole again picked up possession between the lines of midfield and defence, turned on goal and sent a low drive towards the bottom corner which Pidgeley somehow got down to finger-tip away.
It proved decisive because just seconds later County were on the attack and when Jolley found space to cross from the right, Washington got to the front post to bundle the ball past Flinders and make it 2-0.
After that, the hosts did well to break up Pools’ play, who struggled to create many more chances in the remaining twenty minutes.
The best opening arrived injury time when Monkhouse finally found a way past Pidgeley only to see his low shot come back out off the inside of the post.
It summed up a disappointing night for Pools at the end of a hectic week – now the challenge is to deliver a reaction when they return to action at home to Northampton Town next week.
Full Time: Newport County 2 Pools 0
Newport County: Pidgeley, Jackson (Jones 78), Oshilaja, Worley, Naylor, Yakubu, Willmott, Chapman, Washington, Crow, Jolley (Flynn 66)
Subs Not Used: Stephens, James, Minshull, Redman
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Compton (Sweeney 81), Walton (Walker 87), Dolan, Monkhouse, Poole, James (Franks 70)
Rafferty, Collins, Richards, RodneySubs Not Used:
3,094 (129 Poolies)Attendance: