The View from Wales

Match report by the SOUTH WALES ARGUS at the ex-Vic

Pools 2 Newport 2 (League 2) Saturday August 2016

This is how their own local paper reported the Newport match:
They got a huge helping hand from Hartlepool United after just three minutes but in the end it was Newport County AFC hanging on for a point against 10 men. Whether this goes down as two points dropped or a point gained can only be judged at the end of the season.

Manager Warren Feeney wasn’t sure what to make of it after watching from the stands at Victoria Park as he served the first match of his two-game touchline ban. He was clearly disappointed not to have won having had a numerical advantage for 87 minutes plus nine minutes of stoppage-time. And he was highly critical of his players afterwards but the Exiles boss admitted that he would have taken a point ahead of the match. And on the balance of play Hartlepool will certainly count themselves unfortunate not to have won the match.

Pools manager Craig Hignett had demanded four goals from his team in the build-up and only a superb performance from County goalkeeper Joe Day prevented the hosts from delivering. Hignett’s men, spurred on by a passionate home crowd who created a very hostile atmosphere, refused to lie down after Toto Nsiala’s red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity with a deliberate handball. They poured forward at every opportunity and deserved a win for a display oozing with energy, effort and excellent passing and movement. But in the end both teams were frustrated.
"on the balance of play Hartlepool will certainly count themselves unfortunate not to have won the match."

County were poor in defence throughout – starting with the opening goal for Pools after just 95 seconds. Darren Jones, Scot Bennett and Joss Labadie were all drawn to the ball and they failed to track the run of Nicky Featherstone who dispatched Michael Woods’ clever chip into the bottom corner from close range.

It looked like being a long afternoon in the North East but they were handed a lifeline by Nsiala almost straightaway and Sean Rigg’s free-kick made it all square after just four minutes. The initial signs were that County would make their advantage tell and when Jon Parkin produced a simply stunning turn and volley to snatch the lead on 27 minutes an away seemed a distinct possibility. But Feeney’s men rarely threatened to add a third goal after the beauty from The Beast. Instead it was almost a case of ‘Be Our Guest’ from the visitors as they handed the initiative to the 10 men.

It was 2-2 seven minutes before the break as County made a complete mess of defending a corner. They seemed to be more interested in pushing and jostling for position than marking their men in the box and Padraig Amond was free to head home with embarrassing ease. Day was also at fault as he started to come for the cross but backed away at the last minute, giving himself no chance of getting anywhere near Amond’s header.

But the goalkeeper made amends in the second half with a dazzling display. The pick of several super saves saw him acrobatically tip Nathan Thomas’ 30-yard rocket over the bar. But he was equal to everything Pools threw at him and was the main difference between County taking a point and going home with nothing.

Former Hartlepool winger Jack Compton, off the bench to replace the disappointing Jennison Myrie-Williams, almost silenced the boo boys with a free-kick that forced Day’s opposite number Trevor Carson into a smart stop. But the Exiles just couldn’t get any momentum going in attack and never convinced at the back.

The nerves of the 55 traveling fans were frayed but their side survived six minutes of time added on at the death to take another point. And, judging by the way Hartlepool performed, it could well be filed under ‘good point’ come May. County: Day, Butler, Jones, Bennett, Bignot, Myrie-Williams (Compton, 53), Labadie (Tozer, 64), Randall, Jackson (Barnum-Bobb, 75), Parkin, Rigg Subs not used: Bittner, Owen-Evans, Sheehan, Green Booked: Randall, Jones Referee: Andy Haines.

Elsewhere in the same paper it said: Jack Compton, who was dubbed a ‘Marmite player’ and told he needed psychological help during his time at Hartlepool, was booed and taunted relentlessly after he returned from injury to replace Jennison Myrie-Williams from the bench.