Kev Bursts Newport's Balloon
Saturday 16th September 2017 1500 hrs.
Since the Great Escape of last season, Newport County have improved markedly under Manager and miracle-worker Michael Flynn this time out. They found themselves sixth in the League Two table when they arrived at the Globe Arena today, having lost only one League game this season. Morecambe`s record against the Exiles had stalled in recent times: following five straight wins home and away, they have lost the last two contests at the Globe and drawn the re-played match in Wales last year which County were originally winning one-nil before rain stopped play at half time. This was particularly unfortunate for Tom Owen-Evans, whose first-ever goal in League football was chalked-off when the match was abandoned. He was in the visitors` starting eleven again today and home supporters would be particularly interested in the performance of ex-Shrimps striker Padraig Amond because many of them wanted the Irishman to remain in the Shrimps` ranks when Jim Bentley let him go to Grimsby: he later found himself at relegated Hartlepool last season.
It was Owen-Evans who had one of the earliest attempts on goal, heading wide after seven minutes for the visitors. At the other end, Adam McGurk showed signs that he is reaching match fitness with some fancy footwork on the right hand side early on and Garry Thompson forced Joe Day into a save with a shot which was on target after seventeen minutes. Two minutes later, McGurk turned brilliantly inside Dan Butler and unleashed a shot which Day did well to keep out. The best effort of the half so far, however, arrived after twenty minutes for County when Frank Nouble headed back a corner to Owen-Evans whose resultant effort smacked against the bar. However, the Shrimps started to win a succession of corners after this and to apply concerted pressure on the visitors which paid-off after 35 minutes when Kevin Ellison followed-up a shot from Elliot Osborne which Day did well even to parry and put the home team one goal to the good. Scot Bennett took just two minutes to restore equality, though - to the considerable frustration of Jim Bentley who has consistently complained recently that individual members of his team spend too much time daydreaming instead of concentrating on the game - when he received the ball from Mickey Demetriou following a corner and turned it past Barry Roche in the home net: it was a very soft goal to concede.
The sides went in level at half time and the game was quite scrappy for a while after the second period began. Amond watched a cross from Nouble go over his head after 51 minutes and Thommo cut in from the right and hit a shot wide after 55 minutes only for Owen-Evans`s shot to be blocked by the Shrimps` defence with almost an hour played. Day had to be on his mettle to keep out a half-volley from Ellison following a free-kick by Aaron Wildig after 64 minutes and produced a superb save a minute later to deny McGurk`s header from Thommo`s cross. At the other end, County`s substitute Lamar Reynolds had a chance after 68 minutes but his mis-hit volley went over the bar. The crucial action of the game occurred during the eighty-first minute: Shrimps` substitute Adam Campbell tried his luck from outside the area, the ball clipped Ellison and was deflected past Day into the top corner of the net to give Kev his second goal of the game and fourth in the last four games. Substitute Michael Rose forced a further great save from the visiting goalkeeper towards the end but Day`s opposite number at the other end was never seriously tested again and the Shrimps ended the match with their second win of the season.
After the game, Manager Bentley said he thought his team were still playing at only 70-80 percent potential today and was again critical of his players` `game management` and specifically certain players `switching-off` at times. But he singled-out McGurk and Ellison for particular praise up front and Wildig and Thommo in midfield as well. The result pushed Morecambe up to sixteenth in League Two; Newport meanwhile fell to ninth in the table.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 22 Max Muller; 5 Steven Old; 4 Alex Kenyon (C) (8 Andy Fleming 84 mins); 2 Aaron McGowan (Y); 3 Patrick Brough; 15 Aaron Wildig (10 Adam Campbell 76 mins); 11 Kevin Ellison; 28 Adam McGurk (Y); 21 Elliot Osborne (24 Michael Rose 59 mins); 7 Garry Thompson.
Substitutes not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 17 Mitchell Lund; 16 Lavelle; 29 Callum Lang.
Newport County: 1 Joe Day; 2 David Pipe (C); 6 Ben White; 28 Mickey Demetriou (Y); 17 Scot Bennett (15 Shawn McCoulsky 82 mins); 3 Dan Butler20 Tom Owen-Evans (11 Lamar Reynolds 65 mins); 8 Matty Dolan (27 Sean Rigg 50 mins); 12 Ben Tozer; 10 Frank Nouble; 9 Padraig Amond.
Subs not used: 30 James Bittner; 7 Robbie Willmott; 29 Joe Quigley; 32 Calaum Jahraldo-Martin