Match Details: 21/11/2015
Newport County 0-0 Yeovil Town
Skybet League Two
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Chris Weale, 2. Ben Tozer, 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Matthew Dolan, 9. Ryan Bird, 20. Wes Fogden, 21. Alex Lacey, 23. Harry Cornick, 24. Connor Roberts, 26. Darren Ward, 39. Francois Zoko
Subs: 1. Artur Krysiak, 10. Shaun Jeffers, 11. Ryan Dickson, 16. George Thomas, 22. Mark Beck, 30. Josh Sheehan,
Substitutes Used: George Thomas for Francois Zoko (68 mins), Ryan Dickson for Ryan Bird (76 mins), Shaun Jeffers for Harry Cornick (88 mins)
Yeovil Town and Newport County battled out a goalless draw at Rodney Parade this afternoon, in blustery conditions and a scrappy game, both sides could have easily stolen all three points, with the Glovers creating their best chances during the first half, whilst the Welshmen dominated the second. Yeovil's best came early in the game when a flicked header from a free kick saw Harry Cornick hit the underside of the crossbar. But in the second half, Chris Weale had to brilliantly save from two Scott Barrow efforts to keep his clean sheet intact, meaning both sides left with a point, and little unchanged in the bottom five positions near the foot of the table.
The Glovers made just one change to their starting line-up, with new signing Francois Zoko being thrown straight into the deep end for Omar Sowunmi who hadn't recovered from an ankle injury sustained last week. There were also recalls for George Thomas and Josh Sheehan, who had returned from international duty, with Thomas playing the final match of his initial month loan at the club. Iffy Allen missed out due to illness which meant that despite the two numbers coming back, the bench remained at six players.
The match opened up with Yeovil almost getting a dream start inside the first ten minutes. Wes Fogden was fouled out on the right flank and when Matt Dolan's free kick was put into the box, Harry Cornick's flicked header crashed off the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and Newport managed to scramble the loose ball away to safety. The home side were struggling to contain some bright opening play from Francois Zoko, with one run seeing him squeeze in via the byline only for his cut-back to be hacked away. Newport keeper Joe Day seemed shaky as crosses came in and he struggled to command his area.
Gradually though, Newport forced their way back into the match, with Alex Rodman's shot was blocked, with the return effort by Lenell John-Lewis being claimed by Chris Weale for his first save of the game. There was also a nervy moment when Weale stopped the ball inside the box, only to find Zak Ansah apparently reclaiming it, with an open goal and the keeper still on the deck. However, referee Mark Heywood ruled that Weale had been fouled, despite Newport fans trying to suggest the opposite.
In the middle of sloppy play and misplaced passes from both sides, Yeovil began to carve open a few decent chances at the other end. Ryan Bird had a shot from the edge of the box well blocked and deflected out for a corner. Francois Zoko also had two worthy efforts in the closing stages - a long range effort that went over the bar, and then a header inside the box that he really should have done better with, sending that over the bar, and apparently twisting his hip in the process, leaving him needing some treatment. At the other end, Chris Weale still had to be alert enough to stick a leg out to divert a Zak Ansah effort out for a corner, in what was a fairly even half of play, but one in which the Glovers had slightly edged in terms of the better chances.
The second period saw a rather different outlook on the game. One of the frustrations of the Glovers this season has been for the balance of a match to shift radically from half to half, and this was certainly the case as Newport attacked the end that the 460 travelling Yeovil fans were situated at. Sloppy passing gifted Newport territory, with one backpass from Nathan Smith letting in Zak Ansah, but fortunately a defensive block put it out for a corner. Minutes later, Chris Weale was on hand to make the save of the match - a short cross was put across the face of the goal to Scott Barrow, who was in an unmarked position but the keeper flung himself in the direction of the wing-back, anticipating the shot and got his full body in the way to block the ball.
That wasn't to say that all of Yeovil's defence were at sea - gradually they began to compose themselves, but with Newport still on top. Alex Lacey took a whack in the face as he bravely cleared the ball - a Newport player unwittingly landing his boot as Lacey dived forward to clear. The same player was also on hand to clean up his own mistake, as he shinned the ball poorly out of his own area, but then had the resolution to throw his body in the way to ensure that didn't turn into a crucial error. Darren Ward was also immense in the way that he mopped up every aerial ball going, to the extent that you had to check that there weren't two of him out on the pitch at the same time - for a 37 year old he was certainly rather mobile in the way he anticipated every cross into the area.
Yeovil began to make a number of substitutions - no surprise that Francois Zoko was the first to fall, with it being his first competitive game of the 2015-16 season - George Thomas replaced him up front. Overall, the forwards and wingers were struggling to provide any second half impression, with any balls cleared out of defence rarely being hung onto before Newport regained possession. Ryan Bird was also replaced, with Ryan Dickson coming on as a substitute, freeing Harry Cornick to join Thomas up front.
In the closing stages, Mark Byrne flashed a shot inches wide of the post, before Chris Weale had to be on hand yet again, with the keeper and Nathan Smith combining to block a Scot Bennett effort that was followed up by substitute Scott Boden, with Weale diverting the ball out for a corner. Despite all this though, it was Yeovil who finished the game threatening an extreme smash'n'grab, as a Harry Cornick header had to be tipped over the crossbar by Joe Day for a corner. Then with the very last kick of the game, a Matt Dolan free kick whistled inches over the crossbar, touching the goal netting as it went through, and leaving Glovers fans at the far end celebrating for a split second the 'winning' goal - it wasn't to be, and on the balance of the second half play, it would have been incredibly harsh on Newport. The end result is little change near the bottom - York and Dagenham's defeats mean it was a point gained of sorts, with Stevenage and obviously Newport also drawing. However, it merely emphasised the fact that the Glovers are in a serious five-way battle near the foot of the division, and they will need to turn a few of these into wins if they are to gain the advantage over their rivals.
Link: 2015-16 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Newport County 0 Yeovil Town 0.
30. Joe Day
21. Matt Partridge 18. Scot Bennett 16. Andrew Hughes
24. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb 23. Alex Rodman 33. Mark Byrne 7. Medy Elito 3. Scott Barrow
10. Lenell John-Lewis 9. Zak Ansah
2. Danny Holmes 4. Tommy O'Sullivan (82 mins for Scott Barrow) 6. Matt Taylor 8. Yan Klukowski (90 mins for Alex Rodman) 15. Joe Green 19. Scott Boden (68 mins for Zak Ansah) 39. Aaron Collins
12. Chris Weale
24. Connor Roberts 21. Alex Lacey 26. Darren Ward 3. Nathan Smith (Capt)
23. Harry Cornick 4. Matt Dolan 2. Ben Tozer 20. Wes Fogden
9. Ryan Bird 39. Francois Zoko
1. Artur Krysiak (GK) 10. Shaun Jeffers (88 mins for Harry Cornick) 11. Ryan Dickson (76 mins for Ryan Bird) 16. George Thomas (68 mins for Francois Zoko) 22. Mark Beck 30. Josh Sheehan
Newport Bookings: None.
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Newport Match Statistics: Possession: 58%; Shots: 15; Shots On Target: 8; Corners: 6; Fouls: 12.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 42%; Shots: 7; Shots On Target: 1; Corners: 3; Fouls: 10.
Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire). Assistants: Simon Barrow (Staffordshire) and Christopher Wade (Hampshire). Fourth Official: Justin Amey (Dorset).
Attendance: 3,084 (with 460 Yeovil supporters).