Stockport County 1-0 Newport County

Paddy Madden settled the latest meeting of the ‘port-Countys’ with a late, late goal, as the Hatters returned to action for the first time in a fortnight to end a four-match winless run, as well as around seven hours without a goal, in defeating mid-table Newport at Edgeley Park.

The 93rd-minute strike by the skipper, who, 20 minutes earlier, had seen a penalty saved, ensured the Hatters stayed second in the table – three points behind Mansfield, with a game in hand – and avenged the Hatters’ defeat by the odd goal in three at Newport’s Rodney Parade that brought to an end their 12-match league winning run during the autumn.

The week leading up to match-day had remained spring-like and dry – in stark contrast to the preceding rainy one which had ultimately seen the Hatters’ game at Colchester postponed the previous Saturday due to waterlogging. And so it was, seven days on, that (Stockport) County took to the field on a sunny afternoon in SK3, showing three changes from the starting line-up at home to Swindon two weeks earlier. Two Ethans – Bristow and Pye – and Kyle Wootton were the players brought in, replacing, respectively, Ibby Touray, Neill Byrne and Tanto Olaofe, who all featured among the substitutes.

Chances for either side were conspicuous by their absence until a few seconds ahead of  the quarter-hour mark, when Madden, just inside the area, latched on to a Lewis Cass delivery from the right before firing straight at visiting goalkeeper Nick Townsend.

Cass himself tried his luck from outside the box 10 minutes later – blasting over after Newport had failed fully to clear an Antoni Sarcevic free-kick from the left. And Madden saw another shot deflected into the arms of Townsend, after Wootton had headed on to his captain following Myles Hippolyte’s cross from the right.

Townsend’s saves in the opening half an hour had been routine enough – but he undoubtedly came to Newport’s rescue by coming off his line to block Sarcevic, who had been played through on goal courtesy of a Wootton back-heeler. And two home corners in quick succession saw a pair of headers – by Nick Powell and Fraser Horsfall – fly past the left and right sticks, respectively.

The visitors fashioned their inaugural effort of note half a dozen minutes before the break, when Bryn Morris unleashed a low shot from distance that Ben Hinchliffe smothered at the second attempt. And with three minutes of the half to go, another Hippolyte delivery from the right found Madden who headed beyond the far post.

HALF-TIME: County 0, Newport 0. 

Having monopolised the contest’s opportunities in the first half, the Hatters continued in similar vein upon the start of the second. But Townsend cleanly caught a Hippolyte free-kick from the left – and, just after Powell had cleared the crossbar 20 yards out, Newport’s Number One saved with his legs from Madden.

A dozen minutes into the new half, visiting defender Kyle Jameson headed beyond the near post a Hippolyte shot from the right. And, from the resulting corner, Madden unleashed a shot that would have troubled the scorers had Powell not been on the line and unable to get out of its path.

The Hatters brought on Odin Bailey and Callum Camps just before the hour – and the latter, almost immediately, made his presence felt with a low rasping shot that Townsend tipped around the left post. Once again, too, they went close after the corner that followed – as Connor Lemonheigh Evans saw Offrande Zanzala block his header.

Bristow was the next Hatter to be denied, as his low drive from the left was cleared off the line by Jameson. Then, with 17 minutes left to play, and after newly-arrived substitute Olaofe had been tripped, Townsend guessed correctly in diving to his left and keeping out Madden’s spot-kick.

Leading Newport scorer Will Evans fired past the near post from his side’s first corner of the afternoon – taken by Adam Lewis on the left – before Townsend pulled off his finest save in tipping behind a Bailey thunderbolt, and also palmed the ball over to prevent an own goal by substitute Declan Drysdale.

But all was not lost for the Hatters – or drawn, for that matter. Six minutes were added on, and, in the third of them, a Camps free-kick was headed on by Cass for Madden to volley home – bringing an end to the goal-drought, causing EP to erupt, and securing three hugely precious points.

FULL-TIME: County 1 (Madden, 90 + 3), Newport 0.

Team (3-5-2): Hinchliffe; Cass, Horsfall, Pye; Hippolyte (Bailey, 59), Sarcevic, Powell (Camps, 59), Lemonheigh Evans (Olaofe, 69), Bristow; Madden (Capt.), Wootton (Richards, 88).

Unused Subs: Smith, Touray, Byrne.

Booked: Wootton.

Man of the Match: Pye.

Attendance: 8,865 (315 away).

Reporter: Gareth Evans.

Photographer: Mike Petch.


Keep Up To Date With All The Latest News And Special Offers...

Your email address will not be shared with any 3rd parties

    Opening Times Newsletter Signup