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Match Reports

Newport County preview

4 March 2014

Newport 0-0 Fleetwood Town

Fleetwood Town picked up a hard earned point at play-off hopefuls Newport County this evening, which meant that they stayed in sixth position in the Sky Bet League 2 table.

The Cod Army were looking to do the double over Justin Edinburgh’s men, having beaten them 4-1 at Highbury at the start of November.

Following Saturday’s home draw against AFC Wimbledon, manager Graham Alexander made three changes to his side.

Making their way into the starting eleven were Gareth Evans, Steven Schumacher and Jamille Matt, as Bobby Grant, Mikael Mandron and Jon Parkin missed out.

Town very nearly got off to the best possible start, as Steven Schumacher’s in-swinging corner was met by Mark Roberts, however, County scrambled away off the line.

The front pairing of Rene Howe and Chris Zebroski proved an early challenge for Fleetwood’s backline, as the latter outmuscled his marker and sent a crashing effort over Chris Maxwell’s goal.

Lee Minshull later saw his header whistle wide of the far post from a Ryan Burge set-piece, as County arguably settled better of the two sides.

Antoni Sarcevic, playing just behind frontman Jamille Matt, missed a glorious chance for Town after quarter of an hour, as he fired wide when played through on goal by the former Kidderminster Harriers man.

Graham Alexander’s side grew into the game after Sarcevic’s opportunity, with Gareth Evans skidding an effort off target. 

Burge’s set-pieces for the home side were causing a nuisance, as this time, Tom Naylor sent a header inches wide of goal.

An inviting free kick from Steven Schumacher five minutes before the break was met by the head of Mark Roberts, who was denied by Elliott Parish, while Sarcevic shot wide on the follow-up.

The Exiles began the second period in a positive fashion, with Robbie Willmott beating Conor McLaughlin on the right, before pulling back to Chris Zebroski who was denied by a fine last ditch challenge.

Having weathered the storm, the Cod Army, for all their effort, struggled to find a real breakthrough, with Matt and Sarcevic restricted to limited opportunities. 

Ryan Burge then tried his luck from distance on the hour mark with a twenty yard strike which flew over shot stopper Maxwell’s goal.

County’s recent signing Rene Howe missed from all of three yards midway through the half, as he scooped Chris Zebroski’s low ball over the crossbar.

The home side continued to threaten and create chances. This time, Robbie Willmott’s free-kick went just over, while the visiting rearguard defended well to clear a goal mouth scramble.

With both sides looking for a late winner, and Town having penalty appeals waved away in stoppage time, there were to be no goals, which meant that the Cod Army left south Wales with a valuable point.

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