Goals: Bennett OG (18′), Amond (38′)
Attendance: 3,081 (964 County)
Newport missed the chance to close the gap at the top of League Two as captain, Mickey Demetriou missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers.
The hosts, Forest Green headed into this fixture unbeaten and in 5th place after beating Cambridge United, 3-1 in their last game. Paul Digby, Dayle Grubb and Matt Worthington were the men who grabbed the goals for the Rovers at the Abbey Stadium.
On the other hand, Newport County were looking to end the Rovers’ unbeaten start and close the gap on league leaders, Lincoln City. In the Exiles’ last game, Jamille Matt popped up with a 97th-minute equaliser as they denied Macclesfield Town their first win of the season in an entertaining 3-3 draw.
The first chance of the wet and rainy afternoon fell in the favour of the hosts in the 11th minute. Carl Winchester found some space on the edge of the box and struck a curled effort at goal. Somehow, despite clipping the inside of the post, the score remained at 0-0 as the Exiles cleared away the loose ball.
The hosts were on top in the opening minutes of the game and capitalised on their dominance when they broke the deadlock in the 18th minute.
Dayle Grubb made a darting run down the left wing before sliding a ball into the box. However, instead of finding a Rovers player, the ball deflected into the back of the net off County player, Scot Bennett to give the hosts a deserved lead.
After the hosts’ opener, neither side looked threatening right up until the 37th minute when Bristol City loanee, Antoine Semenyo should’ve equalised for the Exiles. Robbie Willmott did well to glide past two Rovers players before delivering a good ball into the box.
Jamille Matt couldn’t quite get his head to it but Padraig Amond picked up the loose ball and found Semenyo waiting in the six-yard box. However, the youngster couldn’t find a good connection with the ball as Robert Sanchez wasn’t troubled in the Forest Green goal.
Despite the golden chance, the Exiles didn’t give up as they equalised a minute later through Amond. Once again, Willmott danced over another Rovers defender before finding the Irishman in the box with all the time in the world. Amond found the bottom right corner with a delicate finish with the outside of his boot as the Exiles found their equaliser.
Reece Brown almost cut the visitors’ celebrations short when he almost netted a minute later. The youngster found some space on the edge of the box before firing a driven shot at goal. However, the effort whistled past the post to save the Exiles’ blushes.
Just before the break, there was time for the hosts to have another crack at the Newport goal. This time, after some slick passing play from the Rovers, Reuben Reid struck a half-volley on the turn. However, the effort smashed against the crossbar as the Exiles were spared once again.
The second half would prove to not be as dramatic as the first but there were still signs of controversy, nonetheless. County were given a penalty in the 64th minute after Reid handled the ball on the line.
The goal-bound effort from Matt was blocked with the arm of Reid and looked to be a certain sending-off. However, the referee only showed the striker a yellow as the Newport fans and players were left puzzled as to how the forward wasn’t shown a straight red.
Despite the drama, Mickey Demetriou stepped up to the spot and looked to fire the Exiles into the lead. However, the skipper’s penalty flew sky-high the cleared not only the goal but the stand behind the goal.
Rovers’ Grubb looked hungry for goals as the midfielder threatened the Newport goal once again in the 71st minute. After finding a way past Fraser Franks, the 27-year-old cut inside and struck the side netting from the edge of the box.
That chance proved to be the final play of the afternoon as both sides had to settle for a point in Nailsworth. The hosts remain unbeaten but drop one place to 6th in the league. As for the Exiles, they remain in 3rd place after Demetriou’s missed penalty proved costly for them.