econd-half goals from Jamille Matt and Cameron Pring were the result of arguably the most complete performance of the season and were enough to give Newport a 2-0 victory over Colchester United at Rodney Parade.
A cagey first half saw very little in the way of chances; good interplay between Jamille Matt and Padraig Amond saw the Irishman in on goal in the first 10 minutes but a poor touch went straight through to goalkeeper Dillon Barnes. At the other end, the returning Frank Nouble let fly from distance but Joe Day got himself well positioned to make a comfortable save.
John McGreal’s side possessed a smorgasbord of height in their side, giving County an extra dimension to think about in their approach to the game but the Exiles’ back line were solid throughout. Mickey Demetriou particularly stood out as he produced a defensive masterclass on how to man-mark the target man, largely taking Nouble completely out of the game.
Just before the 20-minute mark, Jamille Matt was sent tumbling in the area while competing for a cross. County's top scorer was clearly shoved but referee Roger East waved his calls away, much to the dismay of the home fans and players alike.
Mike Flynn will have been saddened by the sight of Robbie Willmott hobbling off the field after just over half an hour; he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem while chasing a through ball from Tyreeq Bakinson. It was clear at half time that this gritty contest would be settled by a mistake or a piece of real quality.
Ten minutes into the second half, that’s exactly what County produced. Matt Dolan whipped in a delightful corner, which was met well by Padraig Amond getting across his man at the front post; his flick was met at the back post by an unmarked Jamille Matt who couldn’t miss from barely two yards out.
County’s back line were superb in the second half, resisting every attack Colchester could muster. From one of them, they created a moment of brilliance to put the game to bed. Tyreeq Bakinson received the ball about 30 yards out, spun a few times while he weighed up his options and played a delightful ball through to Cameron Pring; the substitute, who was fantastic after coming off the bench, raced onto it and placed the ball brilliantly into the corner to make it 2-0.
From that point onwards, everything went County’s way; they were first to every 50-50, loose balls fell to their feet and they remained doing the basics well, something they’ve been accused of not doing during their recent slump in form. The best Colchester had to shout about was a deflected effort from Courtney Senior which hit the crossbar before Joe Day comfortably gathered before making a simple save moments later.
County’s 3rd win in eight days sees them finish the day in 3rd position in the League Two table and will travel to Cheltenham Town next weekend believing that their troubles of October are far behind them and they can look upwards rather than downwards at the league table again.
Man of the Match: Mickey Demetriou
Player Ratings: Day 7, Pipe 8, Butler 7, Franks 8, Willmott 6 (Pring 8), Dolan 6 (O’Brien 6), Amond 7, Matt 7, Bakinson 8, Demetriou 9, Semenyo 7 (Harris 7)
Attendance: 3,512 (231 away)