MATCH REPORT: NEWPORT COUNTY 0, STEVENAGE 2
Stevenage made it five away league wins on the bounce with a comfortable 2-0 win at Newport County this evening in Sky Bet League 2.
Both goals came in the first half as firstly an own goal and then Tom Pett struck to give Boro a deserved lead. Chances came and went for both sides in the second half but Darren Sarll’s men kept a clean sheet to record another impressive victory on the road.
Darren Sarll made two changes from Saturday’s defeat to Doncaster with Luke Wilkinson returning from suspension and Tom Pett promoted after a bright sub appearance at the weekend. Charlie Lee and Dale Gorman dropped to the bench.
Stevenage started brightly and created the first chance of the game after just two minutes. A deep free-kick found Dean Wells in acres of space at the back post but his scuffed effort was comfortable for Joe Day in the Newport goal.
Two minutes later Wells’ defensive partner Wilkinson had to be alert at the other end to track Rhys Healey and time a tackle to perfection inside the box, as the on-loan striker threatened to shoot on goal.
The opening goal came on nine minutes in Stevenage’s favour, albeit with a touch of fortune. Kennedy found Pett out wide and the winger cut inside and shot at goal, only for the ball to deflect home off the unfortunate Darren Jones for an own goal.
Ben Kennedy blasted wide from distance on the quarter hour and Boro were looking content with their goal lead. On a pitch which had more sand than grass in places it was always going to be a tricky surface but Darren Sarll’s men were coping well with it thus far.
On 26 minutes Newport really should have equalised through Jennison Myrie-Williams. Right-back Barnum-Bobb found space down the right and swung in a deep cross for the former Boro winger, who cut inside but shot wide.
That sparked Graham Westley’s men into life and for a good 10 minutes they enjoyed the best of the possession and probed the Boro backline, looking for opportunities. The best of these came from Jones who, looking to make amends for his own goal, got into the box and unleashed a shot that namesake Jamie turned behind.
A minute later Stevenage had a golden chance to extend their advantage. Ben Kennedy found Harry McKirdy inside the box and the Villa loanee spun and shot at Day, before seeing a second effort scrambled behind for a corner.
However seven minutes before the break, Boro did double their lead. Steve Schumacher tried his luck from distance but saw his shot parried away, but only as far as McKirdy who saw a shot saved from point-blank range and then his follow-up header hit the post. Cue a goalmouth scramble which saw Tom Pett eventually bundle the ball home for 2-0.
Newport made a double-sub at the break and came out with renewed purpose. They really should have pulled a goal back on 52 minutes when Myrie-Williams crossed for Healy, but the striker could only prod wide.
McKirdy went close from a Wilkinson cross and then forced Day into a fine low save from a cushioned volley, as the Aston Villa loanee twice went close in a matter of minutes.
From that point onwards Boro got slightly careless, conceding a number of free-kicks which gave County the chance to launch long balls into the Boro box, but the visitors cleared everything that came their way.
Harry McKirdy headed over from a Kennedy cross with 16 minutes remaining and sub Charlie Lee saw a header of his own deflect wide, after a perfect cross from fellow sub Rowan Liburd, as Stevenage saw out the game and five minutes injury time with relative ease.
That’s five consecutive away league wins for Boro whose attention now turns to producing that kind of home form, starting with this Saturday’s game against Blackpool. Tickets for that game can be purchased at www.borotickets.co.uk.
Newport County: Day, Barnum-Bobb, Butler (Jackson 46), Jones, Myrie-Williams, Tozer (Labadie 72), Bignot, Sheehan, Bennett, Healey, Jebb (Owen-Evans 56)
Subs not used: Bittner, Randall, Green, Meite
Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Wilkinson, Wells, Franks, Pett (McAnuff 90), Schumacher, King, Cowans (Lee 64), McKirdy (Liburd 82), Kennedy
Subs not used: Day, Gorman, Tonge, Kerr
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Attendance: 1,877 (52 away)