A 3-3 draw was hard to swallow for Boro on opening day as Newport County fought back from two goals down to equalise in added time.
Goals from Tom Pett, Dale Gorman and Danny Newton weren't enough as a resilient Exiles came away with a point.
Darren Sarll named five debutants as Danny Newton, Alex Samuel, Harry Beautyman, Joe Martin and Joe Fryer all made their first competitive starts for the club.
With big players just making their way back from injury, Sarll had a whole wealth of talent and experience on the bench with the likes of Jack King, Chirs Whelpdale, Tom Conlon and Matty Godden all ready to be called upon.
It took only ten minutes for Boro to take the lead. Tom Pett’s eyes lighting up after a poor Newport back-pass allowed him to sneak in, take the ball around the keeper before slotting into an empty net. The perfect start to opening day.
The visitors should have been level on 26 minutes as Frank Nouble put over a brilliant chance from just a few yards out. After a deep Newport free-kick crashed off the crossbar, it fell perfectly for Frank Nouble who could only blaze the ball over. A real let off for Boro.
On 30 minutes it was almost another miracle intervention to deny a Newport equaliser. This time down to skill, not luck, as Joe Fryer beat away Dolan’s free-kick which was destined for the top corner.
Newport were enjoying their best spell of the game and Fryer was at it again moments later, parrying Reynold’s effort away at the near-post before denying Nouble with a point blank header.
Stevenage were able to create a couple of chances before the break, Samuel heading wide as Ronnie found him from the right. It was Ronnie again who was the supplier not long after, finding McKee inside the six yard box but a dogged Newport defence were able to crowd him out and clear.
So, not the greatest of halves from Boro but a 1-0 lead at the break will have been well received by all.
The Exiles picked up where they left off in the second half and got their equaliser on 54 minutes from a Newport corner. Labadie’s header was initially blocked on the line but Frank Nouble stabbed in from a yard or two out to send the away fans into raptures.
Sarll reacted to the goal by making an immediate change, bringing on Chris Whelpdale for Alex Samuel as Boro looked to regain control of the game.
Luke Wilkinson, who was having a fantastic game at the back, did his part in attack moments after Newport drew level. The big defender showing some quick feet in the oppositions box before being hacked down to win a penalty. Dale Gorman stepped up and did the rest, putting Stevenage into a 2-1 lead.
There were cheers all around the stadium not long after as Matty Godden made his way onto the pitch for Mark McKee. Godden, who hadn’t played a minute of pre-season, making it back just in time to play a part in the first game of the season.
Some many fans may have been forgiven for thinking the game was almost wrapped up with 20 minutes left as Danny Newton fired in to make it 3-1. A great moment for the former Tamworth star to score on his debut as he reacted brilliantly to stroke home Gorman’s deflected strike.
They would have been wrong though as an impressive Newport struck back. Mickey Demetriou smashing in an unbelievable strike with just over 10 minutes left to make it 3-2. A truly breathless game to open up the season.
Boro came close to extending the lead again as Jack King (introduced for Dale Gorman) and then Danny Newton both came close to a telling touch, but in the 94th minute it was the away end celebrating as McCoulsky prodded in to make it 3-3.
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