Match report: Newport County 2 Stevenage 0

Graham Westley

Graham Westley - Credit: Archant

First-half goals from Aaron O’Connor and Darren Jones extend Stevenage’s winless run away from home to eight games

Stevenage’s winless run on the road extended to eight matches in all competitions with this latest defeat.

AFC Wimbledon on August 30 was the last time Boro left an away ground with the taste of victory in their mouth, but within just 45 minutes here Newport County had scored twice to deny them the chance to turn their form around.

Yet it was Graham Westley’s men who started the brighter of the two teams.

They may not have controlled possession, but they played with purpose in the opening exchanges with Charlie Lee forcing a decent save out of Jamie Stephens, the hosts’ keeper pushing his half-volley over the bar.

But they then conceded to Aaron O’Connor’s header, and when Darren Jones made it 2-0 three minutes into first-half injury time there was no coming back for the visitors.

The weather forecast leading up to the match had predicted ice, and you would have thought the forecast had been correct from the number of players falling over in the opening minutes as the game started slowly.

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Boro played some decent football in the opening exchanges, and Lee was the first player to get bums off seats when the midfielder tested Stephens.

The home side then went ahead, and it came from the head of O’Connor.

Boro had begun the match with three at the back, with right-back Ronnie Henry between centre-halves Dean Wells and Bira Dembele, but neither they nor their team-mates could stop a long throw-in being flicked on to O’Connor who put his header inside the far post.

It had been a promising opening 25 minutes for the visitors, but after conceding the goal they began to stutter as Newport took control.

The home side pressed high up the pitch which made it difficult for Boro to build spells of attacking play, and the visitors were dealt a further blow in injury time when Jones poked home with Boro claiming for offside.

Boro began the second half looking for a way back, but after withstanding some early pressure County controlled the majority of the second period.

On more than one occasion they had Boro scrambling away clearances in their own box, especially when long throw-ins were lobbed into the penalty area, and despite the introduction of Jack Jebb, Ryan Brunt and, latterly, Charlie Adams, Boro were unable to force their way back into the game.

The home side were composed – well, until O’Connor was sent off for a late challenge on Wells – and penetrating; Stevenage, unfortunately, were not.

Newport County: Stephens, Jackson, Porter, Jones, Yakubu, Minshull, O’Connor, Sandell, Jeffers (Byrne 83), Hughes (Obeng 61), Klukowski. Subs: Pidgeley, Chapman, Howe, Poole, Crow.

Stevenage: Day, Henry, Okimo, Dembele, Wells, Whelpdale (Adams 78), Walton (Jebb 70), McAllister, Lee, Beardsley (Brunt 70), Barnard. Subs: Beasant, Pett, Bond, Parrett.

Att: 2,976