EXILES PUT BEST FOOT FORWARD
NEWPORT County manager Justin Edinburgh savoured a hard-won three points in the Severnside derby at a sodden Rodney Parade.
The Exiles boss saw his side triumph over Bristol Rovers thanks to Andy Sandell’s first-half penalty after Christian Jolley was upended in the box.
Edinburgh was delighted with the clean sheet, heaping praise on returning goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley and his three central defenders.
“I thought the performance was very good once again.We’re acquitting ourselves very well in this division,” said Edinburgh.
“We were boosted by the return of Lenny Pidgeley but I thought the back three of Tom Naylor, Harry Worley and Andrew Hughes were immense.
“Once we go a goal ahead here it’s very difficult for anyone to come back and to win a derby match is extra special for the players and the fans.”
Rovers manager John Ward felt the penalty decision against skipper Tom Parkes was harsh but admitted his players let down the 1,100 fans.
“I’m biased so I didn’t think it was a penalty,” he said.
“But I wanted a better performance for the supporters who sat in the rain.
“They got soaking wet and they’ve got to go home in their football clothes while we can change.
“They paid money to sit and watch that and they deserve more than we gave them so we’ve got to make sure we give them more next week.”
Edinburgh’s side bossed the majority of the match in conditions more akin to November than August.
The hosts made light of the swirling wind and persistent rain to rip into an injury-hit Rovers side.
Midfielder Adam Chapman had the first chance from Robbie Willmott’s corner but his snap shot was high and wide after eight minutes.
The Exiles’ side was packed full of ex-Pirates players and striker Chris Zebroski went close to scoring against his former employers on numerous occasions.
He was inches away from getting on the end of a tempting Harry Worley cross 15 minutes in and clipped a centre from captain David Pipe, another former Rovers star, just wide minutes later.
Ward’s side mustered little in response with David Clarkson’s blocked effort ten minutes before the break the closest they came to trou- bling the returning Lenny Pidgeley in the Newport goal.
The hosts were well on top but they knew that they had to make their dominance pay.
And the goal they deserved finally arrived two minutes before the interval when Jolley was chopped down by O’Toole and Sandell slammed home the penalty against his former club.
Zebroski saw a header well saved by Steve Mildenhall and the home side survived a late flurry of Rovers’ corners to claim a deserved derby win.
RESPECT: Former Bristol Rovers player Andy Sandell is reluctant to celebrate his winning goal for Newport
GAME ON: Tom Lockyer and Newport’s Danny Crow clash