COUNTY CAN’T GET HILL DOWN

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Michael Pearl­man To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

KEITH Hill wasn’t about to let New­port County ruin Rochdale’s pro­mo­tion party as he quickly turned his at­ten­tions to next sea­son and League One de­spite de­feat at Rod­ney Pa­rade.

A late missed penalty from Matt Lund and last-gasp win­ner from de­fender Kevin Feely saw Rochdale de­feated de­spite leading from Ge­orge Don­nelly.

But Hill was noth­ing but proud of his play­ers’ ef­forts all sea­son.

“We will get over the dis­ap­point­ment of not win­ning the ti­tle, it’s all pos­i­tive, there is no neg­a­tiv­ity and I’d like to con­grat­u­late Paul (Cook) and Ch­ester­field and Russ (Wil­cox) and Scun­thorpe, it’s been a mar­vel­lous ti­tle race from start to fin­ish,” he said.

“We were in touch­ing dis­tance all sea­son and we’ve been very suc­cess­ful. We did ev­ery­thing we could to beat New­port, but some­times it just isn’t meant to be.

“We’ve been pro­moted and hope­fully not win­ning the ti­tle gives us more in­cen­tive to be suc­cess­ful next sea­son.”

Dale were roared on by a su­perb away fol­low­ing, other than Portsmouth the big­gest away con­tin­gent of the sea­son at New­port as their sup­port­ers hoped to cel­e­brate clinch­ing the League Two ti­tle.

“It was ab­so­lutely su­perb, ev­ery sup­porter to a man, woman and child have sup­ported us mag­nif­i­cently all sea­son,” Hill added.

But New­port County boss Justin Ed­in­burgh was thrilled to end County’s first sea­son back in the Foot­ball League on a high. “We’ve had a fan­tas­tic sea­son and we wanted to go out on a high and we’ve done that against a very good side,” he said.

“We con­grat­u­late Rochdale on their pro­mo­tion, but credit to my play­ers for win­ning a very im­por­tant game.

“No side in the top eight has won at New­port County this sea­son and that’s a big thing for us to take into the next cam­paign.

“We are grow­ing as a foot­ball club and now we’ll go away and try and im­prove the squad.

“With six or seven new ad­di­tions and re­tain­ing the play­ers we want, I think we’ll be in and around the pro­mo­tion pic­ture.”

Don­nelly missed a good chance for the vis­i­tors early on, but it only de­layed the vis­it­ing cel­e­bra­tions. The opener duly ar­rived, Ian Hen­der­son split­ting the New­port de­fence and Don­nelly was able to clip the ball home af­ter Ian McLough­lin par­ried his first ef­fort.

New­port were strug­gling to at­tack with any­thing of note but from their first gen­uine chance they equalised, Ryan Jack­son’s cross volleyed at goal by Mike Flynn whose ef­fort was well stopped by Josh Lil­lis, but Aaron O’Con­nor was on the spot to tap home.

The sec­ond pe­riod was a far more even af­fair but the con­test ex­ploded into life in the fi­nal ten min­utes. Hen­der­son was cen­tral again, hauled back by Ryan Jack­son who was sent off, but McLough­lin pro­duced a stun­ning save to deny Lund’s firm ef­fort as ten-man New­port held firm.

And in­cred­i­bly the ten men won it at the death, Charl­ton loa­nee Feely loop­ing home a header from Rob­bie Will­mott’s free-kick.

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

ALL SMILES: Kevin Feely, right, cel­e­brates his goal with New­port team­mates STAR MAN

IAN HENDE RSON

le Rochda

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