The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By An­drew Pen­man

NEW­PORT County man­ager Justin Ed­in­burgh ad­mit­ted a straight red card in in­jury time for Aaron O’Con­nor had marred this com­fort­able win over Steve­nage.

In form O’Con­nor, the League Two player of the month for Novem­ber, opened the scor­ing mid­way through the first half at Rod­ney Pa­rade, be­fore Dar­ren Jones dou­bled County’s lead on the strike of half-time.

But a petu­lant and need­less swipe at Dean Wells deep into time added on at the end of the game looks set to cost the Ex­iles the ser­vices of their star man for the next three games.

“Ob­vi­ously the gloss was taken off the re­sult by the red card at the end, but hav­ing viewed it now we are cer­tainly go­ing to ap­peal that one,” said Ed­in­burgh.

“I cer­tainly don’t feel it was a red card and it’s just left us a bit dis­ap­pointed at the end. I have con­fi­dence it will be re­scinded.”

County matched a phys­i­cal Steve­nage side in a real blood­and-thun­der open­ing be­fore tak­ing charge in the fi­nal 20 min­utes of the first half.

The first goal on 26 min­utes came from a Ryan Jack­son long throw.

It was flicked on by Lee Min­shull and fi­nally headed home by O’Con­nor from six yards.

And Jones dou­bled the Ex­iles’ lead in the third minute of time added on in the first half.

Andy San­dell’s free-kick was de­flected into the path of Jones and he poked the ball home from close range.

Ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing Jones, looks to­wards the as­sis­tant, but his flag stayed down and Ed­in­burgh’s men had a two-goal cush­ion.

“It was a thor­oughly good vic­tory,” said Ed­in­burgh, whose side are up to sixth after a run of nine games un­beaten.

“It was a dogged game. There wasn’t a lot of foot­ball played, but we did our jobs well.

“It wasn’t pretty at times, but we were ruth­less when our chances came along and coped with ev­ery­thing they threw at us in the sec­ond half.”

Steve­nage boss Gra­ham West­ley in­sisted it was a game of nar­row mar­gins.

“We weren’t phys­i­cally over­run and I can’t say that, tac­ti­cally, we got it wrong,” he said.

“I think, in most ar­eas of the park, we matched up fairly well,” he said.

“The game didn’t get away from us and we had ten at­tempts at goal to their nine, so that says it was a fairly nip-and-tuck game.

“It was two set-pieces that un­did us, and at­ten­tion to de­tail is the dif­fer­ence be­tween win­ning and los­ing.

“At two set-pieces they haven’t done what we asked them to do. Lads made mis­takes try­ing to do other peo­ple’s jobs, so it was will­ing­ness rather than dis­obe­di­ence that was our un­do­ing.”

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