COUNTY HOPE FOR RED RELIEF
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 I have confidence it will be rescinded.”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.”