BEASTLY BAYO DOES DAMAGE
NEWPORT County caretaker manager Jimmy Dack refused to be downcast despite seeing his reign get off to the worst possible start after his ten men lost against AFC Wimbledon.
Dack assumed control at County after Justin Edinburgh’s protracted departure to Gillingham was finally resolved on Saturday.
But Adebayo Akinfenwa’s brace was enough to see off a limp Newport challenge, with the Exiles having Kevin Feely red-carded for a second half foul on George Francomb.
Joe Day saved Akinfenwa’s penalty, but County could not get back into the match and they have now gone four games without a goal or a point.
And although Edinburgh’s departure will deepen the sense of unease among Newport fans, Dack believes it is time to look forwards.
Dack said: “We’re going to draw a line under it now. Justin’s gone now and it’s time to move on. We’ve got to start talking about Newport County and the players that are playing now.
“I’m not going to use it as an excuse.We’ve spoken about it and everyone’s aware of it. There’s no point in dragging it on.
“The boys knew that the gaffer was going and it was just up to us to put a performance in. It’s about us now, getting some results and getting Newport County up and running again.
“Up until the sending off I thought it was a good performance. Obviously the goal killed us in the first half but I thought we played well in the first half.”
Akinfenwa netted the opener after 11 minutes, heading in powerfully from Sean Rigg’s cross.
Feely was red-carded for taking down Francomb when the Wimbledon player was through on goal but Akinfenwa was far too nonchalant from the spot, allowing Day to make an easy save.
But the Beast made amends with his second, a close-range finish on 72 minutes, drawing praise from manager Neal Ardley, who refused to criticise the striker for his penalty miss.
“I wouldn’t have a pop at Adebayo, he’s too big. He could have made life easier but strikers don’t mean to miss goals. The only time I will get on at players is when they don’t give 100 per cent,” said Ardley.
“Bayo Akinfenwa and our former striker Matt Tubbs have been a part of 39 of our 40 goals this season either by scoring, assisting or playing a big part in the build up to all of the goals.
“He has now been involved in 20 of our 40 goals so don’t think that I’m going to have a go at him when he doesn’t get one of them right.
“I think we have some real quality in the side and we showed that again.”
Edinburgh departs Rodney Parade, where he was in charge since 2011, having steered them out of the Conference relegation zone in his first season and to Wembley for the FA Trophy Final.
The 45-year-old also led Newport to Wembley for a second consecutive season, securing their return to the Football League after a 25-year absence.
DEADLY DOUBLE: Adebayo Akinfenwa scores his second goal. Inset: All smiles after his first of the day