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

NEW­PORT County boss John Sheri­dan’s half-time tongue lash­ing did the trick as his side stormed to a 4-1 win at Bris­tol Rovers, thanks to three sec­ond-half goals.

Sheri­dan’s men were gifted the lead on 13 min­utes when Tom Parkes headed into his own net but the host were soon level thanks to Billy Bodin’s su­perb vol­ley. Af­ter the break, a dou­ble from Zak An­sah – the first cour­tesy of a hor­ri­ble goal­keep­ing howler – and one from fel­low loan star Tommy O’Sul­li­van sealed County’s sec­ond away win of the week and lifted them out of the League Two rel­e­ga­tion zone.

It’s the first time the Ex­iles have been off the bot­tom since Au­gust but Sheri­dan, who took over from Terry Butcher ear­lier this month, ad­mit­ted he was not happy with his troops at the break.

“I felt we were com­fort­able in the game but that gave Bris­tol the im­pe­tus and they

put us un­der a lot of pres­sure,” said the Ex­iles boss.

“We lacked a lit­tle bit of be­lief and we were a bit naïve – we were invit­ing them on to us and I had a lit­tle bit of a go at them at half-time.

“We’ve got to re­ally be­lieve and play with a bit more in­ten­sity and I thought we did that sec­ond half and our front two caused them prob­lems.”

Rovers goal­keeper Lee Ni­cholls will have night­mares about the vis­i­tors’ sec­ond on 52 min­utes as he fum­bled the ball and pre­sented An­sah with his first goal for New­port.

The Charl­ton loa­nee needed no help five min­utes later, how­ever, as he found the top cor­ner with a ter­rific strike from the edge of the area.

Parkes al­most made amends for his ear­lier er­ror as he crashed a header against the bar.

But O’Sul­li­van’s rocket 15 min­utes from time sealed the points for New­port and gave their 500 trav­el­ling fans the brag­ging rights in the Sev­ern­side derby.

“We caused them lots of prob­lems on the coun­ter­at­tack and we should have scored more goals,” added a de­lighted Sheri­dan. Rovers, mean­while, have not won a league game at home since Au­gust and man­ager Dar­rell Clarke ap­pealed for Pi­rates fans to stick with the side un­til things turn around.

“I apol­o­gise first of all to the sup­port­ers – I thought my­self and the play­ers let them down,” he said.

“They need to stick with the lads be­cause there’s a lot of abil­ity in the group. But we gave away two ridicu­lously silly goals and made it an up­hill bat­tle.

“I didn’t see it com­ing and it’s the wake-up call that I think ev­ery­body needs.”


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