ANSAH INSPIRES SECOND-HALF SHOW AS EXILES LOOK UPWARD
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.”
STAR MAN ZAK ANSAH Newport