The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Steve Har­ris

NEW­PORT County’s sur­vival as­pi­ra­tions re­main firmly on track, whilst Ex­eter City’s play-off prospects are fast fall­ing apart de­spite the Ex­iles’ late ar­rival at St James Park.

Kick off was de­layed by 45 min­utes af­ter the New­port team coach got stuck in traf­fic on the mo­tor­way.

But it was the County who came away with three points as a 53rd minute strike from Tom Owen-Evans proved to be the dif­fer­ence – much to the de­light of man­ager Michael Flynn, who has over­seen four wins from seven games since re­plac­ing Gra­ham West­ley.

“There is noth­ing that you can do about the traf­fic, we would have liked to have got here early but there is noth­ing we could do,” said Flynn.

“We’ve just got to take it on the chin, we left in plenty of time as we al­ways do, but they’ve re­sponded in the right way.

“Go­ing and beat­ing a team in the play-offs at their own ground and in the man­ner that we did it, I thought it was the best per­for­mance since I’ve been here.

“We are three points be­hind Hartlepool now and four be­hind Chel­tenham so we are go­ing to keep work­ing and keep be­liev­ing we can do it.”

When play even­tu­ally did get un­der­way, the Gre­cians carved out the game’s first chance on 12 min­utes as Ryan Har­ley had a shot blocked by New­port’s for­mer Ex­eter de­fender Scot Ben­nett.

A minute later, the Ex­iles went close as Dan But­ler’s pow­er­ful left-footed drive was par­ried be­hind by City keeper Christy Pym.

Lead­ing scorer David Wheeler was the Gre­cians’ great­est at­tack­ing threat as he twice forced smart saves from New­port keeper Joe Day mid­way through the first half.

Eight min­utes into the sec­ond half, New­port took the lead when Owen-Evans struck with a left -ooted 25yard screamer.

The Gre­cians threat­ened an equaliser on 68 min­utes when sub­sti­tute Ol­lie Watkins forced a smart save from Day.

In in­jury time, Ex­eter de­fender Troy Brown also went close with a headed ef­fort, which drew a save from Day, as the Gre­cians slipped to de­feat.

How­ever, man­ager Paul Tis­dale re­fused to blame the late kick-off as an ex­cuse.

“It wasn’t an ideal sit­u­a­tion but I wouldn’t say that it was a rea­son why we lost the game to­day,” said Tis­dale.

“We still got our­selves into some good at­tack­ing po­si­tions but didn’t take ad­van­tage. We will have these mo­ments again and we have to be bet­ter than we were to­day.

“We missed out on three points to­day that we dearly needed. Ev­ery week I’m asked the same ques­tion and the an­swer is the same ‘it’s ir­rel­e­vant where we are now’, we need to be in the pos­i­tive po­si­tion at the end of the sea­son. We’ve got five more games to go now.”


BIG GOAL: Tom Owen-Evans UN­DER PRES­SURE: Reuben Reid wards off chal­lenges from New­port County play­ers

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