The contrasting fortunes of two local Blue Square Bet Premier clubs was in evidence last night at Spytty Park as new boys Newport County recorded their fifth straight win with a 3-1 victory over Forest Green Rovers.
Rovers and their under pressure boss David Hockaday though must’ve been left frustrated as they were by far the stronger team from the kick off and and took a fifteenth minute lead when midfielder Yan Klukowski danced his way around two County defenders before shooting under the dive of Glyn Thompson.
However that was as good as it got for the Nailsworth team as their own run of appalling form continued when just three minutes later Sam Foley put the finishing touch to a route one goal when he lifted a Robbie Matthews flick on over the advancing James Bittner with his left foot.
Former Newport man Lee Fowler earned a caution for an over the top tackle in front of the packed bank of home fans before County took the lead ten minutes before the break. Nobody picked up the tall Matthews at an inswinging corner and whilst Bittner did well to stop his goalbound header he couldn’t hold the ball and it fell to Craig Reid to poke the the ball over the line.
Another booking for Rovers came when lone striker Reece Styche appeared to be hauled down as he reached for a loose ball in the penalty area but the referee saw his attempt as a dive and cautioned him. Worse was to follow as Curtis McDonald directed a far post header inches wide from a free kick when it seemed easier to score.
With the game now in the second half any early promise Rovers had shown was long gone as the home team settled and had improved since scoring the second goal. Both Foley and Reid brought saves from Thompson but James Norwood had a great chance to bring Rovers level when he robbed Bignot the full back before running on goal and shooting hopelessly wide.
Reid should’ve grabbed his second when a cross to the far post was headed down to him but he sent a left footed volley over the bar, however Mike Fowler was caught in possession minutes later and when Reid was put in wide on the edge of the area with seemingly nowhere to go he did what all good strikers do and scored from the narrowest of angles.
If Rovers thought they should’ve had a penalty in the first half then how the challenge by Thompson on Norwood in the second didn’t merit one beggars beliefr. The Rovers man burst through and easily passed the onrushing keeper only to be brought down inside the area. The verdict? A corner!
As the rain continued to pour down over Newport Rovers had more chance of getting dry than getting any points.
As the home team recorded their fifth successive win Hockadays men left the Principality with the unwanted record of five losses on the bounce and a look at the league table showed Rovers firmly established in the bottom four whilst Dean Holdsworth’s men are only kept off top spot by Fleetwood Town.