WE have come to the final week of the season and as it stands, Newport County are two wins away from securing our place in the League Two play-offs.
We have been on a fantastic run of late, winning five and drawing three of our last eight games and only conceding two goals in that period. A lot of credit was heaped on our attacking players earlier in the season, but credit where it is due, our defensive players and goalkeeper have been superb recently and they have been the foundation that our recent success has been built on.
Saturday’s victory was one of the best we have had this season as we beat the champions Lincoln 1-0 at home to keep our destiny in our own hands. Lincoln are a very strong, physical side who have brilliant footballers in their ranks too but on Saturday we stood up to them and we deservedly got the victory.
An early goal won us the game as a good passing move found me in behind their defence and I set up Scott Bennett to score from close range. We defended excellent with only one little mistake in the game which was late on that could have cost us, but lady luck was on our side as their striker missed the target.
That win sets us up for the last two games of the season in the next four days starting with our final home game of the season against Oldham Athletic tonight (Tuesday). It is a massive game for us as another win would bring us one step closer to making the play-offs. The final game of the season is on Saturday away to one of my former clubs, Morecambe, and I will be hoping that we can get one over on them to confirm our place.
Neither game is going to be easy for us even though both teams are caught in no-man’s land and are safe from relegation.
Oldham are outside the play-off spots but can’t make it. Both teams will want to ruin our chances, but more importantly they are playing for their futures as a lot of players are coming to the end of their contract.
It has been a fantastic season for the club no matter what happens but we don’t want to miss out on this massive opportunity.
We have already amassed a club record number of points in the football league while in the cups we again had a couple of club records going the furthest ever in both the Checkatrade Trophy and, of course, the FA Cup too. That, added to the money the club has earned through the FA Cup run, makes this the best and probably the most enjoyable season the club has ever had and certainly the best since the club’s reformation in 1989.
We had our player of the year awards on Saturday after the Lincoln game and I was delighted to receive three player-of-the-year awards along with the goal of the season too. Winning player-of-the-year is always a special award, but even more so when we had so many players who easily could have won them.
It is a very good group of players and credit must go to the manager and his staff for recruiting the right characters to help build a better squad.
We have had a few injuries to important players this season but there has been a core group of seven or eight players who have been fit for the majority of the games this year and that has been very important for us.
Even though some lads have been injured and missed a lot of time, they have been excellent around the group, making sure things didn’t slacken in training or games. That has helped a lot this year.
It is always easy to keep the lads who are playing happy, but keeping players who are injured or out of the side happy is more difficult.
We have been able to do that this year and the lads who have missed game-time this year are now all fit and ready to help us hopefully make one last massive push towards our league goal.