WE continued our unbeaten start to the season and extended our club record of 16 league games unbeaten (across two seasons) too with an excellent 2-0 victory away to our nearest rivals Forest Green Rovers at the weekend.
It was a comfortable victory for Newport in the end as our game-plan worked a treat from the first whistle. We had done a lot of homework on Forest Green Rovers during the week and we knew that one of their strengths were also a weakness. They play a very attractive brand of football, playing out from the back, but sometimes they overplay the ball, taking unnecessary risks.
We knew if we set a trap for them, especially their goalkeeper, we could take advantage and we did that on more than one occasion.
I didn’t think that the trap would work as quick as it did as we sucked the goalkeeper into making a mistake after four minutes and that allowed me to score the opening goal of the game and set us on our way to victory.
We caught the keeper out again in the middle of the first half and he was sent off for a last challenge which made our task a lot easier.
We controlled the rest of the game, but we didn’t confirm the three points until the final minute when our left back scored to make it 2-0.
It was a fully deserved victory and one that puts us up to second place in the league table. Even though it is very early in the season, it was important that we started the season really well to put the disappointment of losing in the play-off final to bed.
We have had a very tough run of fixtures (on paper) too and we have come out of it unbeaten and playing well. We also know we can improve, which is a positive.
It was a good victory to get back on track after losing to West Ham in the League Cup on Tuesday night. It was a game that could have been oh so different if I had scored from a good opportunity when the game was 0-0.
I was just concentrating on hitting the target from that distance instead of backing myself and putting my foot through the ball and the back of the net. It was a good performance from us though and it took a very strong West Ham side to beat us.
We are back in action Wednesday night again against West Ham but this time it is their U23 side in the EFL Trophy at home.
It will be a very different game than last week’s one against their first team and a very different attendance too. I’d imagine we will make a few changes to the starting XI from last Saturday’s game just to give some of the fringe players some game time, so that they are ready for action when they are called upon.
The competition isn’t what it used to be and they EFL have messed about with it quite a bit. A lot of teams don’t treat it as seriously as they used to until the later rounds but I’m sure we will put a team out that the manager believes can win.
On Saturday we are at home to Port Vale who have had a decent start to the season. Anytime I have played against them, home or away, has always been a tough game and I expect Saturday to be no different.
We will hopefully have a couple of lads back from injury to strengthen the squad, but we will have to do without Danny McNamara who is away with the Ireland U21 side for the next 10 days.
Going away with Ireland is a great opportunity for Danny and he has been asking me loads of questions this past week to try to prepare himself. He qualifies through his grandparents and he is desperate to play for us.
I hope it won’t be the last appearance he makes in a green shirt.