Newport County 3 (Howe 45+1, Burge 70, Zebroski 82), Oxford United 2 (Constable 14, Potter 87) + Video

Witney Gazette: James Constable fires Oxford United into an early lead at Newport tonight James Constable fires Oxford United into an early lead at Newport tonight

A PAIR of former Oxford United players were on target as a fired-up Newport County brought an end to the last remaining unbeaten away record in English league football.

Ryan Burge and Chris Zebroski struck in the final 20 minutes to inflict United's first defeat on their travels in Sky Bet League Two since April 1 - a remarkable 16 games.

On the balance of play Newport were worthy winners, but they had to come from behind after James Constable's superb early finish.

United absorbed plenty of pressure, but Newport found an equaliser in first-half stoppage time through Rene Howe.

A sublime free-kick from Burge and an awful defensive mix-up from which Zebroski profited put County on top, before Alfie Potter's late goal gave them cause for concern.

The United team sheet showed one change from the side which started Saturday's 3-0 win over Mansfield.

Josh Ruffels came into replace David Connolly as Mickey Lewis reverted back to a 4-4-2.

Pitch problems at Rodney Parade had postponed six of Newport's previous seven games and they began like a side in a hurry to make up for lost time.

Backed by a vociferous crowd they dominated the first half, with United only able to launch occasional forays forward.

Zebroski, one of three ex-United players in the County side, had the first chance after a smart lay-off from Howe. Ryan Clarke was alert to the danger, though, and ran out to smother the shot.

United had barely strung two passes together when they took a surprise lead on 14 minutes.

Dave Kitson found some space and crossed for Constable, who expertly controlled the ball and swivelled to bury a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Elliott Parish.

It was a stunning counter punch after being on the back foot, but County carried on regardless.

Clarke quickly had to tip over a header from Ismail Yakubu at a corner.

Despite the lead, United still had no real foothold in the game. James Constable was often their only real outlet and if the ball forward to him was not right, County were able to start another attack.

The playing surface was a concern in patches and ground staff even worked on it when play was stopped while Deane Smalley received treatment.

The visitors dealt with the pressure well, until first-half stoppage time.

Andy Sandell got forward and his cross from the left was only cleared to the edge of the box, where Minshull's shot was deflected by Howe past a wrong-footed Clarke.

Lewis's response at the break was to bring on Potter for Danny Rose and switching to a 4-2-3-1 system.

It did little to alter the flow of the game and Adam Chapman, another U's old boy, came within inches of a fine volleyed goal from 20 yards on 54 minutes.

Chapman was involved again on the hour, going in hard on Tom Newey, who reacted angrily. Both were booked, but it was more costly for the United defender - his tenth of the season, it means a two-game suspension.

Still Newport pressed and with 20 minutes remaining Burge put them ahead. Ruffles fouled Howe on the right corner of the area and Burge curled a shot into the far corner.

Lewis brought on Connolly for Matt Bevans with his final roll of the dice, reverting to a back three in the process.

Their hopes were dealt a calamitous blow on 82 minutes, when a breakdown in communication saw Johnny Mullins play a back pass past Clarke and gifted Zebroski the easiest of tap-ins.

The game looked over, but with three minutes of normal time remaining Potter poached a goal from close range.

It set up a frantic finish but United could not conjure a clear opening as their long away run was finally halted.

Oxford Utd (4-4-2): Clarke, Bevans, Hunt, Mullins, Newey, Smalley, Wroe, Rose, Ruffels, Kitson, Constable.

Subs used: Potter (Wroe ht), Williams (Kitson 58), Connolly (Bevans 75).

Unused subs: Henly, Long, Davies, Ashby.

Booked: Newey.

Newport (5-3-2): Parish, Pipe, Anthony, Yakubu, Sandell, Willmott, Minshull, Chapman (Porter 85), Burge, Zebroski (Jeffers 85), Howe.

Unused subs: Thompson, Crow, Jackson, Naylor, Jolley.

Booked: Chapman.

Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).

Attendance: 3,757 (523 visitors).

Comments (13)

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9:56pm Tue 18 Feb 14

YellowRose says...

But Alfie is back!
But Alfie is back! YellowRose

10:44pm Tue 18 Feb 14

87oufc says...

We were clueless tonight but made worse by Newport wanting to just play football and it was better to watch than Oxford trying to put two passes together.
I see we resorted to 118-118 and hoofing the ball straight up which more often than not resulted in opposition possession.
When we did pass the ball, Kitson set up Constable to score!?!?
Newport were really really up for the match and could have been 5-6 up with the amount of times they were within shooting distance. Thank god they continuously out passed their possession in our box, one look up and they could have scored.
I'd say the requirement for a new manager is of urgency.
Even Micky acknowledge that we didn't deserve a result. Newport are a threat and considering they still have about 3 games in hand.
We were clueless tonight but made worse by Newport wanting to just play football and it was better to watch than Oxford trying to put two passes together. I see we resorted to 118-118 and hoofing the ball straight up which more often than not resulted in opposition possession. When we did pass the ball, Kitson set up Constable to score!?!? Newport were really really up for the match and could have been 5-6 up with the amount of times they were within shooting distance. Thank god they continuously out passed their possession in our box, one look up and they could have scored. I'd say the requirement for a new manager is of urgency. Even Micky acknowledge that we didn't deserve a result. Newport are a threat and considering they still have about 3 games in hand. 87oufc

12:25am Wed 19 Feb 14

Eraser says...

I was there tonight - I thought CW was back! ML had no idea how best to change things even with a strong bench. Resorted to putting Potter in central midfield and when our tallest player Kitson went off we continued to lump the ball forward and lo and behold it wouldn't stick - well we couldn't even win the ball in the air.
Newport wanted it more and yet again Clarkey kept the score respectable,

Only positive - we are unbeaten away in England! Glad that monkey is off our back now. I think the team were trying not to lose recently rather than try and win.

Onwards and upwards...
I was there tonight - I thought CW was back! ML had no idea how best to change things even with a strong bench. Resorted to putting Potter in central midfield and when our tallest player Kitson went off we continued to lump the ball forward and lo and behold it wouldn't stick - well we couldn't even win the ball in the air. Newport wanted it more and yet again Clarkey kept the score respectable, Only positive - we are unbeaten away in England! Glad that monkey is off our back now. I think the team were trying not to lose recently rather than try and win. Onwards and upwards... Eraser

12:27am Wed 19 Feb 14

Eraser says...

PS - disappointed we had to be 3-1 down before we even attempted to up our game.
PS - disappointed we had to be 3-1 down before we even attempted to up our game. Eraser

12:33am Wed 19 Feb 14

dorsetyellows says...

Oxford were the masters of their own downfall with the countless number of times we gifted the ball straight back to newport, even when not under pressure, but credit to newport for their good passing and flowing football.
Was kitson injured as he just wasn't up for it tonight . Need more from our midfield in the key games coming up. Adam chapman looks like a different
Player under justin edinburgh. The great run away had to end sometime, let's put this behind us and move forward .COYY.
Oxford were the masters of their own downfall with the countless number of times we gifted the ball straight back to newport, even when not under pressure, but credit to newport for their good passing and flowing football. Was kitson injured as he just wasn't up for it tonight . Need more from our midfield in the key games coming up. Adam chapman looks like a different Player under justin edinburgh. The great run away had to end sometime, let's put this behind us and move forward .COYY. dorsetyellows

1:10am Wed 19 Feb 14

Bis4badger says...

Now the monkey has gone, we can start to push for win rather than try to protect the away record.

Sat in the ground beforehand and it brought back bad memories of the non- league grounds from yesteryear.
Not trying to make excuses but there were various dead parts of the pitch where the ball wouldn't bounce, Clarky nearly got caughtout with a through ball that rolled rather than bounced, and with the amount of sand they laid it was worse than the Kass. Which has to raise the question why the ref gave it the green light, amazed me that they were working on the pitch during stops in play, which is a first for me!!

That said, we scored 2 they scored 3.

Last point! Couldn't believe the amount of fouls that went unpunish with nothing more the a freekick, and that goes for both side. Would have made an exciting climax if Howe had have been given a second yellow for kicking the ball away twice after he had conceeded a foul and been booked for the first occurance.
Now the monkey has gone, we can start to push for win rather than try to protect the away record. Sat in the ground beforehand and it brought back bad memories of the non- league grounds from yesteryear. Not trying to make excuses but there were various dead parts of the pitch where the ball wouldn't bounce, Clarky nearly got caughtout with a through ball that rolled rather than bounced, and with the amount of sand they laid it was worse than the Kass. Which has to raise the question why the ref gave it the green light, amazed me that they were working on the pitch during stops in play, which is a first for me!! That said, we scored 2 they scored 3. Last point! Couldn't believe the amount of fouls that went unpunish with nothing more the a freekick, and that goes for both side. Would have made an exciting climax if Howe had have been given a second yellow for kicking the ball away twice after he had conceeded a foul and been booked for the first occurance. Bis4badger

7:17am Wed 19 Feb 14

adlibber says...

Lewis is not the man to get us promoted. Lenagan is taking a huge gamble keeping him in post. Lewis is Wilder MkII clueless when plan A falls over. I think we'll be lucky to stay in play offs. If Newport win their games in hand whoever slips up now will drop out of play off spot. I sincerely hope it isn't us.

Points dropped in draws against lower teams could cost us dearly in the run in.
Lewis is not the man to get us promoted. Lenagan is taking a huge gamble keeping him in post. Lewis is Wilder MkII clueless when plan A falls over. I think we'll be lucky to stay in play offs. If Newport win their games in hand whoever slips up now will drop out of play off spot. I sincerely hope it isn't us. Points dropped in draws against lower teams could cost us dearly in the run in. adlibber

8:12am Wed 19 Feb 14

1willowsj says...

adlibber wrote:
Lewis is not the man to get us promoted. Lenagan is taking a huge gamble keeping him in post. Lewis is Wilder MkII clueless when plan A falls over. I think we'll be lucky to stay in play offs. If Newport win their games in hand whoever slips up now will drop out of play off spot. I sincerely hope it isn't us.

Points dropped in draws against lower teams could cost us dearly in the run in.
I think that's a very good point!

Losing away against a team a couple of places below us, whom also have a very good home record isn't the end of the world, and I would say these sorts of results are inevitable throughout a 46 game season.

HOWEVER, consistently dropping points (usually 2) against teams below us in the bottom half of the league is where we have to point the finger!

Exeter, Bristol Rovers, York, Pompey, Accy, etc..

Our season will not be defined by last night's result. I just hope we can bounce back on Saturday before a massive month of March. THAT will define our season.
[quote][p][bold]adlibber[/bold] wrote: Lewis is not the man to get us promoted. Lenagan is taking a huge gamble keeping him in post. Lewis is Wilder MkII clueless when plan A falls over. I think we'll be lucky to stay in play offs. If Newport win their games in hand whoever slips up now will drop out of play off spot. I sincerely hope it isn't us. Points dropped in draws against lower teams could cost us dearly in the run in.[/p][/quote]I think that's a very good point! Losing away against a team a couple of places below us, whom also have a very good home record isn't the end of the world, and I would say these sorts of results are inevitable throughout a 46 game season. HOWEVER, consistently dropping points (usually 2) against teams below us in the bottom half of the league is where we have to point the finger! Exeter, Bristol Rovers, York, Pompey, Accy, etc.. Our season will not be defined by last night's result. I just hope we can bounce back on Saturday before a massive month of March. THAT will define our season. 1willowsj

9:24am Wed 19 Feb 14

BigAlBiker says...

I'm afraid Mickey Lewis is a Wilder clone, i have said and will say it again we need a youthful energetic manager with a team around him who can motivate and encourage.

This was a setback, we can improve and win again this Saturday.
I'm afraid Mickey Lewis is a Wilder clone, i have said and will say it again we need a youthful energetic manager with a team around him who can motivate and encourage. This was a setback, we can improve and win again this Saturday. BigAlBiker

9:29am Wed 19 Feb 14

Richard Wickson says...

We were always second best last night, Newport were more up for it than we were and the old OU boys were even more up for it, surprised there wasn't a sending off but the ref was weak, notf that that made the difference between us losing or winning. Lumping the ball forward isn't the way we have won games, the goal we got came from just about our only forward passing move. The away record has gone. Now to re-build and win every home game, we have some tough games to come and mad March that will define our season. Go for it, play football and get promoted.
We were always second best last night, Newport were more up for it than we were and the old OU boys were even more up for it, surprised there wasn't a sending off but the ref was weak, notf that that made the difference between us losing or winning. Lumping the ball forward isn't the way we have won games, the goal we got came from just about our only forward passing move. The away record has gone. Now to re-build and win every home game, we have some tough games to come and mad March that will define our season. Go for it, play football and get promoted. Richard Wickson

3:46pm Wed 19 Feb 14

william12 says...

We have not been playing well but have still taken points off of teams.Maybe this is a wake up call.Top teams to play home and away will be as hard as the strugglers at the bottom.Plenty of twists in this division yet , On the day there is not a lot between the teams as results show.We should at worst make the play offs.The away record has gone which may be a good thing perhaps the team will be more relaxed without that added pressure of not losing instead of going for a win.
We have not been playing well but have still taken points off of teams.Maybe this is a wake up call.Top teams to play home and away will be as hard as the strugglers at the bottom.Plenty of twists in this division yet , On the day there is not a lot between the teams as results show.We should at worst make the play offs.The away record has gone which may be a good thing perhaps the team will be more relaxed without that added pressure of not losing instead of going for a win. william12

3:57pm Wed 19 Feb 14

BenkiuGuasu says...

It was a great effort from the players and management team to stay unbeaten away for so long.

Of course it is disappointing to lose. The equaliser came at a bad time obviously.

But well done to all involved (including away support) for keeping it up for so long.

Automatic promotion is still in our hands. Build it up with yellow and blue!!!!!!!!!!!
It was a great effort from the players and management team to stay unbeaten away for so long. Of course it is disappointing to lose. The equaliser came at a bad time obviously. But well done to all involved (including away support) for keeping it up for so long. Automatic promotion is still in our hands. Build it up with yellow and blue!!!!!!!!!!! BenkiuGuasu

9:17pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Eraser says...

BenkiuGuasu wrote:
It was a great effort from the players and management team to stay unbeaten away for so long.

Of course it is disappointing to lose. The equaliser came at a bad time obviously.

But well done to all involved (including away support) for keeping it up for so long.

Automatic promotion is still in our hands. Build it up with yellow and blue!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately it isn't - IF the teams with games in hand win them we're 6th. So we are relying on others to slip up even if we keep winning. I do expect us to make the play-offs as THAT IS in our hands....
[quote][p][bold]BenkiuGuasu[/bold] wrote: It was a great effort from the players and management team to stay unbeaten away for so long. Of course it is disappointing to lose. The equaliser came at a bad time obviously. But well done to all involved (including away support) for keeping it up for so long. Automatic promotion is still in our hands. Build it up with yellow and blue!!!!!!!!!!![/p][/quote]Unfortunately it isn't - IF the teams with games in hand win them we're 6th. So we are relying on others to slip up even if we keep winning. I do expect us to make the play-offs as THAT IS in our hands.... Eraser

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