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REPORT | Rovers 0 Newport County 1

13 January 2024

Club News

REPORT | Rovers 0 Newport County 1

13 January 2024

Rovers were hit with an injury time sucker punch as they fell to a narrow defeat against Newport County.

The better of the chances had come from the hosts at the Eco-Power Stadium in what was a largely tame affair.

But Exiles substitute Seb Palmer-Houlden netted three minutes into added time to snatch the win for the visitors.

Grant McCann handed debuts to Jay McGrath, Billy Waters and Matthew Craig as part of five changes to the side that started the previous week. George Broadbent and Tom Nixon also came into the starting XI while Jon Taylor returned among the substitutes.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the possession in the early stages and Will Evans saw a volley deflect wide after showing superb control off the chest.

Rovers grew into the game and began to move the ball well into advanced areas. Ben Close dinked the ball into the near post where Waters connected with a diving header to draw a save from Newport keeper Nick Townsend.

Joe Ironside saw an effort blocked from close range after George Broadbent knocked the ball back across goal from a Close cross.

And Luke Molyneux was denied with a fine save by Townsend after powering an angled drive on goal as he cut inside from the right.

On the stroke of half time, Ironside drew another good reaction block from the Newport keeper as he pounced onto a free kick that was tossed around the box.

Waters did well to bring the ball under control in the box early in the second half only for his shot to deflect into the waiting arms of Townsend.

And Louis Jones reacted well in similar circumstances at the other end when a James Waite cross kicked up towards the near post.

Evans drilled the ball into the side-netting after meeting a floated diagonal ball at the far post.

Chances proved hard to come by for both sides for long periods in the second half.

But Rovers were millimetres away from taking the lead on 77 minutes when Ironside chested a high ball into the box and cracked a volley which deflected off Townsend onto the crossbar.

Kyle Hurst raced forward on a rapid counterattack but could only poke a shot straight at Townsend from the edge of the box.

The game looked to be heading to a stalemate until Palmer-Houlden met a Lewis Payne cross in the middle of the box and side-foot a volley home.

Rovers: Jones, Nixon, Bailey, McGrath, Rowe, Broadbent (Biggins 65), Craig (Carty 88), Close, Ironside, Molyneux (Taylor 90+1), Waters (Hurst 88). Subs not used: Bottomley, Olowu, Faulkner.

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