by Tom Young
SALFORD City ‘keeper Mark Howard’s penalty save ten minutes from time proved to be the difference as Newport County fell to a 2-1 defeat.
It was a tense opening quarter, with the hosts having the better of the early exchanges without fashioning any real chance on goal, and Salford seemingly happy to absorb the early pressure.
Newport had a great chance to open the scoring after 25 minutes, a ball towards the back post was met by Padraig Amond, who with the goal at his mercy, headed wide.
The chance sprung the visitors into action and they had a good opportunity to take the lead five minutes from the break as the ball fell to Jake Jervis. His cross found Richard Towell, but his deflected effort spun agonisingly wide of the post.
However, they didn’t make the same mistake again as they capitalised on the resulting corner. It was Craig Conway with the in-swinging ball which found the head of Cameron Burgess, who powered his header into the ground and past the helpless Tom King.
In the sodden conditions it was set pieces which looked the most likely route to a goal for both sides and the hosts grabbed a deserved equaliser in first half-stoppage time from a corner of their own.
Matty Dolan with the ball in towards the back post, which was turned into his own net by Nathan Pond, under pressure from Ryan Inniss.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with County seeing more of the ball but unable to fashion any real chances.
An Amond ball in from the right hand side narrowly missed the head of Jamille Matt as the Exiles looked to put themselves ahead for the first time.
Despite County’s efforts, it was Salford who once again took the lead after 53 minutes through Lois Maynard
The visitors were awarded a free kick right on the edge of County’s box, which was delivered by the influential Conway. His ball found the head of Adam Rooney, whose header cannoned back off the bar but Maynard was quickest to react, heading home to give Salford the lead once again.
It becoming a feisty affair, with the County faithful beginning to lose patience as the clock ticked down.
Michael Flynn’s men had a huge chance to equalise after 77 minutes, as second half substitute Tristan Abrahams laid the ball off to Josh Sheehan on the edge of the box, but his low effort cannoned back off the right post with Howard stranded.
Two minutes later referee Will Finnie pointed to the spot and awarded the hosts a penalty after Richard Howell was adjudged to have brought down Corey Whitely.
Abrahams stepped up however his weak shot down the centre of the goal was comfortably saved by Howard to keep his side in front.
Country threw everything at Salford in the last ten minutes, but they couldn’t find the breakthrough as the visitors left with all three points.