by Jamil Salih
FORMER Newport County assistant manager Dino Maamria returned to haunt the Exiles as his Oldham side ran out 1-0 winners at Rodney Parade.
Zak Mills’ strike on the stroke of half-time was enough to condemn the Exiles to their third successive League Two defeat.
The opening of the game was frantic and a well-worked Oldham free-kick straight from the training ground almost saw them ahead early on. But Newport goalkeeper Nick Townsend did well to push Filipe Morais’ strike past the post.
County’s first real chance of the afternoon came from Ryan Inniss, whose header from a deep corner forced Zeus De La Paz into action to keep the scores level.
Oldham repsonded by breaking the dead-lock in stoppage-time at the end of the first half. Townsend got down well to keep out the initial effort from Jonny Smith but Mills’ rebound proved to be too powerful for the Newport stopper, with the Latics heading into the interval one goal to the good.
Scot Bennett went close to getting the Exiles back into the game but De La Paz parried his 25-yard effort to safety.
County continued to knock on the door as the second half wore on but De La Paz was resolute and determined to keep a clean sheet.
Chances from Tristan Abrahams and substitute Matty Dolan were both spurned by the hosts late on as Maamria’s men held out to take all three points.
The result sees Newport – who now face three consecutive away fixtures – slip down to 11th place in the League Two table. They return to FA Cup action next Friday with a trip to Maldon & Tiptree.
Newport County: 30 Nick Townsend (GK), 3 Ryan Haynes, 4 Joss Labadie (C), 9 Padraig Amond, 11 Jamille Matt, 12 Danny McNamara, 15 Tristan Abrahams, 17 Scot Bennett, 20 Corey Whitely, 25 Mark O’Brien, 27 Ryan Inniss
Substitutes: 1 Tom King (GK), 5 Kyle Howkins, 8 Matty Dolan, 16 George Nurse, 22 Taylor Maloney, 24 Dominic Poleon, 29 Dominic Jefferies
Oldham Athletic: 20 Zeus De La Paz (GK), 2 Zak Mills, 3 Alex Iacovitti, 6 Jamie Stott, 8 Filipe Morais, 17 Christopher Missilou, 19 Desire Segbe Azankpo, 25 Chris McCann, 26 Jonny Smith, 31 David Wheater (C), 34 Tom Hamer
Substitutes: 1 Gary Woods (GK), 10 Mohammed Maouche, 16 Scott Wilson, 18 Dylan Fage, 24 Mohamad Sylla, 33 Chris Eagles, 53 Zak Emmerson