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Report: Newport 2-0 Blues

12 April 2014

Second-half goals from Christian Jolley and Chris Zebroski saw Chairboys lose 2-0 at Newport County.

The first half was fairly even with Nick Arnold’s drive, which was cleared off the line, the closest either side came.

However, the hosts upped the tempo after the break and went on to secure a deserved three points.

Gareth Ainsworth made one change to his side with Marvin McCoy replacing the injured Matt Bloomfield.  Leon Johnson was back in the squad following a hamstring injury, while Sam Togwell returned to Chesterfield earlier in the week after the Spireites had activated a recall clause in his loan deal.

Wanderers started well and only a fine piece of last-ditch defending from Darcy Blake prevented them from taking a seventh-minute lead.

Clever play down the left found Matt McClure and he lifted the ball over a defender’s head to Nick Arnold, who steadied himself before beating Ian McLoughlin, only for Blake to slide in and superbly divert the ball away.

Early set-pieces caused the home sides problems, but their first chance came from a free-kick of their own when Rene Howe glanced a header wide in the 16th minute.

Newport grew into the contest and Matt Ingram came to Blues’ rescue six minutes later when he narrowed the angle before brilliantly turning away Christian Jolley’s strike and then gathering the rebound.

McLoughlin made a superb stop of his own in the 32nd minute when he dived full-length to his right to tip over Steven Craig’s close-range header from Arnold’s inswinging free-kick.

The hosts responded almost immediately and Max Porter curled over the bar after Chairboys failed to clear their lines.

Howe should have done better six minutes from the break. A ball over the top saw the striker beat the offside trap, but his first touch was poor and Pierre recovered to clear.

Blues finished the half the stronger of the sides, but there were no further chances as neither side could make the breakthrough in an entertaining opening 45 minutes.

Half-time: Newport 0-0 Wycombe

The hosts were fast out of the traps after the break, taking the game to Ainsworth’s men, and Lee Minshull was causing problems in the Wanderers area with his height. It was the midfielder who had the first chance of the second period, but his first-time effort was well over from six yards after Rowe’s clearance had fallen to him.

Blues’ first attack in the second half almost saw them take the lead in the 54th minute. Lewis’ header found Kretzschmar who in turn set-up Arnold on the right. The Reading loanee’s cross evaded McLoughlin, but the home side somehow scrambled clear with Lewis lurking for a tap-in.

Ainsworth was forced into his first change a minute later as Dean Morgan was introduced for Kretzschmar, who had taken a knock. Mike Flynn’s stinging 25-yard drive was then straight at Ingram as Newport continued to press.

The hosts’ pressure eventually told in the 65th minute when Ryan Jackson’s long throw was flicked on and Jolley made no mistake from little more than two yards as Chairboys failed to clear their lines.

Jo Kuffour replaced Craig five minutes later, but Newport added a second in the 71st minute. A ball over the top released Chris Zebroski and the former Wycombe man powered an effort past Ingram from 10 yards, giving the keeper no chance.

Howe clipped the top of the bar after attempting to curl into the far corner, before Ainsworth made his final change 14 minutes from time as Anthony Jeffrey took the place of Arnold.

Kuffour had two chances in quick succession late on, but he couldn’t get enough purchase on either as McLoughlin’s goal remained unchallenged in the second half.

County: McLoughlin, Jackson, Sandell, Feely, Blake, Flynn (c), Porter, Minshull, Zebroski, Jolley, Howe (Willmott 85).
Subs: Pidgeley, Hughes, Pipe, Burge, Naylor, Willmott, Jeffers

Wanderers: Ingram, McCoy, Wood, Pierre, Rowe, Arnold (Jeffrey 76), Lewis (c), Scowen, Kretzschmar (Morgan 56), McClure, Craig (Kuffour 70).
Subs: Horlock, Johnson, Jeffrey, Pittman, Morgan, Kuffour, Styche.

Attendance: 2,838

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