FT: Imps 2 Newport 4

Match report...

There were three changes to the side for this Blue Square Bet Premier game against Newport County AFC at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium. Chris Bush came in for his full debut at left-back with Paul Robson moving to the right and Tom Miller into the middle. Jake Sheridan returned from illness and Colin Larkin also began with Nicky Nicolau and Conner Robinson dropping to the bench.

A distinct chill was in the air as referee Darren Handley led the two teams out of the tunnel and it was the Imps who got the game underway attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand.

City were the first to press with Newport keeper Alan Julian forced to claim a second minute long throw whilst Newport's response saw Andrew Boyce fail to get his foot on a forward ball but Aaron O'Connor dragged his shot well wide from a narrowing angle.

Some initial hesitancy from Bush almost gave Christian Jolley a sight of goal but the Gateshead loanee did well in the end to get the ball under control and clear his lines whilst at the other end another Gray throw was headed over by Boyce at full stretch.

Jamie Taylor was then spoken to by referee Handley as he blocked a Newport free-kick. The striker then went on a jinking run into the box only for Tony James to stand firm and deny him a sight of goal.

The first corner of the game came in the 12th minute with Newport the recipients and when the ball was half-cleared, Max Porter let fly only for Paul Farman to fling himself to his right to palm the midfielder's volley away.

A foul on Sheridan saw Alan Power pick out Vadaine Oliver at the back post only for the striker to head over whilst a couple of minutes later the best move of the game ended with Taylor drilling goalwards only to be denied by a fine Alan Julian save.

Newport's response to this scare was instant as, when the visitors pressed forward themselves, top scorer O'Connor got the ball under control and fizzed in a powerful drive which flew past Farman's right glove, with a slight deflection the 'keeper's undoing.

Shortly after the restart Colin Larkin tested Julian with a 25-yard effort before the Imps won their first corner when a cross from the overlapping Paul Robson was headed behind. This corner immediately led to another which was headed well over by Oliver.

The game entered a pretty scrappy period of play before Lee Evans was cautioned for a late tackle on Power in the 32nd minute. Miller was then left grounded following an aerial challenge by Jolley but was able to resume his duties following treatment from Kev Oxby.

Having gifted Southport goals during their midweek match, the Imps also handed Newport a second in the 37th minute when a stray pass from Robson fell straight to O'Connor who said thank you, advanced forward past Boyce and drilled low past Farman for his second of the half.

A couple of minutes later Porter picked out Robbie Willmott with a ball over the top and the winger got in on the action, chesting the ball forward before volleying powerfully past Farman to extend his side's advantage to three goals.

Oliver needed treatment shortly after the restart but when he returned he did so in style when, after a decent piece of link-up play down the right between Taylor and Power saw the latter whip in a centre and there was Oliver to head firmly past Julian for his second goal of the week.

Three added minutes was indicated by the Fourth Official and any hopes of the Imps getting further back into the game were dashed midway through when Evans picked out Jolley with a ball over the top, he rounded the advancing Farman before squaring for Willmott to slot home the easiest goal of his career from a foot out.

HT: Imps 1 Newport 4

Both sides made changes ahead of the second half with Lee Minshull replacing Max Porter for the visitors before Nicky Nicolau and Conner Robinson came on for Paul Robson and Andrew Boyce for the Imps. The double City switch saw Nicolau go into midfield with Gray dropping into central defence whilst Sheridan dropped back to right-back with Robinson in front of him.

Nicolau was quickly in the action, crossing only for the ball to crash against the arm of a defender. The free-kick was cleared back to taker Power who saw his follow up cross find Larkin whose effort was blocked for an unproductive corner.

City kept up the pressure and when a Gray throw-in caused more problems for the Newport defence, Bush saw his neat lob beat Julian only for the ball to crash against the crossbar before being hacked away. Oliver then headed over before Pipe required treatment after colliding with 'keeper Julian.

Bush then set up Larkin who prodded over as the Imps continued to put their visitors on the back foot whilst from Newport's first foray forward after the restart was halted when Power bundled over Minshull for a free-kick and a caution. Michael Flynn saw his free-kick clip the City wall before going behind for a corner.

Another County corner followed a couple of minutes later, with this followed by a City one but both came to nothing. Farman then got in a good block save to deny Jolley after a swift Newport counter-attack ended up with Willmott playing in his team mate.

With the game now in its final quarter, Power needed treatment after coming off worst in a challenge which he was penalised for a foul for. When he returned he was involved in a move which ended up with Sheridan sending in a curling cross which just evaded a team mate.

Oliver was then denied a sight of goal after he was blocked off by Pipe who was booked for his troubles and when the free-kick was taken Robinson had a shot charged down before winning a corner. The flag-kick led to a second City goal as when Nicolau picked out Robinson, he squared for Bush to drill home powerfully.

Before play restarted Danny Crow replaced Lee Evans for the visitors and as City pushed for a third Larkin saw his cross to Oliver intercepted by Julian.

With five minutes of normal time remaining Ben Swallow replaced Robbie Willmott for Newport as they looked to wind down the clock. Oliver then needed treatment after taking a knock to the head.

Jolley was booked for a foul on Power before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of five minutes were to be added on and in the second of these Oliver was harshly cautioned after appearing to win a header in a challenge with Hughes.

City continued to attack with Sheridan having a couple of shots blocked but the damage sustained in the first half proved to be City's undoing with the second successive game finishing in a 4-2 reverse.

Referee Handley had the final say, however, speaking to both a ball boy and Bush following the use of a towel as the City defender prepared to take a throw in.

FT: Imps 2 Newport 4

City: Paul Farman, Paul Robson, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, Chris Bush, Dan Gray, Alan Power, Jake Sheridan, Colin Larkin, Jamie Taylor, Vadaine Oliver.

subs: Conal Platt, Nicky Nicolau (for Robson h/t), Bradley Barraclough, Conner Robinson (for Boyce h/t), David Preece.

goals: Oliver (44), Bush (78)

bookings: Power (60), Oliver (90+2)

Newport: Alan Julian, David Pipe, Tony James, Andrew Hughes, Andy Sandell, Max Porter, Lee Evans, Michael Flynn, Robbie Willmott, Christian Jolley, Aaron O’Connor.

subs: Lee Minshull (for Porter h/t), Danny Crow (for Evans 78), Ben Swallow (for Willmott 85), Byron Anthony, Lenny Pidgeley.

goals: O'Connor (22, 37), Willmott (40, 45+3)

bookings: Evans (32), Pipe (76), Jolley (90)

Referee: Darren Handley
Assistants: James Mainwaring & Thomas Bramall
Fourth Official: Craig Grundy

Attendance:1,970 (126 visiting supporters)