Monday, 23 November 2009

Exiles march on in FA Trophy

NEWPORT COUNTY squeezed themselves into the first round proper of the FA Trophy with a narrow 2-1 win over Braintree Town at Spytty Park.

The game was played in miserable conditions but County made the best of them, building a two-goal first-half lead with the wind at their backs. The second-half was always going to be a test, but the Exiles held on to progress.

With quality football at a premium it was two set piece goals that put
County into Monday’s draw, when teams from the Blue Square Premier enter the competition.

The opening goal, midway through the first-half, was fortuitous. Kerry Morgan swung a free-kick from the left into a crowded penalty area and the inswinging delivery completely deceived Braintree goalkeeper Dave Blackmore to curl into the bottom right-hand corner.

It wasn't long before Morgan turned provider with another free-kick from the left. He floated the ball into the penalty area where Dave Gilroy - returning from a profitable loan spell with Weston-super-mare - rose well to place a glancing header into the bottom-right hand corner from six yards.

However, County were made to battle for their victory as Braintree used their turn with the wind behind them to pile on the pressure throughout the second-half. An early goal for the visitors was the last thing
County needed, but they failed to deal with a long throw-in from the right and George Purcell slid in to finish with a firm left-footed drive.

The home fans’ nerves reflected their side’s backs-to-the-wall performance as the game went on.
County were defending deeper and inviting the visitors forward But Braintree lacked the incisiveness to profit and despite several shots couldn't find the equaliser.

By Alex Winter


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