League Two
Newport2Notts County1

Newport County 2-1 Notts County

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Newport hero Mark O'Brien: 'We pushed to the end'

Newport County pulled off an astonishing League Two relegation escape as they beat Notts County.

Despite being 11 points adrift in March, the Exiles instead condemned Hartlepool to the drop to the National League.

A late winner from Mark O'Brien kept Newport up on a dramatic final day.

The home side opened the scoring on 32 minutes when Mickey Demetriou fired home a penalty after Haydn Hollis tripped Lenell John-Lewis in the box.

The visitors levelled things when Jorge Grant prodded home on 61 minutes.

It was a tense, nervous encounter in front of a sell-out crowd at Rodney Parade, with Jon Stead shooting wide for the Magpies just five minutes in, before defender Demetriou, League Two's player of the month for April, made it four goals in his last seven outings from the spot.

Ryan Bird's long-range effort just missed its target and it proved costly as within a minute Grant found space in the box to level things.

But on 89 minutes O'Brien chested the ball down and fired home to spark scenes of wild celebration in south Wales.

Back from the brink

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It has been a season of ups and downs for Newport, who have languished towards the bottom of the League Two table for much of the campaign.

The Exiles were bottom of the EFLm with just one win from their first nine league matches when manager Warren Feeney was sacked in September and ex-Stevenage boss Graham Westley came in to replace him.

A initial upturn of form coincided with Westley's arrival as Newport went seven games unbeaten in all competitions, including three successive league wins, in October and November.

That unbeaten run ended, however, as they then went 12 games without a win from November into January.

Off the pitch, club secretary Graham Bean left in December after just three weeks, telling BBC Wales he "could not work" with Westley and days later the Newport boss was initially asked to leave an extraordinary post-match press conference before calling a journalist a "clown" in a heated interview.

The club eventually parted company with Westley on 9 March after their 4-0 defeat by Leyton Orient left them 11 points adrift of safety.

Club legend Mike Flynn, who had been brought back as a player by Westley, took over as manager, with Lennie Lawrence coming in as his assistant as the Exiles began their remarkable turnaround.

Flynn has won seven of his 12 games in charge and it proved enough to save the Welsh side in one of the most memorable survival fights ever in the EFL.

Line-ups

Newport

  • 1Day
  • 17Bennett
  • 25O'Brien
  • 28Demetriou
  • 18Pipe
  • 6LabadieBooked at 73mins
  • 8RandallSubstituted forRiggat 72'minutes
  • 20Owen-EvansSubstituted forWilliamsat 83'minutes
  • 3Butler
  • 40Bird
  • 10John-LewisSubstituted forJacksonat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Barnum-Bobb
  • 11Myrie-Williams
  • 13Jackson
  • 19Nelson
  • 27Rigg
  • 30Bittner
  • 41Williams

Notts County

  • 1Collin
  • 23Clackstone
  • 6Hollis
  • 5Duffy
  • 3DickinsonSubstituted forBolaat 58'minutes
  • 47HowesSubstituted forSmithat 58'minutesBooked at 77mins
  • 12Milsom
  • 18Hewitt
  • 17Grant
  • 30Stead
  • 9Ameobi

Substitutes

  • 4Smith
  • 14Campbell
  • 15Thompson
  • 16Bola
  • 24Campbell
  • 28Osborne
  • 35Searson
Referee:
Nigel Miller
Attendance:
7,326

Match Stats

Home TeamNewportAway TeamNotts County
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home10
Away10
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home0
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away8

Live Text

  1. Substitution

    Substitution, Newport County. Aaron Williams replaces Tom Owen-Evans.

  2. Post update

    Match ends, Newport County 2, Notts County 1.

  3. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Newport County 2, Notts County 1.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Josh Clackstone (Notts County) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

  5. Goal!

    Goal! Newport County 2, Notts County 1. Mark O'Brien (Newport County) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

  6. Post update

    Marc Bola (Notts County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Mickey Demetriou (Newport County).

  8. Post update

    Alan Smith (Notts County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Marlon Jackson (Newport County).

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sean Rigg (Newport County) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jon Stead (Notts County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

  12. Post update

    Delay in match Elliott Hewitt (Notts County) because of an injury.

  13. Booking

    Alan Smith (Notts County) is shown the yellow card.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Notts County. Conceded by Mark O'Brien.

  15. Booking

    Joss Labadie (Newport County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Marc Bola (Notts County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Joss Labadie (Newport County).

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Newport County. Sean Rigg replaces Mark Randall.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Newport County. Marlon Jackson replaces Lenell John-Lewis.

  20. Post update

    Marc Bola (Notts County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Portsmouth462691179403987
2Plymouth462691171462587
3Doncaster4625101185553085
4Luton462017970432777
5Exeter462181775561971
6Carlisle461817116968171
7Blackpool4618161269462370
8Colchester4619121567571069
9Wycombe461912155853569
10Stevenage46207196763467
11Cambridge46199185850866
12Mansfield461715145450466
13Accrington461714155956365
14Grimsby461711185963-462
15Barnet461415175764-757
16Notts County46168225476-2256
17Crewe461413195867-955
18Morecambe461410225373-2052
19Crawley461312215371-1851
20Yeovil461117184964-1550
21Cheltenham461214204969-2050
22Newport461212225173-2248
23Hartlepool461113225475-2146
24Leyton Orient46106304787-4036
View full League Two table

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