5 April 2021

Newport County vs Bolton Wanderers

The latest stop on our virtual League 2 tour meant we were heading to South Wales to face the Exiles from Newport County. They have been arguably the best team to come to the Unibol this season and they were leaders for most of the first half of the season. Their form has dipped since the turn of the year, but a tough game was still in prospect. More than ever for we fans, it was a case of “Wish we were there” rather than the normal holiday postcard “Wish you were here”.
Hoping to put Good Friday’s disappointing draw behind us, Ian Evatt brought back George Thomason and Lloyd Isgrove to replace Dapo Afolayan and Arthur Gnahoua. It was nearly a sensational start as both teams tore into one another and Eoin Doyle crashed one against the bar and Matt Gilks pulled off a couple of good saves. As the half progressed, Bolton got well on top, playing some superb football at times, creating chances galore. We should have been out of sight by half time, but we could not get the all-important goal. This came back to bite us in the second half as Newport picked up and ex-Bury favourite, Nicky Maynard fired home after another good save from Matt Gilks. Sometimes you do not always get what you deserve in football. Certainly, we have played worse and won matches this season. But if you do not score in a match, then you are not going to win, no matter how well you play.
The fantastic unbeaten run is over and all talk of unbeaten runs should be banished to the past, as should this result. We have now got a mini-league of seven matches, seven separate challenges to overcome. All thoughts should now focus on beating Harrogate Town on Saturday. There are going to be twists and turns with every set of results as the matches are played. That is what football is all about. League 2 is arguably the most competitive league in England with up to a dozen clubs realistically still involved in the battle for automatic promotion or play-off places. The best thing is that we are right up there in the mix, something which was beyond our wildest dreams as late as January. We need to keep the performances going, get the vital goals and then together we can and will do this.