Tale of two halves at the Alexandra StadiumCrewe: Garratt, Turton, Ray, Nugent, Bakayogo, Jones, Bingham, Cooke (Cooper, 61), Wintle, Kiwomya (Ainley, 77), Bowery
Unused Subs: Dawber, Ng, Kirk, Dale, Finney
Goals: Cooke (22)
It was a tale of two halves at the Alexandra Stadium as Newport County staged a second half fight-back to battle for victory & continue to fight to preserve their EFL lives.
Crewe cruised through the opening 45, dominating exchanges & deservedly took the lead through Callum Cooke’s terrific effort from a fine move.
But The Exiles came out a different beast in the second period, putting waves & waves of pressure on the Crewe goal, deservedly drawing level through defender Dan Butler eight minutes into the half.
Crewe eventually got to grips with Newport’s added intensity & pushed for a winner themselves, but were caught out two minutes from time as old-stager Joss Ladabie steered in an opportunistic winner for the visitors.
Dave Artell went with an unchanged team from the side that triumphed at Portsmouth, with the addition of new goalkeeper Andy Dawber to the bench in place of the injured Dave Richards.
The Alex flew out of the traps, almost opening the scoring in just the third minute, Cooke teasing over a low cross to the near post where Jordan Bowery met it but could only scoop his first time shot over the bar.
Bowery was denied his first Crewe goal again in the 12th minute, Ollie Turton’s long diagonal was taken down well by Alex Kiwomya who teed up the big striker to fire a low left-footer towards the corner that was expertly saved by Exiles keeper Joe Day.
Continuing to bang on the door, Crewe were rewarded with the opener in the 22nd minute, and what a goal it was. Kiwomya received the ball on half-way & switched a diagonal to Ryan Wintle, he drove towards the edge of the box, & showed great composure to pick out Cooke arriving late into the box who finished low first time into the corner.
Frustrated, Newport put in several hefty challenges throughout the remainder of the half to stifle Crewe’s attacking threat as the Alex managed the clash into half-time with the advantage.
But that’s where the plain sailing ended. Newport emerged a completely different beast in the second period, getting at the throat of The Alex from the get-go.
They were rewarded with the equaliser just eight minutes into the half, left-back Butler coming onto a partially cleared ball to lash a low effort into the far corner past Ben Garratt.
Buoyed by the leveller, The Exiles kept up the high pressure, penning Crewe back inside their own half & should’ve took the lead on 59 minutes through Alex Samuel, but he flashed a header over the bar when unmarked from six-yards.
Five minutes later & the pressure continued with Butler almost scoring a carbon copy of his first, but this time his low drilled shot flew a couple of yards wide of Garratt’s post.
Crewe then re-gained a foothold in the contest, put together a spell of possession to stem the Newport tide as the game entered into somewhat of a lull.
It looked as though the game was heading for a draw, but Newport kept up the pressure & the experienced Ladabie popped up in the box with 88 minutes on the clock to take advantage of the missed clearance to fire a first-time shot low into the corner as The Exiles took home all three points.