Crewe: Jaaskelainen, Ng (c), Hunt, Lancashire, Nolan, Wintle, Green, Lowery, Powell, Kirk, Porter
Unused Subs: Richards, Jones, Ainley, Finney, Anene, Dale, Abebisi
Attendance: 3,712 (230 Crewe)
Padraig Amond hit a smash-and-grab winner for Newport County three minutes into added time as the Alex fell to a 1-0 defeat to the Exiles.
It was a victory scarcely deserved by the home side. Although they defended well, Crewe controlled proceedings, particularly in the second half, with goalkeeper Tom King making two or three fine saves.
David Artell was forced into one change to the starting XI that won at Crawley Town in midweek, Olly Lancashire returning from suspension to take the place of the injured Harry Pickering (hip).
The defensive reshuffle saw Nicky Hunt move over into the left-back position with Eddie Nolan & Lancashire in the centre.
New signing Chuma Anene started on the bench after being given clearance to be named in the matchday 18 for the first time.
It was a first half of very few chances at Rodney Parade, Corey Whitely having the best opening for the home side, with Charlie Kirk testing Exiles goalkeeper Tom King in stoppage time – the only shot on target for either side.
As expected, Newport came flying out of the traps with the backing of the vocal & raucous home crowd & put pressure on the Alex with several crosses & balls from deep pumped into the box.
But The Alex stood firm against the pressure & began to insert their own presence on the game 15 minutes in, playing some neat interchanges down the right hand side with Dan Powell, Tommy Lowery & Perry Ng.
The first attempt of any note came on the 40 minute mark, Paul Green receiving Charlie Kirk’s low pass inside the box & swivelling to shoot – but his lobbed attempt landed on the roof of the net.
Suddenly, chances were coming & Newport had their first two minutes later – and what a good chance it was.
Padraig Amond’s deep cross from the left saw Corey Whitely steal ahead of his marker to bullet a header goalwards – but it flew just wide of the post with Will Jaaskelainen rooted.
The final action of the first period came in added on time & produced the first shot on target of the match – Kirk quickly on the half-turn from 18-yards to shoot with Tom King getting down low to his right to palm away the drive.
The second half continued in the same vain as the first with the intense heat perhaps playing an ever great part.
That said, it was Crewe who seemed to create the better chances, Kirk having a 61st minute header saved well by King to his left & superb build-up play & angled cross by Ryan Wintle.
Such was the Bank Holiday temperatures, the players stopped for a drinks break just shy of the 70 minute mark in what continued to be a tactical battle between the sides.
As the game wore on, Crewe saw more & more of the ball, claiming a lions share in fact, & had the Exiles penned back – if not actually testing the opposition goal often enough.
But as the clock moved towards 90, the hosts found a new lease of life & Jaaskelainen saved well from George Nurse after a fast break.
That proved foil for what was to happen next when another Crewe attack broke down & Tristan Abrahams got in behind the Alex defence. Jaaskelainen narrowed the angle to block his potential shot, but he rolled the ball across goal for his strike partner Amond to hit the smash-and-grab winner & effectively steal all three points.