Here we go then, our annual European adventure; Boro’ on the westway to Wales for our League Two away day at Newport County. And no, that gag will never get old. C’mon, we’re not going to be playing in the Europa GM Vauxhall Conference League (or whatever it’s called) any time soon. So, we don’t have much choice but to take what we can get. And a trip across the Severn Bridge on the day before Halloween is what we can get…
Newport County v Stevenage
Dave Parade, Newport — 30 October 2021 — Sky Bet League Two
In terms of away days, south Wales hasn’t been all that unkind to us. In seven visits, we’ve been on the wrong side of the result just twice. We’ve also won two and drawn the rest, although our recent record there isn’t the best – without a win in three. That’s also the form overall for us too. Our last visit was on 27 February 2021 and ended in a goalless draw, while their journey across to see us on 20 October 2020 ended in a 1-0 victory to them.
We only managed the one meeting during the aborted 2019-20 season. A 1-1 draw down at Dave Parade on 14 December 2019 looks decent in the grand scheme of things that season. But when you consider that Jamille Matt scored their equaliser in the 92nd minute, you realise it was more of a sign of how bad things were going than you think.
Thankfully, it’s only one more season back in the archives to find a win. Our most recent triumph came on New Year’s Day 2019; Alex Revell scoring a late winner after Kurtis Guthrie was sent off in the first half. And we can think that was sweet, sweet revenge if you ask us. That’s because the Exiles stole three points at their place on 13 October 2018; Antoine Semenyo scoring the winner in the 98th minute. Late goals, you see, are very much a thing in this fixture.
The arrival of the Exiles
After the previous Newport County went pop in 1989, it took the ‘new’ club less than quarter of a century to get to the Football League. They arrived on the League Two scene a season before we dropped down from above. And our first fixture took place on a bitterly cold 13 December 2014; the Exiles running out comfortable 2-0 winners. At least Boro’ didn’t let them the upper hand for long. A 2-1 home win on 07 March 2015 had us on one win apiece after two encounters.
After that, Boro’ moved into a bit of an ascendancy against the Exiles. A 2-2 away draw early on in the 2015-6 campaign (15 August 2015) paved the way for three straight wins. Two of them – during the 2016-7 season – came with a certain Mr Westley in the opposition dugout.
There wouldn’t be a fourth straight win, however. The Exiles came to us for the 2017-8 campaign opener and it was a worthy spectacle; six goals shared in a 3-3 draw. We should perhaps feel just a bit miffed two times over at that result. We led 3-1 with quarter of an hour left and then let in a 94th minute equaliser. Late goals again. Still, we got things right at their place on 07 April 2018 as Chris Whelpdale’s goal just before half time earned us a 1-0 win.