It’s out with the 12-year-old port you’ve been guzzling down your cheese with this Christmas, and now in with the Newport from the arse-end of Wales. Or ‘South Wales’ as it’s known in official diplomatic circles. True dat. The New Year is now upon us and we hope you have your resolutions ready to break before the weekend gets to us? Ours is to learn the piano. Seriously. Then again, we said that last year. And the year before that…
Stevenage v Newport County: The Lowdown
The gaffer is no doubt hoping his team can start 2019 in direct contrast to how we ended 2018 i.e. not losing. The 1-0 loss up at Crewe means it’s now more than two months since we chalked up back-to-back victories in the league. That sort of thing ain’t normally helpful if you’re looking to lay claim to a playoff space. You could say it’s the main reason we’ve now slipped to 12th; now looking up the table at this weekend’s guests.
P9 W5 D2 L2 F16 A12; last result: Newport County 2-1 Stevenage, 13/10/2018
Not unlike our head-to-head with Crewe, our record against Newport had been pretty watertight. After losing our first encounter with the Exiles just over four years ago, we were unbeaten in eight against the Welsh team until our trip to Dave Parade earlier this season. You don’t need us to tell you that it was all the more galling to let in that decisive goal eight minutes into stoppage time at the end of the match either.
P5 W2 D2 L1 F8 A7; last result: Stevenage 1-1 Crawley Town, 12/09/2017
Should auld acquaintance be forgot? Not if the Football League has ‘owt to do with it; Andy Haines being a ref we’ve known since first overseeing one of our fixtures in September 2006. Our company has only been shared four further times since then, however. Do we still swap Christmas cards? Who knows? But he’s assigned to us for the first time in more than a year and it’s been over a decade since we lost with him around.
For both us and them, things could be going better. The current form shows that Newport haven’t won since November; a 0-0 draw with Crawley indoors last time out lifting them above us in the table. On the road, it’s four defeats from four and they’ve let in at least two goals in each of those. The Exiles also have one of the worst overall defensive records in the division at the moment; conceding 41 in 24 outings.
This shouldn’t be taken for granted, however. For a start, they’ve taken as many points from the last eight as we have. And their recent run on the road masks the fact they’ve also scored in all of their away games apart from a 3-0 defeat at Mansfield on the opening day. It doesn’t help that our defence has been less than ideal lately too; picking the ball out of our net at least once in each of our last nine. Both teams to score then?
• MORE ABOUT ‘EM: Newport County club profile