Hatters sink to defeat to at Rodney Parade
The Town slipped to their second defeat on the spin as a second-half hat-trick from substitute Oliver McBurnie gave Newport their first home win of the season.
The Hatters came close in the first half with Alex Lawless, Danny Green and Josh McQuoid testing home goalkeeper Joe Day.
But the Town barely threatened in the second half and County sub McBernie – introduced in the 58th-minute – helped himself to a hat-trick in the space of 23 minutes to give the hosts their first victory on home soil since beating the Hatters in March last season.
It all began with the Town showing one change to the side that lost 4-3 to Carlisle on Tuesday. Luke Wilkinson returned to the Town side, replacing Mark O’Brien at centre-half.
And in sodden conditions the Hatters shaded the first half. Lawless came close to opening the scoring in the first five minutes when his left-foot shot from 12 yards was held by Day following McQuoid’s cross from the right.
The greasy surface did not hamper the Town’s football and on 12 minutes the Hatters came mighty close to going in front. Green lined up a shot from 25 yards from a central position but his curling, destined-for-the-top-corner effort was clawed away by Day.
Newport were only offering a threat from high balls from either flank, but the Town defence held firm. At the other end, a superb piece of skill from Olly Lee saw him evade two County men, drive forward and send a low shot goalwards that was deflected behind for a corner.
As half-time approached the Hatters tested Day again on 37 minutes when, on the counter attack, Cameron McGeehan fed McQuoid to drill a shot goalwards from just inside the penalty area that Day parried with Jack Marriott unable to latch onto the loose ball.
After the break the Town continued to create half-chances with McGeehan firing over from distance on 53 minutes before a Green free-kick struck the Newport wall and deflected behind for a corner.
However despite holding the hosts at arms’ length for 67 minutes, County took the lead with their first shot on goal. A low pass into the box from the left found substitute McBurnie and the on-loan debutant steered a finish past Tyler inside the six-yard box.
Behind, the Town bench decided to make a double substitution, bringing on Craig Mackail-Smith and Nathan Doyle for McQuoid and McGeehan respectively.
The Hatters, however, struggled to create a real clear-cut chance and County almost doubled their lead on 76 minutes only for Tyler to keep out Medy Elito’s shot from the edge of the area.
But the Town weren’t so lucky three minutes later when McBurnie doubled his and County’s tally. Alex Rodman’s shot from 20 yards was spilled by Tyler and the young County striker, on loan from Swansea, tapped home to make it 2-0.
But it got worse for the Hatters four minutes from time when McBernie completed his hat-trick and a debut to remember. Tyler gifted the ball to Scott Boden inside the penalty area and the County man squared to the unmarked McBernie to tap home into an unguarded net – and that was that.
TOWN: Tyler; Lawless, Griffiths, Wilkinson, Cuthbert; Smith, Lee (sub McCourt 80), McGeehan (sub Doyle 67), Green; McQuoid (sub Mackail-Smith 67), Marriott.
Town subs not used: Okuonghae, Long, Hall, Justham.
Attendance: 2,551, including 451 backing the Town.