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Tuesday 24th November 2013 ko 19.45

League 2



Att 5,042 (437 away)

Entry S/T

Programme £3 (including Oxford Mail)

Every football fan should have a small corner for Newport County AFC. Not so much for the Newport County, who sank out of the Football League in 1988, and were bankrupt with debts of £330,000 less than a season later, but for the trials and tribulations that befell the reformed club, Newport AFC, that started life in June 1989.

From the outset the aim was always to regain their Football League status, but the new club found a major obstacles in their path.  They played one season in the Gloucestershire village of Moreton-in-Marsh http://wp.me/p1PehW-qP, due to a dispute over the old club’s unpaid rent at Somerton Park before returning to their old ground.

Then the Football Association of Wales intervened; they wanted them to play in the Welsh football pyramid, meaning the limit of their ambitions would be the Welsh Premier League. That forced County to share at Gloucester City’s Meadow Park from 1992-1994 before the club successfully took out a High Court injunction for restraint of trade in April 1994 forcing the FAW to back down.

The club moved back to Wales at the newly built athletics stadium, Spytty Park, and from that point the club has thrived. The club won promotion via the Conference play-offs last season, and for the start of last season moved from the less-than-suitable Spytty to Rodney Parade home to Newport RUFC and Newport Gwent Dragons RUFC. http://wp.me/p1PehW-1fw

So where does the name Newport County AFC originate from? The club decided in 1999 to combine the names of the old and new clubs, so please don’t leave the AFC out, those 3 letters have meaning, over and above the abbreviation!

It had been 30 years since a side from Newport had last played Oxford United in Oxford the result being a 2-0 win, and perhaps the chance to tick off a new ground swelled the away attendance. There was also the chance to see two ex-Oxford United players play for Newport, Adam Chapman and Harry Worley, and one ex-Newport player, Danny Rose for Oxford.

United made the brighter start and if James Constable had scored either of two chances that fell his way during the first half, one he scuffed, the other was dragged wide, then the game could and probably would have gone the same way as it did on Saturday. Instead the game rapidly got bogged down in an obdurate 5-man Exiles defence, and referee Darren Sheldrake was all too content to draw attention to himself, stopping play unnecessarily and issuing a quite ridiculous 8 yellow cards, when only Worley’s high tackle on Ryan Williams seemed worthy of note.

The draw looked likely for most of the game and save for Christian Jolley’s shot grazing the crossbar, the pattern was one of the hosts dominating possession but failing to make it count. Newport were clearly happy with their point, and with Oxford’s rivals failing to take advantage United are still top. As I sit and type though, I do wonder, given United’s home form, whether this is a point gained rather than two dropped?