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Matt Dolan Insists Newport County’s Surge Must Result In Wembley Glory

Newport County play-off hero Matt Dolan insists his side can clinch promotion at Wembley next week and reward their fans for unstinting support this season.

County are preparing to face either Forest Green or Tranmere Rovers in the League Two play-off final, which will be a fourth trip to Wembley in the last seven years for the Exiles.

It was Dolan who coolly slotted home the decisive penalty on Sunday night – one of five perfect spot-kicks from the visitors who were level (1-1 on aggregate) after extra-time in their second leg at Mansfield.

It means County could secure promotion to League One just two years after they almost dropped back out of the Football League. They will go to the final on the back of a 12-match unbeaten run.

“We don’t just want to be at Wembley for the sake of being there, we want to win,” said midfielder Dolan.

“We don’t want our season to go on this long and finish in a bad way. I’m sure the whole of Newport will be behind us and we’ll make sure we finish the job.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence and we’ll do things right from now until Wembley.

“It’s important we don’t let the occasion get the better of us. We’ve played in big games this season so let’s make sure it’s another big result.

“The boys have been fantastic for 61 games before this. A lot of hard work has gone into it since pre-season from everyone at the football club. It’s what we deserve. But we don’t want it to stop now.”

Almost 1,200 Newport fans travelled to Mansfield to ensure a vibrant atmosphere throughout a gripping contest.

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Now, Dolan says the Amber Army need to be further rewarded for their backing by enjoying a successful conclusion to the season against the winners of tonight’s other semi-final, second leg.

“For a Sunday at 6pm with no trains back to Newport, no travel, they deserve a special mention because they’ve been behind us all season and in every game.

“They’ve been behind us all the way and we’ve all achieved a special moment in this club’s history. But we’re not done yet, we want to go and make sure we finish the job.

“The message is simply to get behind us. We’ve given them a rollercoaster ride and they’ve stuck with us through thick and thin.”

Dolan has revealed his position as County’s fifth penalty taker in the shoot-out, went against the advice of his father, Gary.

“My old man won’t be happy because he always tells me to not take the fifth penalty. But I was pretty settled. I had my partner and all my family right behind me in the crowd and others watching at home.

“It was nice to slot it away, but I always backed myself, wanted the fifth and now it’s a nice bit of history for us.

“We practised penalties in the last couple of days, the lads normally have a go at me because I usually mess about in the penalty taking, but when it’s serious, I’ll be serious and slot it away.

“To score a goal to get the club to Wembley is up there and probably the best in my career.

“I just took the penalty like I would any other, regardless of the situation we were in.

“It was very nice and obviously nice to see everyone with a smile on their face. Let’s get to Wembley and finish the job.”


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