By Chris Lomas
Michael Flynn says Newport County’s 2-1 defeat to newly promoted Salford City “should be a harsh lesson”.
The County manager also accused his players of over-confidence and suggested some of they had inflated their own worth.
“It’s a reality check for them,” said a frustrated Flynn, after Newport suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.
“A couple of them were getting carried away – maybe thinking they’re better than what they are.
“League Two will bite you right in the backside, and that’s what it’s just done.”
In what was the first competitive meeting between the two sides, heavy rain made for a scrappy game at Rodney Parade. Conditions dictated the match with all three goals being decided by set-pieces, something Flynn was hugely irritated by.
“We lost the game to two set-plays – not good enough,” he said. “We worked on them, showed them, done everything bar marking for them, it’s two really cheap goals”.
Perhaps most frustrating for the Newport boss was the fact they were aware of the threat Salford posed.
“We knew that they cause a problem on set-plays, but we’ve caused our own problem – we haven’t even got near them”.
“It’s two free headers and it’s not good enough.”
Newport’s unbeaten run at home this season comes to an end. The exiles will be frustrated they lost out on a game decided by set-pieces. Lois Maynard got the winner for a good Salford side pic.twitter.com/jcgy4WqNwn
— Chris Lomas (@chrislomas_) November 2, 2019
Fortunately for Newport, other results went their way, meaning they stay seventh in League Two. Salford City climb up one place into 11th.
Salford took the lead in the 40th minute, Cameron Burgess coming in unmarked at the far post to head in.
Newport replied six minutes later in similar fashion, a Matty Dolan corner accidentally headed in by Salford’s Nathan Pond.
The Ammies started the second half far quicker than a sluggish Newport side, and were rewarded in the 53rd minute, Lois Maynard leaping ahead of Dolan to head in Ibou Touray’s free kick.
Flynn felt his players could have done much better for both goals and added: “Ryan Inniss gets done too easy, and Matty Dolan, not good enough”.
Newport began to build pressure in the second half and looked set to equalise when substitute Corey Whitely was brought down by Richard Towell.
Substitute Tristan Abrahams, who would have been confident stepping up, having scored two goals in his last two games, was denied by Ammies goalkeeper Mark Howard.
The Exiles boss was particularly irked by his forward’s decision-making.
“Tristan, I don’t know what he’s doing with the penalty, I’m all for somebody taking a penalty and missing I don’t mind that – but not when they go down the middle. That doesn’t sit right with me”.
Defeat for Newport, their first in the League at Rodney Parade since February, left the Exiles boss feeling his side had got ahead of themselves.
— Salford City FC (@SalfordCityFC) November 3, 2019
A common theme this year has been Newport’s inability to take their chances, and Flynn felt his side had the chances to win the game.
“We were the better team. We should’ve scored four. You look at the chance Podge (Padraig Amond) misses and Sheehan should’ve scored when he’s hit the inside of the post”.
Newport lined up in a 5-3-2 but struggled to impose control in the middle of the park.
Flynn, who was a midfielder in his playing days, admitted it was a problem area for his team.
“Yeah, it’s a bit of a concern for me at the moment, the midfield”.
Credit should also go to Salford. The Ammies were an organised outfit under boss Graham Alexander, although Flynn didn’t mince his words when asked why they are able to compete so quickly in League Two.
“Well they should do with the finances they’ve got”.
Newport face three tough away trips in a row, two at Grimsby Town, starting next Saturday in the FA Cup.
The competition is one that Newport County have excelled at in recent years, so County’s manager knows next week is a big one for the club.
“I don’t want to lose three in a row, so I want to win the match, and obviously its big for the football club. You know its brought us some special memories so I want to bring some more”.
As winter football truly kicked in this weekend, Newport will know they will have to arrest their mini-slump as the games come thick and fast in the next few weeks.