By David Roberts
The footballing revolution at Newport County gathered pace this week with Michael Flynn’s men taking Cambridge United to school in the Carabao Cup second round.
Flynn has told his players to carry on in the same mode when Barrow arrive at Rodney Parade today for the second League Two outing of the new campaign.
The goal that sent the Exiles through to the Carabao Cup third round for the first time since the 1962/63 season.
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) September 16, 2020
The County manager is determined to play a more progressive, passing game while the weather, and infamous Newport pitch, permit his side to move the ball with confidence.
Flynn’s side may only have scored one goal against Cambridge, but they made twice as many passes and enjoyed 72% possession.
That allowed them to create chances for 29 shots – seven more than Liverpool managed in their opening Premiership match against Leeds, as well as 120 more passes.
— Newport County Fans For Independence🏴 (@CountyForIndy) September 17, 2020
It amounts to a real revolution in style and all recent stats show that with more possession come more chances.
Matt Dolan has been parked in the middle of the back three to play the ball out, Josh Sheehan and newcomer Scott Twine have been given a licence to roam, and wing backs Ryan Haynes and Liam Shephard are great options out wide to carry and cross.
NEWPORT COUNTY STATS THIS SEASON
OPPONENTS PASSES ACCURACY % POSS % SHOTS
Swansea City 281 v 499 60 / 78 36 / 64 12 / 10
Cheltenham Town 409 v 330 73 / 67 56 / 44 13 / 14
Scunthorpe United 334 v 357 65 / 68 47 / 53 10 / 14
Cambridge United 552 v 226 84 / 56 72 / 28 29 / 6
* County figures first
Liverpool 4-3 Leeds 432 v 459 75 / 75 48 / 52 22 / 6
Man City 2-1 R Madrid 603 v 492 87 / 85 56 / 44 20 / 9
“We’ve always started pretty well since I’ve been here and we’ve always played good football at the beginning of the season. Then the pitch goes, the injuries come and we are down to the bare bones,” says Flynn.
“That has happened every season. We have a blip around the time the pitch goes. That’s not making excuses, it’s a proven fact.
“We want to play good football and we have done it so far. We are going to look to continue it because we have addressed the injury situation and we’re overcoming what the pitch is going to be like.
“We feel we’ve got the players who can still handle the football on a boggy pitch. As long as the players have the confidence to keep believing in the style, I know they have the ability.”
Match-winner Twine and Sheehan ran the show on Tuesday night and will be in charge of leading the tactical assault on newly promoted Barrow.
— Brad Webb (@Bradwebb_3) September 18, 2020
Dolan is due to return after missing the Carabao Cup tie and his new role in the middle of the back three is also crucial to the new approach.
“We’ve started well and we need to continue. Some things are going well but there are other areas in which we need to improve,” added Flynn.
“There is good competition for places and everyone needs to work hard to get into the team and then to hold onto their shirt.
“Barrow will be full of confidence after gaining promotion and then adding to their squad. The gap between coming up from the Conference to League Two isn’t like jumping from the Championship to the Premiership.”