By Rob Charbon
Michael Flynn has admitted he is suffering from altitude sickness.
Newport County are still top of League Two, but the manager is sick of telling his players they need to be more ruthless.
Flynn felt the latest squandering of opportunities came in the 1-1 draw away at Forest Green Rovers, where the Exiles went ahead, had chances to wrap the game up, but eventually were pegged back and had to settle for a point.
To make matters more painful, the equaliser was scored by former Newport Cup hero Jamille Matt.
“We’ve got to be more ruthless,” said Flynn. “I’ve just spent my time talking about that because I’m getting sick and tired of it.
“We missed too many good chances. We had the best chances and the goal we conceded has gone through Brandon’s [Cooper] legs so it’s a little bit unfortunate.
“I’m not one of these managers who say that it was down to our errors – they’re a good team and play some good stuff.”
Matt fired home the goal that earned a draw for his new side and cut his old team mates lead at the top of League Two to a single point.
A Tristan Abrahams’ penalty in added time at the end of the first-half had given County the lead, but ‘Jamma’ tapped in a 77th minute equaliser to allow Cheltenham Town to close the gap on Flynn’s men thanks to a 2-1 win at
Having bagged a third round FA Cup home tie with Premier League Brighton the day before, County headed to the Forest of Dean to try to hold onto top spot against a home side sitting in fourth place and spearheaded by two former Newport strikers in Matt and Aaron Collins.
Flynn once again proved the depth of his squad as he made four changes from the side that comfortably beat Salford City 3-0 in the cup three days earlier.
Nick Townsend took over in goal from Tom King, Matt Dolan returned to the middle of the back three, skipper Joss Labadie was recalled to the midfield and Abrahams resumed up front.
The visitors got off to a promising start and it took only three minutes before a Ryan Haynes cross was headed inches wide by Jamie Proctor.
— Stroud News &Journal (@stroudnews) December 2, 2020
Having got his first goal for the club last weekend, Proctor went looking for more and was a constant threat in the air for the home defenders.
Dolan headed over from a Josh Sheehan corner a few minutes later, but then Labadie found his way into the referee’s notebook for a foul that many of the home team thought deserved more than yellow.
It was nip and tuck throughout the first-half with both goalkeepers being forced into making saves at crucial times.
Collins almost made Townsend pay for a slip up, but curled his shot wide, and the ever-dangerous Matt sent a glancing header just wide on the half-hour mark.
Collins then forced Townsend to come out of his goal and make a superb save after County had been caught out by a ball over the top.
Labadie forced Luke McGee to showcase his talents at the other end of the field after picking up a loose ball from a great Liam Shephard cross.
The breakthrough finally came in the second minute of added time at the end of an entertaining, and pretty even, first-half when a long throw from Mickey Demetriou caused mayhem in the home penalty box and Labadie was taken down.
REPORT | Exiles remain top of Sky Bet League Two with 1-1 draw against Forest Green Rovers.
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) December 1, 2020
Up stepped Abrahams and in went his eighth goal of the season. That put a spring in the step of the County players as they headed to the dressing rooms and they came out seeking the goal to give them breathing space.
A near post header from Proctor forced another good save out of McGee, but once again Forest Green began to pose a threat down the flanks and refused to give up.
Their persistence eventually prevailed when Matt stroked home from a Mathew Stevens cross.