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Newport County 3, Southend United 1
JUSTIN Edinburgh easily got the better of his former Southend United side at Rodney Parade this afternoon, guiding Newport County to a well deserved 3-1 win.
Edinburgh had not faced the Shrimpers since leaving the club as a player for Tottenham Hotspur in 1990.
But it was certainly worth the wait for the ex Blues full-back as Newport produced an impressive performance to continue their excellent start to life back in the Football League.
After a lively start to the game, Blues almost went in front in the sixth minute when Conor Clifford’s lofted ball over the top of Newport’s defence was latched on to by Cauley Woodrow.
The on loan Fulham forward, who featured in a more central attacking position for Phil Browns’ side, headed the ball down before advancing in to the penalty area and dragging a low shot wide of the left post.
Moments later, debutant full-back Ryan Auger delivered a right wing cross which stand in skipper Barry Corr failed to control in front of goal.
But, having survived the early scares, Newport then almost went in front when Billy Jones’ inswinging corner from the right hand side was met by Lee Minshull.
However the midfielder’s firm volley was impressively parried to safety by Shrimpers goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
Newport were not to be denied the game’s opening goal though and it came with 23 minutes on the clock, following a rare mistake from Bentley.
The Blues shot-stopper charged off his line in an attempt to deal with Robbie Willmott’s hopeful pass forward.
But Bentley completed the ball and that enabled Conor Washington to tap home in to an unguarded goal from just outside the penalty area.
Newport remained on top after opening the scoring and almost doubled their lead when the dangerous Washington worked his way past Rob Kiernan in the left hand side of the penalty area but his low cross was cleared to safety by Ben Coker.
And Coker soon took centre stage at the other end of the field as he fired the Shrimpers back level in the 41st minute, with a fantastic free-kick.
The former Colchester and Chelmsford defender sent a curling 25 yard shot in to the top right hand corner of the net, after Andrew Hughes had harshly been adjudged to have brought down Hurst.
But Blues were back level for just four minutes as Newport retook the lead on the stroke of half-time when Willmott’s left wing corner was headed back across goal by Minshull, enabling Hughes to nod home from close range via the inside of the left post.
At the start of the second half, Washington cut in off the left flank and fired a low 20 yard shot straight at Bentley but, in the 53rd minute, County made it 3-1 when an unmarked Ismail Yakubu headed a left wing cross from Washington in to the right hand side of the net.
Blues responded by making a double change as Jack Payne came on for Clifford and Michael Timlin for Hurst but it was Newport who remained in control.
As a result, Chris Zebroski sent a deflected 16 yard shot inches wide of the right post before his strike partner, Washington, slammed a low effort against the foot of the opposite upright.
Zebroski then had another powerful effort superbly saved by Bentley before the resulting corner Jones corner saw Ryan Jackson have a header cleared off the line by Timlin.
Jackson then charged through on goal, after beating Luke Prosser to the ball, but could only send his low shot past the right post before Willmott had a well struck shot impressively saved by Bentley.
The young Shrimpers shot stopper then also did brilliantly to tip over a rising effort from Adam Chapman in the dying seconds of the game.