Feature

Come on County! It’s up to Newport to pick up pieces after Swansea and Wrexham’s dreams are shattered

30 May 2021 4 minutes Read
Newport County fans

Newport skipper Joss Labadie is set to reclaim a starting spot for the Sky Bet League Two play-off final against Morecambe on Monday.

Labadie suffered a gashed knee earlier this month and scored after coming off the bench in the second leg of County’s semi-final victory over Forest Green.

He is expected to replace on-loan AFC Wimbledon midfielder Anthony Hartigan in the Exiles’ Wembley starting line-up.

Kevin Ellison, who became the oldest outfield player to appear in the EFL play-offs at the age of 42, and Nicky Maynard also scored against Forest Green, but the pair are set to be among the replacements again.

Morecambe could be unchanged following their semi-final victory over Tranmere.

Kelvin Mellor was available for the second leg after suspension, but Ryan Cooney held on to the right-back role and should get the nod at Wembley.

Brad Lyons has fully recovered from a damaged nose and Liam McAlinden has shaken off a niggling calf injury.

Welsh goalkeeper Kyle Letheren, a Wembley winner in York’s 2017 FA Trophy success, will provide Morecambe’s last line of defence.

Swansea – who lost 2-0 against Brentford in the Championship play-off final at Wembley and their place in the Premier League – were left rueing their chances.

Boss Steve Cooper told Sky Sports: “We didn’t start the game too well and you can’t give away goals like we did that end up becoming defining moments.

“We didn’t give up and our response was a positive one. We started the second half really well and if Andre (Ayew) had got on the end of that (chance), who knows?

“We’ve done it as a real squad with a real togetherness and we deserved our shot at it today.

“It’s the setbacks that define you at the end of the day. You either cry about it or you come back stronger, and I know what this set of players will want to do.”

Meanwhile, Wrexham missed out on a National League play-off place after drawing 1-1 at Dagenham and Redbridge.

Jordan Ponticelli gave the Red Dragons hope late on, but they slipped out of the top seven on the final day.

 

 

Shaun Pearson headed over Dagenham goalkeeper Elliot Justham’s crossbar, while Will Wright missed the target twice for the hosts.

McCallum found the net six minutes after the interval, tapping in Balanta’s ball across the box for his 10th goal in as many games, before Wrexham were reduced to 10 men shortly after when Paul Rutherford was sent off for a poor challenge on Matt Robinson.

Wrexham set up a dramatic finish when Ponticelli netted from close range, but it was not enough as they missed out on the top seven by one point.

Following the disappointment of falling just short of the National League play-offs, the Board have acted quickly to address the managerial position at the Club.

Manager Dean Keates, whose contract expired at the end of the season, has been informed that he will not be retained, along with his Assistant Manager, Andy Davies, and First Team Coach, Carl Darlington.

Co-Chairmen Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds said: “We would like to thank Dean, Andy and Carl for all their efforts on behalf of the Club, in what at times were challenging circumstances.

“We are committed to returning the Club to the EFL at the earliest opportunity and feel that a change of manager will provide us with the best chance of achieving that objective.

“Dean, Andy and Carl will always be welcome at the Club.”

The club’s search for a new manager will commence with immediate effect.

 

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