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Coughlan left angry and frustrated after Newport draw with Crawley

02 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Newport County manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Mike Egerton

Newport boss Graham Coughlan said he was angry and frustrated after being sent off along with Crawley Crawley caretaker manager Darren Byfield deep in injury time as his side came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw.

Former Exiles striker Dom Telford put the visitors in charge and seemingly on course for victory with a goal either side of half-time on his first return to Rodney Parade.

The striker, who scored 26 goals for County last season before his summer move to Crawley, tapped in the opener nine minutes before half-time after the hosts failed to clear a corner and allowed defender Ludwig Francillette a shot that turned into the perfect cross for Telford.

And, after home goalkeeper Joe Day twice denied Tom Fellows before the break, Telford doubled Crawley’s lead from the penalty spot on 67 minutes following Scot Bennett’s trip on Nick Tsaroulla.

That looked to have sealed the three points for the visitors, but County surged back in a crazy end to the contest.

Matty Dolan headed in the first on 83 minutes before fellow substitute Offrande Zanzala sealed the comeback as he nodded in the equaliser in stoppage time.

And that was not the end of the drama as both Byfield and Exiles boss Graham Coughlan were sent off for remonstrating with the officials deep into time added on.

“What I was accused of was far from the truth,” said Coughlan after seeing red.

“I am due an apology. I didn’t do what I am accused of. If I don’t get an apology, I’ll just have to fight my corner.

“There were three clear penalties when the referee had outstanding views, so that is something I will be asking questions about.

“It was a frustrating afternoon, but the character shown was very good.”

Character

Byfield meanwhile praised the character and commitment of his players, despite seeing his side let slip a 2-0 lead and played down the red card.

“I’m so proud of the boys,” said Byfield. “I’m gutted for them because we were 2-0 up and there were some dodgy decisions, for me. I don’t think it was a corner [for the equaliser], but I thought the players were superb.

“I would have loved to have put my boots on and played with them,” added the 46-year-old ex-Millwall man. “Sadly, I’m way too old – these hips can’t do that – but I enjoyed the game so much.

“That’s what we’ve got to continue doing for whoever comes in.”

On the sending off, Byfield said: “I’m a nice guy but when it comes to football, I’m just so passionate.

“Their manager wanted to come and have a word with me, and it is what it is. There’s no hard feelings. We spoke afterwards and we’re fine. It’s football, it’s a passionate game and I just love it.”


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