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Graham Coughlan blasts referee after Newport’s draw with Leyton Orient

31 Dec 2022 3 minute read
Newport manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Simon Galloway PA Images

Newport manager Graham Coughlan believes his side were denied victory over League Two leaders Leyton Orient by the officials as the Exiles had to settle for a goalless draw at Rodney Parade.

County are the only side to beat Orient in a league match at Brisbane Road so far this season and Coughlan is convinced they should have done the double over the fourth-tier pacesetters.

The Irishman claims his side should have been awarded a goal in the final minute of the first half when defender Declan Drysdale’s close-range effort was blocked by visiting goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who also saved from Omar Bogle on the rebound.

“We haven’t held the League Two leaders, they’ve held us,” said an angry Coughlan.

“I thought we won – the ball was over the line. It was a clear goal if you look back on the video, it’s clear.

“We played like table-toppers but the game was refereed like it was the table-toppers against a mid-table team – we got very little of the 50-50 decisions.

“Every decision went Leyton Orient’s way because they’re top of the table. It was refereed very poorly and I don’t think we deserved to be treated like that.”

No issue

O’s boss Richie Wellens saw no issue with the decision and instead praised his side’s determined display after a second stalemate of the week, following Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with second-placed Stevenage.

“It was a good away performance, in terms of possession,” said Wellens. “We could have had a few more shots and – in the situations we got into – if we get that pass off, we could have had more chances.”

Orient were denied a breakthrough in the 31st minute when home goalkeeper Joe Day pulled off a spectacular save to tip Aaron Drinan’s shot around the post, while Ipswich loanee Idris El Mizouni wasted two good opportunities after the break.

“We had probably the three best chances of the game and their keeper pulled off a great save to keep out Drinan’s shot,” said Wellens, who revealed that his preparations had been hampered by illness and injury before the match.

“A couple of things went against us earlier today and we had to change the team – Ruel Sotiriou pulled out this morning through illness and Paul Smyth pulled his quad in the warm-up – so the preparation wasn’t great.”

In the circumstances, Wellens was pleased with the effort and application his side showed to remain five points clear at the top at the end of the year.

“I’ve never got a point here as a manager,” he added. “My teams have always got beaten up here, but we didn’t get beaten up today. We stood up to everything they threw at us.”

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