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Graham Coughlan glad to see Newport turning corner after tough start

10 Feb 2024 3 minute read
Newport County manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Nigel French/PA Wire.

Graham Coughlan says in-form Newport are reaping the rewards for sticking together when the going got tough after a 3-0 win at Walsall moved them four points off the League Two play-off places.

First-half goals from Bryn Morris, Will Evans and Harry Charsley gave the Exiles a fully-deserved fourth successive league victory.

It is a far cry from a nightmare, injury-hit autumn when they sank as low as 20th in the table after just one win in 10.

“I’m delighted for the lads because they’ve stuck with me through the tough times in September, October and November when we were decimated by injuries,” Coughlan said.

“They could have easily waved a white flag and gone under but they didn’t – they carried on, dug deep and got points in games we probably didn’t deserve.

“We had to batten down the hatches for those three months – it was tough but we stuck together as a club and this little run, this little period, is testament to all those who stuck with us.”

Newport host the two sides directly above them – Notts County and Gillingham – over the next seven days, and Coughlan added: “I thought our performance in the first 20 minutes was absolutely outstanding – probably the best 20 minutes we’ve had since I’ve come to the club.

“We got a bit of a deflection for the first one but Will Evans’ individual goal, if that happens in the Premier League that’s flashed across Sky Sports every hour – it’s an absolutely outstanding goal.”

Josh Gordon and Mo Faal failed to test the goalkeeper with two huge first-half chances for Walsall, who had goalkeeper Owen Evans sent off late on for handling outside the area.

“We just didn’t start it the way we normally do and I felt Newport did to us what we like to do to teams for spells of that game, especially in the first 15 minutes,” said Saddlers boss Mat Sadler.

“Football is a game of moments and we were the other side of those moments today. We had two very good chances to alter the course of the game but it wasn’t to be.

“We were just not quite at the races today.

“It wasn’t what we pride ourselves on – the work-rate, the relentless attitude. We just gave ourselves a bit too much of a mountain to climb so early in the game and that is unlike us.

“I’m sure there will be runs that will happen from now until the end of the season for someone to get into that play-off pack – we will keep fighting, keep pushing.”

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