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Graham Coughlan impressed by Newport’s first-half display in Doncaster win

12 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Newport manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Simon Galloway PA Images

Graham Coughlan felt his Newport side could easily have been leading by “five or six goals” at half-time of their 4-0 win against Doncaster.

County raced out of the blocks and effectively put the game to bed inside 21 minutes with three unanswered goals.

Seb Palmer-Houlden got the opener in the sixth minute when he outmuscled Joseph Olowu and fired past goalkeeper Ian Lawlor.

Will Evans doubled the Exiles’ advantage in the 14th minute when he slotted in the rebound after Lawlor had denied right-back Shane Mcloughlin.

The third arrived seven minutes later when Doncaster failed to clear a corner and, in the resulting scramble, an attempted clearance cannoned off Rovers captain Richard Wood and inside Lawlor’s post.

Coughlan’s men could have had more before the break, but Evans made certain of the three points with his second and Newport’s fourth just four minutes into the second half.

Red Arrows

It capped an impressive week for the Exiles, who lost 3-0 at Accrington on the opening day but beat League One Charlton in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

“It was pleasing, a really good all-round performance,” said Coughlan. “The game fizzled out in the second half after the fourth goal, but we could have scored five or six goals in the first half.

“Let’s put it in our back pocket and build on it. That is what we are about, and if we come off it and don’t play with those intense levels we tend to struggle.

“What was really pleasing was that there was a lot of combination play in midfield and the first goal came from us defending a corner. Nick Townsend caught it and we broke out like the Red Arrows.

“To see work transfer from the training ground to the pitch was really pleasing; it was a good, solid home performance.”

It was a second league defeat of the new season for Doncaster, who have now won just one of their last 13 matches in League Two, losing 10.

Grant McCann, who returned to the Rovers hotseat in May, admitted his side were outplayed.

“It’s a very disappointing performance,” he said. “It was a catalogue of errors and we just weren’t good enough. They were better than us.

“The first two goals were mistakes and the third was a comedy of errors – a sliced clearance hitting Richard Wood’s calf and ending up in the back of our net. It was an uphill task from there.

“Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. And that’s including the travel (on Friday) when the bus broke down!

“Everything went against us, but I’m not one for making excuses – that was totally unacceptable from us.”

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