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Graham Coughlan pleased with point as injury-hit Newport hold MK Dons

11 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Newport manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Simon Galloway PA Images

Newport manager Graham Coughlan praised his injury-hit squad for digging deep to claim a point against MK Dons after a 0-0 draw at Rodney Parade.

Coughlan could only name five substitutes, with three teenagers making up the numbers alongside James Waite and second-choice goalkeeper Jonny Maxted on the bench.

“Given our current predicament, our squad size and the changes we needed to make on 70 to 75 minutes, I’ve got to be satisfied with the performance and opportunities that we created,” said Coughlan.

“We’ve gone up against one of the top teams in the division and did more than enough to win the game.

“Nick Townsend pulled off two magnificent saves but that’s what top teams do, they get into the final third and ask questions, they hit the target and make the goalkeeper work.

“We got into the final third on number occasions and didn’t hit the target, worked the goalie or scored a goal. That’s what we need to work on and it’s not a quick fix.

“I am annoyed that we didn’t score but I am not going to complain about a home point against one of the top teams in the division and a clean sheet.”


County striker Omar Bogle wasted several opportunities in the first half, while Dons forward Max Dean forced Townsend into a superb save after half an hour.

Townsend’s opposite number Craig MacGillivray presented Will Evans with a golden chance five minutes after the break, but the striker curled his shot wide.

Evans grazed the bar from a tight angle before Townsend was again the hero for the hosts as he denied Dons skipper Alex Gilbey and then held Joe Tomlinson’s shot at the second attempt.

Substitute Mo Eisa nearly found a winner for the visitors a minute late on, but he could not quite reach Gilbey’s dangerous ball across goal.

Like Coughlan, Dons boss Mike Williamson praised his side’s efforts and he felt they were unlucky not to come away with three points.

“There were plenty of chances,” said the former Newcastle defender.

“I thought we had the momentum the whole time in the second half.

“I’m so proud of the boys. It’s never in question that they put a shift in, and you could see the quality from the way we played through them at times. We just didn’t get the finishing touch.

“It was just one of those days. In previous games we’ve scored harder chances. That’s football.

“All we can do is keep working on the preparation and the intention as to how we get in those areas. And, with the quality we’ve got in the squad, more often than not we will put them away.”

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