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Graham Coughlan praises Newport players for learning lesson from first match

12 Dec 2023 3 minute read
Newport County manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Mike Egerton PA Images

Newport head coach Graham Coughlan believes his team learned their lesson as they defeated Vanarama National League side Barnet 4-1.

After conceding late at Rodney Parade in the first game, the south Wales outfit settled the replay by netting three times in the first 25 minutes.

The Sky Bet League Two club now host Eastleigh in the third round of the FA Cup, and Coughlan was pleased with the reaction of his side.

He said: “I think we learned from the first game. We got our tactics spot on.

“So all plaudits go to the lads for what they’ve done tonight, as that was a really tough game.

“Dean Brennan has got his team playing really well and with confidence, and they pass the ball really well.

“They’ve got some dangerous players and we knew it was going to be tough. But it was emphatic in the end.

“It just takes one incident, or one lack of concentration, to flip the game on its head. So it’s very difficult to relax.”

Newport took a fifth-minute lead when Omar Bogle crossed for Lewis Payne to fire home at the far post, before the two swapped roles eight minutes later when the 30-year-old netted.

The tie looked over after 25 minutes when Danny Collinge – whose late equaliser in the first tie earned the replay – headed past goalkeeper Laurie Walker from a Nick Townsend goal-kick and into his own net.

Barnet had a lifeline when they hit back in the 37th minute, after Harry Pritchard scored from close range – although replays showed he handled the ball.

Idris Kanu hit the bar from 25 yards out in the 66th minute, the hosts’ best chance of the second half.

But the impressive Seb Palmer-Houlden made sure of victory 10 minutes later when he ran through on a long ball and finished coolly – ending any thoughts of a home-side comeback.

Barnet manager Brennan believed such a poor opening was the death knell for the chances of his side.

He said: “Our defending in the first 25 minutes was kamikaze, you can’t go three down that quickly in a game of this magnitude.

“We managed to pull a goal back, and we were reaching for the second – we hit the crossbar, but the better team won.

“We never give in, maybe it was the class of the division above that was the difference. We haven’t got enough of that class.

“Their finishing was clinical, the fourth goal was a great counter-attack from them, and the third goal was just schoolboy stuff.

“The game is about both boxes – they defended their box better than we did.”

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