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Graham Coughlan says Newport’s win over Gillingham a ‘huge’ result

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

Newport manager Graham Coughlan hailed a “huge” three points for his side as they bounced back from defeat in midweek to beat Gillingham 1-0 at Rodney Parade.

Notts County ended the Exiles’ seven-match unbeaten run last Tuesday with a 3-1 win in Newport and Coughlan was delighted with his players’ reaction.

After a forgettable first half, Will Evans produced a stunning volley from Harry Charsley’s cross just after the hour-mark to beat fellow play-off hopefuls Gillingham.

“It was vitally important that we responded to Tuesday night’s game, we didn’t do ourselves justice against Notts County and were poor all-round,” said Coughlan.

“It was a big three points for players, staff and fans. It’s very difficult to ask players to play 43 games, as we have so far already in February, so I could understand it being dead and flat from both teams.

“We ask the same boys to keep going time and time again, but I said at half-time that if it was dour, make sure we came out with something. We came out with the victory and three points, and that’s huge.”

Coughlan praised the home fans for helping his side close out the game.

“I was shouting at the crowd today to give us a little bit of energy and a lift for the last 10 to 15 minutes because you could see that we needed it,” he said.

“They were brilliant and got us over the line, they cheered every clearance, started banging the drum and singing their songs. That energised us, so I have to praise the fans for what they did.”

Gills boss Stephen Clemence admitted that Evans’ goal was good enough to win any game.

“I never felt in trouble. I thought it had 0-0 written all over it,” he said. “But, to be fair to the lad, it’s a great finish.

“The boy delivered a sidewinder volley from the edge of the box, and it went in the top corner. If you get beaten by a goal like that, sometimes you just have to accept it.

“We had a moment ourselves where Timothee Dieng had a great effort, and their keeper made a great save.

“It was a very tight game between two teams with similar shapes,” added Clemence. “They’ve been in good form, and we knew we’d have to be up for the fight.

“They’re a very physical team and I thought we dealt with that well.

“But we just had one moment in the second half where they got the better of us and, unfortunately, we have to go home with no points.

“It’s very difficult to take, but we’ve got two home games coming up now and we have to get ready for them.”

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