Newport County and Carlisle United played out an entertaining 0-0 draw at Rodney Parade, as both teams looked to get an edge on the play-off race. A draw saw the Exiles move into sixth place above Forest Green, while the Cumbrians moved into ninth place.
Newport boss Michael Flynn made two changes from his sides disappointing, 1-1 draw away to Mansfield Town last Friday. Lewis Collins and Nicky Maynard came into the starting line-up, with Joe Ledley and Dom Telford dropping out.
🔢 | Here's how the Exiles line-up against @OfficialCUFC this evening.
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) April 13, 2021
Chris Beech only made one change from Carlisle’s exiting 2-2 draw to Cumbrian rivals Barrow last Saturday. George Tanner, who had struggled against the physicality of Patrick Brough for Barrow, so Danny Devine returned to start at right-back.
Your team for tonight's game against @NewportCounty 👇
— Carlisle United FC (@officialcufc) April 13, 2021
Newport looked to make an exhilarating start, as long ball forwards found Nicky Maynard. The prolific journeyman shrugged off Aaron Hayden, but his shot on the half-volley sailed over the bar.
Offrande Zanzala looked industrious early on as he burst past Liam Shephard on the left-hand side. He neatly cut back inside, but his low shot was straight at Nick Townsend in the County goal.
Carlisle looked dangerous in the opening exchanges and came close again in the 20th minute. Omari Patrick used his quick feet to get the ball to Jack Armer, whose misguided cross found Jon Mellish, but United’s top scorer’s shot was weak.
In the 28th minute, Joe Riley’s temptatious cross was cleared only as far as Callum Guy. Guy used stunning technique to keep the ball down on the volley, but he could only guide the shot wide of the post.
Rod McDonald has come under fire in recent weeks, but he almost found redemption in the 30th minute. A fantastic set-piece delivery by League Two’s most potent goal supplier Callum Guy found McDonald, but his brave diving header arrowed narrowly wide.
United’s main playmaker Lewis Alessandra shimmied his way into a crossing position and found Aaron Hayden at the back post, but the former Wolves man was denied by Townsend. Neither Mellish nor Zanzala could force the ball goalwards on the follow-up, and Newport scrambled the ball away from danger.
In the 40th minute, Carlisle had the ball in Newport’s goal, only for Lee Swabey to disallow the opener. Jack Armer’s deep delivery saw Zanzala challenge Townsend for the cross, and the striker bundled the ball over the line but was deemed to have fouled Townsend.
Late into added time of the first half, Newport came close to finding an opening goal. Mellish lost the ball in midfield to Mickey Demetriou, he passed to Lewis Collins, who drove forwards and slid the ball through to Maynard, but McDonald rushed across to make a vital block.
Half time: Newport County 0-0 Carlisle United
Carlisle started the second half brightly, as Patrick got the better of Aaron Lewis and took off down the right using his electric pace. However, Liam Shephard came across from right-wing-back to make a goal-saving block to deny Patrick.
The Exiles started to improve in the second half and in the 59th minute were inches away from a wonderful goal. Demetriou’s long throw was cleared out to Aaron Lewis, who used marvellous technique to hit a volley, but he looked on in agony as the ball ricochet off the bar for a goal kick.
Nick Townsend had struggled with his clearances at times during the game, and in the 62nd minute, his poor clearance fell to Joe Riley. Riley fed Patrick, who could only drag a left-footed shot wide.
Patrick was a threat throughout the night and came close again, as a corner was diverted to the flying winger, who miss-hit his shot, and the ball went wide of Newport’s goal.
In the 74th minute, some intricate play saw Alessandra work the ball into Mellish. The former England C international expertly turned the Newport defence only to see his low shot parried by Townsend, Zanzala could not score on the rebound.
Substitute Nick Anderton had a heart in mouth moment, as his poor clearance went to Lewis Collins. However, the Wales youth international could not take advantage, as his low effort was saved by Farman.
Matt Dolan showed his experience late on to cleverly hook the ball over to Pádraig Amond, whose shot was palmed away by Farman.
There would be one last chance for the Exiles in the 93rd minute, as Shephard got through some poor defending and found Ryan Taylor. Taylor could not be the hero, as he wildly shot over the bar.
Full time: Newport County 0-0 Carlisle United
See reaction from both sets of fans here:
Playoff spot and we're a team who create nothing and dont score!….unbelievable Jeff
— billy ingles (@bingles66) April 13, 2021
We’ve been so lucky with results recently. How are we 6th when we play like we did today
— dan (@dan13537356) April 13, 2021
On performance that’s 2 points dropped.
Better side all night.
Have to question Beech’s sub choices yet again.
— Ross Parkinson (@parkinsonross) April 13, 2021
Frustrating point, loads of missed chances especially with exeter dropping points
— ℍa𝚛ʀ𝓲𝑠𝙤n̸🦊 (@FPL_Bot17) April 13, 2021