Jamille Matt's second-half leveller secured a point for Forest Green Rovers in a 1-1 draw against Newport County at the innocent New Lawn.
Head Coach Mark Cooper made three changes to his starting line-up from last Tuesday’s victory over Southend United. Liam Kitching, Aaron Collins and Jayden Richardson all earned their place in the eleven – replacing Kane Wilson, Odin Bailey and Dan Sweeney.
Newport started the encounter sharply – and were impressive in their early efforts to break the deadlock. On-loan Rotherham United striker Jamie Proctor rose the highest inside the penalty area, nodding his chance wide of the mark – before Matt Dolan powered his header well over the bar.
Rovers began to grow into the match and were perhaps unlucky not to be awarded a penalty with just fifteen minutes on the clock. Udoka Godwin-Malife sprinted into the 18-yard box and looked to have been fouled with the ball at his feet, but referee Ben Toner waved away the protests.
The home side continued to apply pressure to the Exiles back-line, with Collins were nearly rewarded for his efforts. The former Newport County man connected with Richardson’s impressive cutback, only for Nick Townsend to stick out his outstretched leg to deny the Welshman’s low effort.
Michael Flynn’s side seized their opportunity to head into the interval a goal to the good. Skipper Joss Labadie was adjudged to have been fouled in the area, with the referee pointing straight to the penalty spot. Tristian Abrahams stepped up – and despite Luke McGee’s efforts, the forward slotted his effort into the back of the net.
Mark Cooper’s charges found the leveller with fifteen minutes remaining. Matty Stevens proved to be an instant impact from the substitute bench, with a low, powerful cross into the box and former Exiles forward Jamille Matt was on hand to send the ball beyond Townsend.
Forest Green XI: McGee, Stokes, Kitching, Winchester (Stevens 75), Adams, Collins, Cadden (Bailey 64), Matt, Moore-Taylor, Godwin-Malife, Richardson.
Unused subs: Thomas, Wilson, Sweeney, Whitehouse, Wagstaff
Newport County XI: Townsend, Haynes, Labadie (Janneh), Cooper, Dolan, Sheehan, Abrahams (Twine), Bennett, Proctor (Amond 63), Demetriou, Shepherd.
Unused subs: King, Willmott, Devitt, Ellison.
Referee: Ben Toner