Date: 21st February 2017 at 9:49pm
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The last time Newport County entertained Morecambe was in early December last year, when the game was rained-off at half time with the Exiles winning one-nil. This is one of the few times the Welsh club have got the better of the Shrimps – with the exception of the game at the Globe Arena in January 2016 which County won 1-2, Morecambe have a perfect record against them, having won all of their previous five meetings home and away. Ex-Preston North End manager Graham Westley named only one of the same players -goalkeeper Joe Pipe – who lined-up against Morecambe last year in Tuesday night`s encounter at Rodney Parade. He was arguably lucky to be able to name Mitchell Rose – the brother of Spurs` England full back Danny – in tonight`s squad. Rose was sent off against Cambridge United last Saturday but it was rescinded on appeal even though the player deliberately knocked the red card out of the referee`s hand at the time.

Since the abandonment, County have remained consistently at the bottom of League Two and their record of only one win so far this year out of nine matches and far too many draws- five – does not augur well for the Exile`s chances of remaining in the EFL. As the seemingly never ending saga of who actually owns Morecambe Football Club continues to rumble on in the Courts, Manager Jim Bentley again had to disregard this side-show and concentrate on the game in hand in south Wales.

On a mud heap – or arguably sand pit – of a pitch, Newport put the ball in the net after ten minutes or so but the effort was ruled-out for offside. A few minutes later, what looked like a decent appeal for handball by the Exiles was not given by referee to the severe displeasure of the home crowd. As County pressed forward, Barry Roche made two good saves from Craig Reid during the next few minutes. After two shots had been blocked by the Shrimps` defence, the ball fell to Aaron Williams at the far post after nineteen minutes and he gave Newport what their more positive approach so far deserved: the lead with a simple tap-in. The goal seemed to wake the visitors up and they started to increasingly take the game to their hosts as the first half wore on and Ryan Edwards` header from a Michael Rose corner may just have been giving a helping hand to go over the bar by an Exiles defender with half an hour or so played. Despite no less than five corners during the first 45 minutes, though, Morecambe couldn`t reduce the arrears so the teams went in at half time with the score the same as it had been last December: one-nil to the hosts.

As a strong wind and thin rain swept across Rodney Parade, the Shrimps` started to accrue more corners right from the start of the second period as they laboured to get on terms with the bottom of the table team. A surface regularly pounded by Newport Gwent Dragons` huge Rugby Union players as well as football studs didn`t help them to play their usual fluent passing game of late though and the Exiles` more direct approach kept them in charge right until the 65th minute when Michael Rose beat Joe Day in the Newport net all ends up with a tremendous left footed free-kick from a long way out. As the unfortunate Tom Owen-Evans – whose goal against the Shrimps in December was his first ever in the EFL but was written out of the record books when the match was abandoned – was introduced to add a new impetus to their attack with twenty minutes left, Newport made some attempt to try and take the initiative again. To no avail. The nearest they came was when Barry Roche produced another top-drawer save to keep out a shot which was deflected off Ryan Edwards with just ten minutes left. At the other end, Aaron Wildig had a couple of half chances as well but as the noisy Welsh crowd encouraged their team on, the game petered out into a pretty sterile draw. This will suit the visitors far more than it does County: they need three points not just a single one in the desperate situation they find themselves in. The result sees Newport six points away from safety. Morecambe, meanwhile, consolidate their relatively comfortable fifteenth position in the League Two table.

Newport County: 1 Joe Day; 18 David Pipe; 25 Mark O`Brien(Y) (20 Tom Owen-Evans 71 mins); 28 Mickey Demetriou; 3 Dan Butler; 41 Aaron Williams (42 Jaanai Gordon 79 mins); 23 Michael Flynn (C); 15 Alex Samuel; 38 Mitchell Rose; 40 Ryan Bird; 9 Craig Reid (13 Marlon Jackson 90 mins).

Subs not used: 30 James Bittner; 14 Paul Bignot; 22 Keiran Parselle; 24 Flo Bojaj.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 2 Liam Wakefield; 5 Ryan Edwards; 16 Alex Whitmore; 17 Andy Fleming; 14 Luke Conlan (10 Lee Molyneux 83 mins); 24 Michael Rose(C); 11 Kevin Ellison; 18 Rhys Turner; 15 Aaron Wildig (21 Antony Evans 83 mins); 7 Paul Mullin (3 Aaron McGowan 70mins).

Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 27 Luke Jordan; 27 Luke Jordan; 25 Ben Hedley.
Ref: Graham Salisbury