Newport County 2-1 Port Vale: Exiles fight back to beat promotion-chasing rivals

Newport County fought back to win for the second time in five days as late goals from Dom Telford and Finn Azaz earned them victory over promotion-chasing Port Vale at a rain-soaked Rodney Parade.

County came back from 2-0 down to beat 10-man Sutton United last Tuesday and they again showed their powers of recovery after Ben Garrity had given Port Vale a 1-0 half-time lead.

Telford, the League Two player of the month for November, returned to the starting XI having recovered from Covid to claim his 15th goal of the season, scoring for an eighth successive league match before Azaz completed the turnaround with a stunning winner.

After a cagey opening, Port Vale goalkeeper Lewis Covolan almost fumbled a deflected cross from Courtney Baker-Richardson into his own net.

That was a sign that conditions would make life difficult for the goalkeepers and Covolan’s opposite number Joe Day had a moment to forget in the 25th minute as he gifted the visitors the lead.

Ben Garrity, who scored both goals in Vale’s midweek win at Bristol Rovers, was the beneficiary.

Day could only push Dan Jones’s fizzing shot back to the on-rushing Garrity, who deftly lofted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.

In response, the Exiles were limited to strikes from distance with Aaron Lewis firing over the top and Azaz forcing Covolan into his first real save in the 41st minute.

Defender James Clarke then snatched at a chance from the resulting corner, flashing a shot wide after a scramble in the box.

James Rowberry sent on Lewis Collins in place of Baker-Richardson six minutes after the restart.

The youngster added an extra spark in attack and Telford got his seemingly inevitable goal on 69 minutes with a scrappy finish to a slick team goal.

Dom Telford of Newport County attempts a shot on goal

Lewis, Azaz and Cooper combined to find Telford at the near post and the striker’s flicked back-heel effort found the net off a defender and the upright.

The second was better as Azaz controlled a ball from Collins on his chest before firing it into the net on the volley to send the home crowd into raptures.

It was a goal good enough to win any match and there was no way back for Port Vale, who had Jones sent off three minutes from time.

Newport County: Day; Clarke, Dolan, Demetriou; Norman, Willmott, Azaz (Ellison, 89), Cooper; Telford (Bennett, 82), Baker-Richardson (Collins, 51). Subs not used: Townsend, Haynes, Upson, Ellison, Cain

Port Vale: Covolan; Cass, Smith, Legge (Benning, 78); Gibbons, Walker (Burgess, 64), Pett, Conlon, Jones; Garrity, Politic (Bailey, 74). Subs not used: Stone, Johnson, Martin, Amos

Referee: Paul Howard

Attendance : 4,074


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