Newport County’s automatic promotion hopes suffered a major setback as they were beaten 2-1 by League Two strugglers Port Vale.
Prior to this clash at Vale Park the hosts hadn’t won since January 30, having taken a mere three points from their last 24 games, but they were able to overcome a lacklustre Newport outfit. The Exiles had plenty of chances to return to south Wales with all three points, but their wastefulness proved to be their undoing.
Jake Scrimshaw claimed Newport’s only goal of the night, with Tom Conlon and Davante Rodney finding the back of the net for the Valiants.
Newport fell behind after 11 minutes when David Worrall beat Mickey Demetriou down the right before picking out Conlon at the edge of the box. The midfielder side-footed it low past the keeper from 12 yards out to put the hosts into the lead.
This proved to be a wake-up call for the Exiles who began to grow into the game as the first half drew to a close. And they came close to an equaliser when Port Vale defender Cristian Montano misjudged a header at the back post.
The ball drifted towards Joss Labadie who pulled it across the face of the goal, but there wasn’t a Newport player able to take advantage. Just on the stroke of half-time Matty Dolan found himself unmarked with a chance to test Scott Brown, but his shot was fired over the crossbar meaning the Exiles turned around 1-0 behind.
They came close again when Ryan Taylor slammed a shot against the bar from outside the box. But the Exiles finally got their just rewards when a tremendous cross from Demetriou found Scrimshaw unmarked, who proceeded to tuck the ball into the net.
Scrimshaw’s arrival for the second half was proving to be a masterstroke of a substitution from Michael Flynn as the striker caused havoc with his electric pace. County pushed hard for a winner but were caught napping in the 74th minute.
Worrall found space for Port Vale on the right before crossing low to Nathan Smith whose shot was blocked. But the ball was only scrambled away to Rodney who forced it home from 12 yards out.
Newport pushed hard for a late equaliser, but they just weren’t good enough in front of goal.