Tranmere Rovers suffered their first home league defeat since their return to the EFL, falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Newport County.
Despite a late rally from Rovers, a fifth minute strikefrom Newport defender Fraser Franks was enough to gain all three points for the visitors.
Neither side had gained a proper foothold in the game when Newport took the lead. The ball was recycled into the box following a freekick, which caught out the Rovers defence - believing that County striker Padraig Amond was offside when he received the ball on the right of the area.
The visitors played on and Amond headed the ball across the box to Franks, who poked the ball past the appealing Manny Monthe and fired a low effort into the bottom left hand corner.
Newport were aiming to make amends for their shock 6-0 defeat at home to Yeovil in their previous league game and were almost two to the good within ten minutes when Antoine Semenyo robbed Monthe on the edge of the area and driving an effort across Scott Davies’ goal and past the far left post. Davies was then Tranmere’s saviour, showing great reflexes to tip a Mark O’Brien header over the bar after a corner.
Rovers struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities though Dylan Mottley-Henry came close as he latched onto a ball bouncing in the area, but his effort went into the side netting. Rovers should have been level eight minutes before the interval when Adam Buxton played a long ball over the top of the County defence releasing James Norwood through on goal, but his chipped effort landed on the roof of the net.
The second half began slowly, but 10 minutes in, the game came to life when the ball fell into visitor’s number-9 Amond’s path but his effort was tame and straight at Davies. Rovers immediately went down the other end and began to gain some momentum in search for their equaliser.
Substitute Larnell Cole won the ball in the box before cutting inside and hitting a shot which required a last ditched block to stop it hitting the target.
On several occasions the deliveries looked agonisingly close to reaching its target for the hosts, with Ollie Banks creating the most havoc in the area. After just evading Norwood’s head with a cross from the right, Banks broke free down the same flank before dinking it into the area causing County keeper Joe Day to come out into punch into the path of Cole but the bounce of the ball denied the sub to hit it into what would have been an empty net.
A teasing ball in by Jonny Smith forced Day into his first meaningful save of the match, tipping it round the post just as Bakayogo looked set to help it into the net at the back post.
Cole had the final chance of the game, hitting the ball on the half volley in the ‘D’, which Day did superbly to tip over the crossbar.
Team: Davies, Buxton, McNulty (capt.), Monthe, Bakayogo, Mottley-Henry (55 Mottley-Henry), McCullough, Banks, Jennings (55 Cole), Norwood, Mullin (72 Stockton) Subs not used: George, Ellis, Gilmour, Harris.
By Jake Mathot