Newport County 1-0 Bolton Wanderers: Exiles mark return to home by ending Wanderers unbeaten run 
Photo by Ian Cook - CameraSport

Newport County marked their first return to Rodney Parade in over a month by ending their three match losing streak with a hard fought victory over promotion rivals Bolton Wanderers.

The Exiles, who had played their last two home fixtures at the Cardiff City Stadium due to poor playing conditions at Rodney Parade, made the most of the still less than ideal playing surface and took all three points thanks to a second half strike from Nicky Maynard

Ian Evatt's side were left ruing a number of missed goal scoring opportunities as their 14 match unbeaten run came to an end. 

Story of the match 

Both sides came into the fixture having experienced contrasting recent runs of form, with Newport having lost their last three matches while high-flying Bolton had picked up a remarkable 34 points from the last 42 available to them, and it proved to be the inform visitors who made the more threating start to the game.  

Eoin Doyle came agonisingly close to giving the Wanderers the lead in just the fourth minute when his powerful volley came back off the cross-bar after getting his foot on the end of a dangerous Lloyd Isgrove cross.  

Not long after Doyle was again causing problems for the Exiles defence when he was played through on goal by Ricardo Santos and managed to get round goalkeeper Nick Townsend before forced to shoot from a tight angle and seeing his shot blocked by David Longe-King in the seventh minute.

Ian Evatt's team continued to dominate the game as the first half went on, again nearly taking the lead with 39 minutes gone when a loose pass round the back from Josh Sheehan gave the ball away to Isgrove who played a tantalising ball across the face of the Newport goal, which several Bolton players were just inches away from converting into the games opener. 

Moments later, Kieran Lee then missed comfortably the Whites’ best chance of the first period when he headed wide from just five yards out with the goal gapping after being played in by a cross from the right hand side by Gethin Jones

It would prove to be the hosts however who would break the deadlock when, against the run of play, Nicky Maynard smashed in from short range after Bolton goalkeeper Matt Gilks spilled a long range strike from Sheehan right into into his path in the 63rd minute.

Maynard then came close to doubling the lead for the Welsh side in the 78th minute when he attempted an audacious chipped effort from the edge of the box which forced an impressive quick save from Gilks. 

Bolton piled on the pressure in the final moments of the game in search of an equaliser but failed to create any clear cut chances, coming closest to salvaging a point in the 96th minute when a deep cross from Declan John caused a scramble on the goal line from which the Wanderers momentarily though they had scored before seeing their appeals waved away by the officials. 

The three points see County remain in seventh place in the league table just four points outside of the automatic promotion spots, while Bolton fall to fourth place. 

Man of the match -  Nick Townsend 

The Newport shot stopper failed to put a foot wrong on a day where his goal seemed to be under constant pressure. 

The 26-year-old produced important saves to deny Doyle, Nathan Delfouneso and George Thomason in the first half and manged to stay calm when the pressure rose as Bolton searched for an equaliser in the games closing moments. 

Townsend especially showed notable grit and determination to prevent the ball from crossing the line during the matches last minute goal line scramble, when almost every Bolton player descended on him to try and force into the back of his net.