Conference Premier Play-Off Final
5 May 2013 - 3:00 PM
Newport County AFC will be plying their trade in npower League Two next season after edging out Welsh rivals Wrexham in the Blue Square Bet Premier Promotion Play-Off final at Wembley today.
The old Newport club fell out of the League twenty-five years ago, but now the new version follow AFC Wimbledon as fans` clubs moving up from the Football Conference.
To be perfectly honest, the first 45 minutes was instantly forgettable as nerves seemed to affect both sides and also the slowness of the `Hallowed Turf` was attributable to numerous passes failing to find their target.
Wrexham`s veteran former striker Brett Ormerod was the liveliest forward from either side, and he twice went close with shots from the edge of the box and forced County`s ex-Watford keeper Lenny Pidgeley into a couple of comfortable saves.
Little was seen of the Newport attack, although Christian Jolley curled a decent effort inches wide just before the break.
However, the second half was a completely different affair and was end-to-end.
Lee Minshull tested Wrexham keeper Chris Maxwell with a header from an Andy Sandell free-kick and Alex Gilbey also went close.
County were fortunate to survive a scare midway through the half when player boss Andy Morrell, who found the going tough, forced Pidgeley into a fine save and then Ormerod should have done better with the rebound.
Pidgeley saved well from Lee Hunt, but just as everyone was preparing themselves for extra-time, County grabbed the lead 4 minutes from time.
Sandell`s long ball forward was headed on by Dave Artell into the path of Jolley, who steadied himself with his first touch and then hammered the ball past Maxwell.
The Dragons poured forward in search of an equaliser and forced several corners and free-kicks which keeper Maxwell was up for.
But just as the fourth official announced 4 minutes of injury-time, Newport grabbed a second and decisive goal, this time with Jolley as provider for the pacey Aaron O`Connor, on as a substitute, and he fired home at the second attempt after Maxwell had blocked his initial effort.
It was perhaps cruel on Wrexham to lose so late on, but arguably, although Wrexham just about edged the possession stats, Newport were worthy winners.