‘Sleep-walking towards non-league football’ – The Season So Far with Newport County

The next fan in the hot seat on our ‘Season So Far’ feature is Newport County’s Damon Brimble.

He’s answering our questions on the Exiles; if you want to feature for your team, drop us a DM on Twitter, @therealefl1.

How has this season been for your team?

Awful, at the time of writing we are 16th in League Two and on a shocking run of form, winning just four of our last twenty-one league games, we are also playing the worst brand of football I have seen at Rodney Parade. At the start of the season, the stated aim from the manager and players was to get promotion after going so close last year, having a clear penalty denied in the play-off final before losing 1-0 to Tranmere. The season did start well with results just not performances, after thirteen games we were third in the league but had not really played well since the opening 45 minutes against Mansfield on the opening day, coincidentally the last time we actually played passing football. A lot of the misfortune this season has been down to Michael Flynn’s awful recruitment, he signed players who aren’t good enough on two-year deals meaning we could be stuck with a sub-par squad for another season as the most arrogant man in Newport continues to refuse to accept responsibility for the mess he has created this season.

One of those problems is the sheer lack of goals, 31 scored in 34 games, previously despite what opposition managers said we played nice, fast attacking football and we scored goals, last season we even had over thirty shots in a game against Macclesfield, this season we probably haven’t had thirty shots since October. The long ball football we are now playing doesn’t work and everyone can see it apart from the most important person…the manager.

The way we have played since October when our luck ran out has seen us fall down the league and if it wasn’t for the problems faced by Bury, Macclesfield, Oldham and Stevenage being terrible we could have found ourselves sleep-walking towards non-league football this season.

Which game has been a particular high point and why?

Probably the 2-0 win at home to Swindon in January, it was a rare game for us this season because we actually looked partially competent. Swindon were set up to not get beat on a pitch that was starting to look worn, we started the game well going one up after 45 seconds and could have had two or three in the first half if we weren’t so profligate in front of goal, we deserved the win and it was made even more satisfying because of how annoying Swindon fans were in the city centre before the game. After that game fans thought we had got our mojo back, what has actually followed that game is a run of two wins, one draw and six defeats.

Which game has been a low point and why?

Hard to say because there has been some real dross this season, I will give two answers here, the low point of the season is the most recent game, the 5-0 defeat away to Oldham who 24 hours earlier were served with a winding-up petition and look on the brink of administration, to get your backside handed to you by a Graham Westley disciple is bad enough, but for the manager to come out and say it could have been nine, we have taken a few good beatings under Michael Flynn but this one felt different and I struggle to see a way back.

The second answer I will give is a game I saw, a 1-0 defeat at home to Cambridge, a performance that saw me very close to throwing my season ticket on the pitch, like usual we just booted the ball down the ground for 90 minutes never actually threatening the Cambridge goal, they had one shot in the second half which was such a simple save my dog could have made it but Tom King decided to make a dive so that he could get in the paper, and he did because he played it out beautifully to the Cambridge attacker to make it 1-0, we then did nothing for the remainder of the game and the team was audibly and deservedly booed off at full time.

Which player(s) is your Player of the Season so far and why?

Scot Bennett is the player of the season so far, he is the only player that can really hold their head up after April 25th and say I had a good season, if it wasn’t for him we would have lost a lot more than the thirteen games we have, he is such a versatile player and has done well at centre back and CDM this season and we always look more secure when he is playing, it is a major concern that his deal is up at the end of the season, he is one player who we just have to keep because without him we look even worse than we do now and considering Flynn’s recent record in the transfer market, if he leaves he will be replaced poorly.

Which player(s) have disappointed and why?

The entire side minus Bennett and Josh Sheehan has had a year they will want to forget quite soon after the Northampton game on the final day, the worst player this season though has been defender Ryan Inniss, on loan from Crystal Palace where I have about as much chance of breaking into the first team as he does. He is a walking yellow card, he cannot jump to win a header without fouling an attacker, also for someone who is quite a tall lad his aerial prowess in attacking situations is woeful, a part of me genuinely believes he has a heptagonal head. When he bit a West Ham U21 player earlier in the season we really should have gotten rid of him, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and we are stuck with the most nerve inducing player I have seen for 12 more games.

What are you expecting from the final two months of the season?

Twelve sub-par performances, I can see no scenario where we pick it up in the last twelve games, we aren’t going up and aren’t going down I would like to see Flynn finally give some of the younger players a game, for example, Lewis Collins and Dom Jeffries as they can’t be any worse than the players who have had 34 games, although that probably won’t happen, instead we will play terrible football and sneak one or two wins. Fans are already turning and good performances are needed to calm the waters. Without a stark change in mentality, we could be entering the last two months of the Michael Flynn era.

https://thelastsecondsport.wordpress.com/ Not so much a fan site but since it was asked on the Twitter DM, there is my website, The Last Second.

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