Newport County travelled to Fairwood yesterday to face Championship side Swansea City in their fourth pre-season outing in preparation for the 2023/24 League Two campaign.
The game ended in a comfortable win for the hosts as they put five goals past their League Two opposition without reply. Gaining fitness of course is the expectation for these kinds of games but aside from that, what else did Newport learn from yesterday’s result?
A Strong Defensive Line
Throughout the first half, The Exiles were able to hold Swansea City back, not conceding until the 51st minute of the match. This was largely due to the great work ethic of new signing Kyle Jameson and the trialists present.
Swansea dominated the early exchanges but were left frustrated until they finally broke the deadlock in the second half. The defending in the first half will be great news to Newport manager Graham Coughlan, a defensive-minded coach, in the build-up to the new season.
The Squad Lacks Attacking Depth
Whilst the players Newport have signed this summer have improved their chances of survival this season, there was a clear lack of options on the bench available to attempt to turn the game around, mainly in the attacking areas.
The usual target man Omar Bogle was nowhere to be seen in the line-up or on the bench, so there had been a reliance on Nepalese forward Kiban Rai to be the target man. However, with the only options being youth players to naturally fit that role on the bench, it always seemed unlikely that the visitors would be able to trouble the Swansea defence.
The New Signings Have Settled Quickly
Summer signings Kyle Jameson, Bryn Morris, Shane McLoughlin and Matty Bondswell all started the match and played a major role in Newport’s first half clean sheet.
The other additions also seemed to have a positive impact on the play, which is a major boost heading into next season.
Fitness Levels Are Improving Quickly
One of the main goals of the pre-season campaign is to nurture the players back to fitness following their summer break, and it’s clear to see Newport have got a great level of fitness already.
With just over two weeks until the season starts. Jameson, Morris, Sam Bowen and Nick Townsend all played the full 90 minutes, whilst the others played just over 60 minutes. This is a very promising sign and shows that the work being done on the training ground is benefitting the players.
Concentration Needs To Improve
A loss to a side two tiers above you is acceptable, especially after contesting with them for over half the game, but to then go on to concede five? Not acceptable.
Whilst there are plenty of positives to take from the match, the way that the team capitulated after the opening goal will be a cause for concern and one that will surely be addressed in the coming weeks.
However, if there is ever an ideal time for moments like this to occur, it is pre-season.