That was another dreadful first half from Newcastle. While we’ve had the bulk of possession and more shots than Newport, the hosts are playing with much more continuity and confidence.
Newcastle played in a 4-2-3-1 with Ryan Fraser on the left and Jacob Murphy on the right. The Magpies had much of the ball to start but some lackadaisical play led to a shock 1-0 start for the Exiles.
The hosts took the early lead inside of 5 minutes and it was poor from Newcastle. Right-winger Scott Twine rifled a shot from distance that rebounded off the crossbar. The ball was not dealt with as Tristan Abrahams delivered a follow-up effort that bounded off Mark Gillespie and into the net.
Newcastle continued to have much of the ball but failed to create many clear cut chances. Jacob Murphy decided to take matters into his own hands and forced Newport keeper Nick Townsend into two saves with shots from distance just after the 20-minute mark.
Just after the half-hour point, Newcastle picked up the pace a bit with a few runs and crosses into the box. However, nobody was able to latch onto any of the deliveries and Newport handled the danger.
Newcastle’s best chance thus far came in the 39th minute when Javier Manquillo launched a cross from the right that Ryan Fraser headed back across goal. The ball landed to Jonjo Shelvey about six yards out but he fluffed his shot and it rolled harmlessly to Townsend.
Newport closed the half pushing for a second. They had two good chances with shots from inside the box but both were hit too high and didn’t threaten Gillespie.
Jacob Murphy has been the best Magpie so far and there have been some poor performances from some of his teammates. They need to come out with much more urgency and tenacity in the second half or this is going to be an abysmal defeat.