Fri 04 Jan 13
at 21:45 PM
Newport County AFC 1 Wrexham 1
Wrexham held firm in the face of intense second half Newport pressure to ensure honours ended even in a rip-roaring Welsh derby.
Joslain Mayebi saved Andy Sandell’s 27th minute penalty before Danny Wright made Newport pay for that miss with a sublime 34th minute opener.
However, Max Porter’s 56th minute deflected effort earned the hosts a point, although they will probably feel they did enough to earn all three as they laid siege to the reds goal for long spells in the second half.
Wrexham more than played their part in a great advert for the Conference and could have headed back to North Wales with all three points had Cieslewicz's header crept in instead of smashing against the post.
The derby got off in typical feisty fashion - successive bookings on either side and tackles aplenty.
However, after 19 minutes Wrexham fashioned the first genuine chance. The ball fell to Joe Clarke on the edge of the box and his volley, hit first time, shaved Alan Julian’s left-hand post.
Newport sprang into life and Aaron O’Connor forced Mayebi into a fine low save after leaving Martin Riley for dust.
The hosts kept their foot on the gas and were awarded a penalty after Danny Alfei hacked down O’Connor at the by-line.
Andy Sandell stepped up but his spot kick was the perfect height for Mayebi to lean to his right and beat to safety.
After surviving that let-off Wrexham seized the moment when Joe Clarke’s clearance header fell to Cieslewicz. The Pole gained a few yards before sending a lovely ball for Wright to run into space on the inside-right channel. The in-form striker beat his defender for pace and clipped the ball over Alan Julian to send the travelling fans crazy.
It was a devastatingly simple counter-attack, but one which County had no answer to.
In added time, O’Connor wasted a glorious chance to send the sides into the break level, lashing his shot well-wide after the Reds defence allowed him to bring the ball down off his chest inside the box.
Wrexham threatened early after the restart but their hearts were in mouths when Michael Flynn’s header was goal-bound, however Clarke was on the line to clear the danger.
The hosts, buoyed by their noisy support, continued to enjoy the better of the early exchanges to the second half. The equaliser came and in fortuitous circumstances.
Wrexham failed to clear their lines and, with nothing else on, Porter’s hopeful shot took a deflection of a Reds defender and looped wickedly over Mayebi.
In the 77th minute, Cieslewicz almost scored with his head for the second game running, but this time he could only watch as his effort crashed against the post after Exiles stopper Julian failed to gather a deep cross from the left.
Just before five minutes of added time was announced both sides wasted glorious chances.
First County substitute Danny Crow side-footed into Mayebi’s arms from 10 yards, before Nick Rushton flashed a fierce shot across goal.
Michael Flynn headed against the bar as the hosts ramped up the pressure in search of a late winner but Wrexham held firm to collect a battling point.
Wrexham: Mayebi, Alfei, Riley, Westwood, Ashton; Harris (Ogleby 65), Hunt, Clarke, Keates; Cieslewicz (Rushton 86); Wright.
Subs: Coughlin, Little, Walker.
Referee: Karl Evans (Lancashire)
Newport: Porter, Sandell
Wrexham: D Wright, Mayebi