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10 August 2021

Three make debuts as dominant Blues fall to narrow defeat

Town were made to rue their missed chances as they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Newport County.

The Blues hit the post twice and saw a header cleared off the line in a game they largely dominated but Timmy Abraham's early improvised finish proved to be the difference at Portman Road.

Paul Cook made 10 changes to the side who drew at home to Morecambe in the opening game of the 2021/22 campaign, Luke Woolfenden the only player to retain his place.

Last Friday's signings, Louie Barry and Sone Aluko, joined Academy graduate Cameron Humphreys in making their debuts for the Club.

Armando Dobra was inches away from giving Town the perfect start to the game inside the opening three minutes but his low shot from just inside the D rebounded off the foot of the post.

Armando Dobra vs Newport County (H).jpg

The visitors moved into an early lead a minute later as Finn Azaz' cross was met by a deft flick from Abraham which beat the planted Tomas Holy.

In what was a frantic start to the game, Blues went close twice in quick succession to an instant equaliser, Dobra forcing Nick Townsend into an impressive reaction save before Macauley Bonne's header bounced onto the roof of the net; skipper for the night Janoi Donacien the architect on both occasions.

The home side continued to dominate, Aluko miskicking fellow debutant Barry's pull-back before Bonne couldn't divert Bailey Clements' powerful and rising drive goalwards.

On 20 minutes, Humphreys beat a man before playing a pinpoint pass out to Clements, who saw his dangerous low cross deflected off Newport 'skipper James Clarke into the grateful arms of Townsend.

Cameron Humphreys vs Newport County (H).jpg

Town were denied by the woodwork again after half an hour, Bonne hitting the outside of the post from a tight angle following Aluko's in-swinging corner.

Some fast feet from Aluko deceived a defender before Donacien's cross was headed wide by Bonne, Idris El Mizouni seeing a clever free-kick turned around the post a few moments later.

Town started the second half like they ended the first by mounting continuous pressure on the Newport defence, Barry blazing over from a tight angle before Bonne's celebrations following a header into the back of the net were halted by the offside flag.

Dobra was the next to try his luck, the Albanian's curling effort from 25 yards being acrobatically tipped around the post by Townsend. 

The Blues continued to create chances but repeatedly find themselves denied by last-ditch defensive efforts from the visitors, Dobra's close range strike being parried before Kayden Jackson's rebound header was miraculously cleared off the line by an overhead kick.

James Norwood headed onto the roof of the net five minutes later, appearing to injure himself in the process as the striker walked straight down the tunnel, meaning Town would finish the game with 10 men.

Donacien headed over a late El Mizouni corner as the visitors held on to book their place in round two.

Booked: Aluko, Livermore, Collins.

Town: Holy, Donacien (C), Woolfenden, Ndaba, Clements, El Mizouni, Humphreys, Dobra, Barry (Norwood 64), Aluko (Fraser 56), Bonne (Jackson 64).

Subs: Hladky, Armin, Alexander, Ward.

Newport: Townsend, Clarke (C), Lewis, Hall, Abraham, Azaz (Collins 65), Ellison (Telford 73), Missilou, Greenidge, Woodiwiss, Livermore (Upson 54).

Subs: Ovendale, Hillier, Lewis, Karadogan.

Attendance: 6154.

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