League leaders put five past beleaguered Saints

Newport County 5 (Gary Warren 23, Craig Reid 68, 82, Foley 90, Collins 90) St Albans City 0 James Ronayne at Spytty Park LATE goals made the scoreline harsh on St Albans City as they suffered their biggest loss of the season at runaway league leaders Ne

Newport County 5 (Gary Warren 23, Craig Reid 68, 82, Foley 90, Collins 90)

St Albans City 0

James Ronayne at Spytty Park

LATE goals made the scoreline harsh on St Albans City as they suffered their biggest loss of the season at runaway league leaders Newport County.

Steve Castle's young side, which finished with two 17-year-olds in Rob Magwood and Ross Dedman in midfield, gave a good account of themselves in the first hour but tired as the game wore on allowing Newport to put a gloss on the scoreline.

Although Newport were far from their best, it was clear to see why they are currently runaway leaders. Their attack is vibrant, has pace in abundance and is clinical in front of goal. At the other end their defence, boosted by the debut of former Torquay defender Chris Todd, is miserly with Glyn Thompson hardly troubled during this match.

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City's travail this season has been their lack of a cutting edge in the final third. Castle attempted to rectify this by giving a debut to new signing Chris Sullivan. The former Canvey Island, AFC Wimbledon and Stevenage man looked lively early on showing several neat touches and carving out a couple of half chances. He showed what he could offer City 10 minutes in turning Paul Bignot on the halfway line and using his pace to ease past the Newport right back only for his cross to be claimed by Thompson.

Sullivan displayed good strength to hold off the attentions of a Newport defender and tee up Gary Cohen but he shot straight at Thompson from 20 yards.

Up to this point Newport had enjoyed plenty of possession but had failed to test Bastock. They did however show what they were capable of when they went a lick of paint away from taking the lead.

Kerry Morgan's free kick was allowed to reach Todd at the far post who volleyed against the crossbar. There were three Newport players lined up at the far post but somehow the ball evaded them and the danger was over.

Frater forced Thompson into action a few minutes later when he headed forcefully towards goal from Smith's free kick but the County stopper plucked the ball out of the air.

Out of nowhere Dean Holdsworth's side took the lead and in most fortuitous circumstances as well.

The lively Morgan drove at the City defence down the left forcing Smith to concede a corner. Morgan swung the corner over left footed but Bastock looked well set to claim the ball. That was until Todd stuck out a leg and impeded the goalkeeper allowing Todd's central defensive partner Gary Warren to volley home into the empty net from eight yards.

Bastock was unhappy that no free kick was given and was still talking to the officials as they trudged off at the break.

That said City should have been level almost instantly. A free kick from Smith on halfway was pumped long towards Frater. The City skipper was unmarked but his header was blocked and Sullivan's follow-up shot was denied by a smart save from Thompson.

Referee Andy Newell then went about filling his notebook taking Danny Johnson, Magwood and Smith's names for a series of niggly fouls though Magwood has every right to feel aggrieved.

The half ended with a Roberts free kick causing some panic in the Newport box with Cohen's shot deflected behind for a corner by Todd.

Newport looked a different side after the break and missed chances from Dave Gilroy and a 25-yard drive from Danny Rose that hit Cohen were merely warning signs.

Reid, the league's leading marksman, had been quiet in the opening half but it was a different story in the second period. First came the sighter, Reid receiving a free kick with his back to goal before spinning his marker and dragging his shot across the face of the goal.

With his sights now re-adjusted Reid needed no second invite to double Newport's lead in the 68th minute.

Roberts' pass back to James Quilter on halfway failed to reach the City right-back and as soon as substitute Sam Foley evaded Frater's challenge just inside the City half, Castle's side were in trouble. The Newport striker advanced towards the box before squaring to Reid who stabbed the ball home from close range.

The goal came at some cost for City with Bastock and Smith colliding in an attempt to stop Reid from scoring. After a lengthy spell of treatment Smith was replaced by Justin Clayton while Bastock limped his way through the rest of the game.

Sub Foley was causing City all sorts of trouble and the striker was only denied a third Newport goal by a good save from a diving Bastock.

City were now struggling to get out of their own half and sloppy play from Cohen gifted Morgan possession. The on-loan Swansea man fed a clever pass to Reid but he pulled his shot wide of Bastock's right hand upright.

It was only a temporary set back for Reid though with the Newport striker grabbing his second goal eight minutes from time.

City were the architects of their own downfall with Frater gifting Morgan possession midway inside the City half. Morgan fed Scott Rogers who in turn played the ball to Reid. Reid is an adroit finisher and with his back to goal, the former Coventry man spun Clayton before rifling the ball past Bastock.

The goal seemed to dent City's confidence and in turn opened the floodgates for Newport.

Reid then turned provider as Newport netted a fourth in the 92nd minute.

Bastock, on his backside, did well to force Reid wide but was unable to prevent the cross coming in. With Bastock prone, Foley beat the static defence to rise highest and nod the ball into the empty net.

City's miserable end to the game was completed when Jamie Collins was allowed to turn home Rose's corner at the near post in the 96th minute.

Man of the Match: Rob Magwood.

Newport County: Thompson; Bignot, Warren, Todd, Collins; Rose, Henry (Nicholls 57), Rogers (Morris 84), Morgan; Reid, Gilroy (Foley 57)

Subs: Cochlin, Blackburn.

St Albans City: Bastock; Quilter, Everitt, Frater, Smith (Clayton 71); Fisher, Johnson (Dedman 75), Magwood; Sullivan; Cohen, Roberts.

Subs: McLachlan, Wheeler, McWeeney.

Referee: Andy Newell (North Yate)

Att: 1412