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May 18, 2021 at 8.15pm UK
NewportNewport County
Forest GreenForest Green Rovers
Dolan (31'), Collins (56')
Sheehan (45+1')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Bernard (19')

Preview: Newport County vs. Forest Green Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Newport County vs. Forest Green Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's League Two clash between Newport County and Forest Green Rovers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Newport County and Forest Green Rovers head into the first leg of their League Two playoff semi-final having ended the regular campaign on the same amount of points.

While the home side have put together a five-match unbeaten streak, the visitors posted back-to-back wins to earn a spot in the top six.

Match preview

Although there have been times this season when Newport were in contention for automatic promotion, a strong finish was required to claim a place in the playoffs.

Eleven points were collected from five fixtures, a period which included a pivotal 1-0 victory over champions Cheltenham Town.

A point at relegated Southend United earned County fifth position rather than seventh, ensuring that they avoided in-form Morecambe.

Nevertheless, despite conceding just three goals in nine matches, Michael Flynn knows that his side can ill-afford any complacency at this stage of the campaign.

Remarkably, none of this squad have scored more than six strikes all season, the team reliant on three goals in as many games from defender Mickey Demetriou during the run-in.

Having made the decision to replace Mark Cooper with Under-18s boss Jimmy Ball on an interim basis, the Forest Green hierarchy were taking what they considered to be a calculated risk.

With 10 points being collected from their final six matches, the gamble has paid off thus far, and Ball will be increasingly confident of achieving an unlikely promotion.

Forest Green's three victories since Ball's appointment have been through strong second-half performances, the last outing against Oldham Athletic seeing three goals netted after the hour mark.

At a time when just three strikes have been conceded in five encounters, the signs are there that Rovers are peaking at the right time as they bid to move into League One for the first time in their history.

Aaron Collins has contributed three goals and an assist during his last two appearances, match-winning performances after going 11 fixtures without finding the back of the net.

Newport County League Two form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

Forest Green Rovers League Two form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Having avoided defeat since April 20, Flynn is expected to keep changes to his Newport side down to a minimum.

Matthew Dolan, County's joint top goalscorer, is an option in a three-man backline, but preference is likely to be given to the trio which started against Southend.

Forest Green will have to make do without Ebou Adams after the midfielder was dismissed for two yellow cards against Tranmere Rovers.

While Scott Wagstaff could drop back into the centre of the pitch, Ball will give consideration to handing a fourth start of the season to Isaac Hutchinson.

Newport County possible starting lineup:
King; Shephard, Bennett, Demetriou; Lewis, Labadie, Sheehan, Hartigan, Haynes; Collins, Amond

Forest Green Rovers possible starting lineup:
McGee; Godwin-Malife, Stokes, Cargill; Wilson, Moore-Taylor, Hutchinson, Collins; Davison, Wagstaff

We say: Newport County 2-1 Forest Green Rovers

Both teams will feel that they have momentum heading into this fixture, something which should lead to a quality contest playing out in South Wales. While the visitors would be satisfied with a share of the spoils, we are backing the home side to edge this fixture by the odd goal in three.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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League Two Table
1 4624101261392282
2 462481473492480
3 462310135950979
4 462391469581178
5 4620131357421573
6 462013135951873
7 462013135550573
8 4619141354342071
9 4618161271502170
10 461812166051966
11 461710195355-261
12 461613175662-661
13 46179205757060
14 461418144141060
15 461611194853-559
16 461319145755258
17 46169215261-957
18 46159227281-954
19 461120154553-853
20 461118174461-1751
21 461311225359-650
22 46139244164-2348
23 461015212958-2945
24 461013233769-3243
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