Kevin Nolan made three changes to the side that faced Carlisle in midweek, full backs Matt Tootle and Dan Jones making way for Nicky Hunt and Carl Dickinson, while the absent Shola Ameobi was replaced by Jorge Grant.
The home side had a chance to open the scoring within a minute of kick-off, Padraig Amond turning the ball over the bar after Dan Butler had set up Robbie Willmott to cross from the left. But Notts soon got a grip on proceedings, creating their first opportunity on six minutes when Dickinson got to the byline and crossed the ball low towards the near post. Jon Stead was there to meet it but he couldn’t open up his foot enough to guide the ball the right side of the post. A minute later, Liam Noble played an excellent ball over the top which Stead won the race to reach. He guided the ball beyond the onrushing Joe Day but a defender was on hand to clear. Stead went close once again shortly afterwards, again latching on to a Dickinson cross from the left. This time, Stead appeared to get the faintest of touches with his head but he couldn’t divert the ball goalwards. Elliott Hewitt saw his low, 25-yard curler pushed out for a throw by Day before the crowd had to wait until the 36th minute for the next action of note, David Pipe entering the referee’s notebook following a mistimed challenge on Dickinson. Amond blazed over from a difficult angle and Grant bent a 25-yard free-kick wide of the post shortly before two minutes were added on at the end of a scrappy first half. But there was to be no breakthrough before the break as the sides retreated to the changing rooms with the game locked at 0-0.
There were no changes at the break and, but for Stead seeing yellow after clashing with Mark O’Brien, it was a quiet start to the second half. Grant curled an effort over the angle of post and crossbar from the corner of the area as the game reached the hour, and the Forest loanee produced some sublime skill to set up a hat-trick of chances for his side with 20 minutes to play, skipping by his defender to come into the area from the left before seeing his shot blocked. Lewis Alessandra was then denied on the rebound before Noble lifted the ball over the bar with a shot that appeared to take a deflection off a Newport man. The officials gave a goal kick and the chance was gone. Nolan’s first change saw Matty Virtue replace Noor Husin in a straight central midfield swap and the substitute set Stead up for a left-footed, long-range curler with nine minutes to play. Day did well to hold on to the ball low down with Notts players poised to pounce on any rebounds. Noble was then replaced by Jonathan Forte shorlty before Richard Duffy did well to divert Joss Labadie’s header wide. Four minutes were added on at the end of the match, towards the end of which Notts forced a succession of corners. But there was to be no breakthrough as the game ended goalless.
Newport County: Day, O’Brien, White, Demetriou, Pipe, Tozer, Labadie, Butler, Willmott, Amond (Nouble 64), McCoulsky (Jackson 64).
Booked: Pipe, Labadie.
Notts County: Collin, Hunt, Hall, Duffy, Dickinson, Noble (Forte 82), Hewitt, Husin (Virtue 73), Grant, Stead, Alessandra.