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On our knees – Graham Coughlan says Newport have ‘run out of energy and ideas’

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Apr 2024

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Newport manager Graham Coughlan admits his injury-hit side are producing “feeble, weak” performances as they suffered a sixth successive defeat after going down 2-1 at home to Tranmere.

Top scorer Will Evans, who was forced to fill in at left wing-back, headed the Exiles in front with his 25th goal of the season in the 20th minute.

But Coughlan’s men could not build on that bright start and a first-half double from Rob Apter was enough to seal all three points for the visitors.

“We are a team that is on our knees, we’ve run out of energy and ideas, and we haven’t got the leaders that we need on the pitch to help the young ones through,” said Coughlan, who handed an EFL debut to 17-year-old centre-back Nelson Sanca and named four other teenagers on the bench.

“Everything that can go wrong is going wrong. That’s not a true reflection on us, but I would expect better from certain individuals.

“It’s tough to take and tough to watch to be honest – what other manager in the Football League would have to put their top goalscorer in at left-back?

“We are just limping to the end of the season and it’s in the face of adversity that you learn about characters and resilience, those that really want it and dig deep.

“We don’t have the energy, legs, snap and zest to our play that we used to have,” added the Exiles boss.

“We had it for about half an hour but in the second half of games we just can’t get going.

“It’s sad watching us but that is not a true reflection of our group, those who have followed us all season will understand that. We are feeble, weak and not ourselves.”

Tranmere manager Nigel Adkins was delighted with the spirit his side showed, as they secured the club’s first win at Rodney Parade on their sixth visit to climb up to 17th.

“I’m really pleased,” he said. “We responded really well to going behind early on.

“We knew we could give them problems on the counter-attack and Robbie Apter scored two great goals.

“I left him on to give him a chance to get his hat-trick; he didn’t get it, but he is a joy to watch.

“We could have scored a few more, but we managed the game really well.”

And Adkins said a first win in five games is proof that his players are not on the beach yet.

“There were no deckchairs out – not in this wind and rain,” he joked.

“We were at it; we’ve got to be competitive, and we were. The lads gave it everything and we deserved the win.”

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