Luke Emery was our match-winner as Daventry Town recorded our 17th successive game without defeat in the Premier Division, converting a first-half penalty as we edged past Newport Pagnell Town in a tight game at Willen Road.
The striker displayed nerves of steel to roll the ball home from 12 yards in the 8th minute for the only goal of the game, after Kieran Fitzgerald had been upended by Michael Lyon.
It secured back-to-back 1-0 wins on a Saturday, in the Premier Division, eights points clear and 13 clean sheets all making for happy reading in the latter stages of this 2018-19 campaign.
The amount of chances created in the first half were very few and far between, but we just converted one of them as we started brightly.
In the fifth minute, when Fitzgerald cut inside and hit a fierce 25-yard drive that fizzed over. And the winger’s positive attitude reaped rewards just three minutes later when he picked up the ball on the right, attacked the Pagnell defence and as he broke into the box, he was tripped by Lyon. The referee did point to the spot.
Up stepped Emery, and he was calmness personified to stroke the ball past Mark Osborn for his fourth goal in four competitive games.
Tom McGowan won the ball with a strong challenge in middle of the pitch, Adam Confue picked up possession and drove into Pagnell half, cut inside and fired low but it was a comfortable save for Osborn diving to his left, after 15 minutes.
Ten minutes before the break, the hosts carved out their first opportunity when a quick break fell to Dominic Lawless, and his first time shot was blocked by Rico Alexander.
We saw plenty of possession as our midfield worked hard to deny Pagnell any time on the ball and were patient with it, taking time to create the few chances which did come. and on 40 minutes, McGowan had the best opportunity of the half.
Fitzgerald clipped over a corner towards the far stick which McGowan powerfully headed goal bound, but was acrobatically saved and the loose ball gathered gratefully by Osborn.
The hosts were on the backfoot for much of the half but they still carried a threat going forward, illustrated when Lawless dragged a shot wide when the striker had more time then he thought, right on the break.
Newport responded well after the break with two chances of their own, as they almost drew level in the 47th minute when Josh Winters slipped through Lawless, but Cerga produced an outstanding save to deny the striker. Two minutes later Harry Stratton curled an effort just wide.
Daventry enjoyed more of the possession in the closing minutes as we searched for some daylight without really threatening, with Stanbridge coming into our midfield to shore things up in place of the impressive McGowan, who could be delighted with his afternoon’s work.
Emery brought the best out of Osborn with a drive from 15 yards out after excellent work from Stanbridge, and Fitzgerald went close in stoppage time, blazing the ball wide with the goal at his mercy after a fine cross from substitute Sam Jackson. That was the final action as we held firm for another hard-fought three points.
Newport Pagnell: Osborn, Lyon, Wilkinson, Smyth, Ofosu (Baker 76), Watkin, Lawless, Winters, Liversedge, Stratton (Herbert 83), Stronge (Sylvester 66). Substitutes (not used): Mulkern, Thick.
Town: Cerga, Childs, Lukeman, Harris (c), Alexander, Confue, Fitzgerald, McGowan (Stanbridge 52), Emery (Creaney 90), Cassidy, Orosz (Jackson 76). Substitutes (not used): Finlay, Parkinson.
Goal: Town – Emery (8 pen).
Yellows: Town – Fitzgerald, Lukeman; Newport Pagnell – Liversedge
|Newport Pagnell Town FC||0||Loss|
|Daventry Town FC||1||Win|
|February 23, 2019||3:00 pm||United Counties League||2019||90'|