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Club News

Match Preview: Barrow AFC vs Newport County

22 March 2024

Club News

Match Preview: Barrow AFC vs Newport County

22 March 2024

The Bluebirds are back at Holker Street for the fourth time in March, as they prepare to go unbeaten for their fifth game in a row.

In the last match, Barrow played out a 0-0 draw to a Harrogate side who sit second in the away form table.

Throughout the game, the Bluebirds created the best opportunities averaging an expected goals ratio of 2.52xG. The match also saw a Man of The Match performance from Irish defender, Rory Feely who had a lovely shot from range crash out against the crossbar.

That clean sheet proved to be the Bluebirds’ 10th clean sheet at Holker Street this season, which ranks as the best in the league for home clean sheets.

Team News

Niall Canavan will remain unavailable for Saturday’s game, as he still remains sidelined with a calf injury.

The Opposition

Newport currently sits in 11th place in Sky Bet League Two, under the current guidance of former Mansfield Town manager, Graham Coughlan.

Coughlan has been in charge at Rodney Parade for 17 months, taking charge back in October 2022. Last season he guided County to a 15th-place finish and will be hoping to better that this campaign, as they hunt down a place in the Play-Offs. In their last five games, the Welsh side has picked up nine points from three wins and two losses. In their most recent fixture, they ran out 2-0 winners against 7th-placed side, AFC Wimbledon. With goals from Bryn Morris and Kyle Jameson securing all three points.

One to Watch in the Newport side is striker and top scorer, Will Evans. Evans made a name for himself at Cardiff Metropolitan University FC, where he made a total of 122 appearances, whilst scoring 25 goals. This form earned him a move to Welsh Premier League side, Bala Town, where he spent two seasons before moving to his current side Newport County. Since joining County, he has gone on to make 99 appearances, whilst scoring 28 goals. This season so far, he has amassed 38 league appearances, and already netted 20 times, becoming Newport’s top scorer.


The Bluebirds last faced County at Holker Street in February 2023, in a season the Cumbrians were pushing for a Play-Off place. In a match that was evenly split between the two sides, with both teams maintaining 50% possession throughout the game.  However, Newport was rewarded for pushing for a winner when Mickey Demetriou scored from a corner to win the game for the Welsh side in the final minutes of the game.

The two sides have already faced each other this season back at Rodney Parade in September 2023. With the Bluebirds dominating possession during the game, Pete Wild’s men also created the best chances with an xG (expected goals) of 1.34.

The game saw Omar Bogle miss a penalty early on in the game when he hit the right post from 12 yards out. However, the Welsh side gained the lead when Shane McLoughlin scored a sublime effort from outside the box, past Paul Farman. Ryan Delaney was then given his marching orders just before the break after his challenge on Dom Telford saw him receive his second yellow card and sending off. Wild’s men got back in the game in the 69th minute, after Adam Lewis brought Robbie Gotts down in the Newport penalty area, giving the Bluebirds a penalty. Dean Campbell stepped up to take the spot kick and dispatched neatly from 12 yards, to give the Cumbrian side a point to take back to Holker Street.


The man taking charge of this weekend’s game is Benjamin Speedie. Speedie has taken charge of 28 fixtures this season, with 25 of these coming in EFL competitions and the extra three in three FA Cup. He has so far handed out 78 yellow cards and three red cards in the fixtures he has officiated this season.

The last fixture he took charge of featuring the Bluebirds, came back in October 2023 when we faced Morecambe in a local derby at Holker Street. A game which saw both sides cancelling each other out, with the defenders from both sides being the standouts. Wild’s men made a breakthrough early in the first half, when Dom Telford scored his second goal for the Cumbrians, securing all three points for the Bluebirds.

Alongside Speedie, he will be joined by Graeme Fyvie and Daniel Woodward, who will be assistant referees in Saturday’s clash. With Ben Toner taking the role of Fourth Official.

Words by Dylan Whitbread

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