MX23RW : Thursday, May 30 07:40:07| >> :600:398678:398678:
May 25, 2019 at 3pm UK at ​Rodney Parade
Attendance: 25,217
NewportNewport County
TranmereTranmere Rovers

O'Brien (89')
Jennings (119')

Live Commentary: Newport County 0-1 Tranmere Roverts (AET) - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Tranmere's 1-0 win over Newport in the League Two playoff final as Rovers scored late to secure promotion.
Live Commentary: Newport County 0-1 Tranmere (AET) - as it happened
© Reuters

Welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the League Two playoff final between Newport County and Tranmere Rovers at Wembley Stadium.

Tranmere are looking to make it back-to-back promotions, having overcome Boreham Wood a little over 12 months ago to escape the National League, while Newport are seeking a place in the third tier for the first time since 1987.

County are unbeaten in four Football League meetings with Tranmere, including a 1-0 win at Prenton Park early in the season and a goalless draw when the sides last met in South Wales seven weeks ago.

Follow all of the action as it unfolds with our live text updates below.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the League Two playoff final between Newport County and Tranmere Rovers at Wembley Stadium.

Tranmere are looking to make it back-to-back promotions, having overcome Boreham Wood a little over 12 months ago to escape the National League, while Newport are seeking a place in the third tier for the first time since 1987.

County are unbeaten in four Football League meetings with Tranmere, including a 1-0 win at Prenton Park early in the season and a goalless draw when the sides last met in South Wales seven weeks ago.


STARTING XI: Day; Poole, O'Brien, Demetriou, Butler; Bennett, Sheehan, Labadie; Amond, Matt, Willmott

SUBS: Pipe, Dolan, Marsh-Brown, Azeez, Bakinson, Crofts, McKirdy


STARTING XI: Davies; Caprice, Nelson, Monthe, Ridehalgh; Morris, Harris, Banks, Perkins, Jennings; Norwood

SUBS: Pilling, McNulty, Pringle, Dagnall, Mullin, Buxton, Gilmour

KICKOFF:  Newport get the first of the three playoff finals across this bank holiday weekend up and running! Both teams are unchanged from their semi-final second legs, though it remains to be seen whether County will go with three at the back or four.

Michael Flynn in charge of Newport County on December 1, 2018© Reuters

The Welsh side have started the game the better of the two sides. A long throw into the box is flicked on by Matt but none of his teammates can get on the end of it. Tranmere have a chance to counter but the attack breaks down on the edge of the area following a heavy touch.

SAVE!  Attacking full-back Caprice brings the ball in from the right and plays it into the feet of Jennings. The midfielder is not afraid to get a shot away, despite being some 35 yards from goal, but the deflected shot is an easy one for Day to deal with.

PENALTY APPEAL!  Matt's first-time shot hits Nelson on the arm. Newport want a penalty but the referee feels that the Newport strikes committed a foul so the free kick goes Tranmere's way. Up the other end, O'Brien produces a brilliant block in front of goal.

Newport started the match on top but Tranmere have had the better of things over the last few minutes. A free kick is won by County in a wide position, though, and Matt is inches away from connecting with the flick-on at the back post.

It has been a lively enough start to the match at Wembley - a ground that these two sides know well. Newport have played here a few times down the years, including in an FA Cup tie against Tottenham last season, while Tranmere have been here three years running in the playoffs.

SHOT!  Jennings controls the ball 22 yards from goal and tries to bend it into the far corner, but he does not get enough whip on his attempt and it ends in the stands. Rovers are starting to find some rhythm to their game.

Newport have focused pretty much entirely on defending over the last five minutes. The ball is sent into County's box but nobody in a Tranmere top can get on the end of it. We are still awaiting the first real chance of the contest.

SHOT!  Willmott carries the ball out of defence and into the opposition half, but Newport do not really get anywhere as Bennett gets too much power on his shot and sends the ball high over the crossbar from 25 yards.

The sides are taking it in turns to enjoy a spell on top. It is Newport's turn to ask some questions of Tranmere's backline as Amond tries and fails to keep his attempt on target. There is a problem for Rovers as Nelson is hobbling about.

What we have discovered in the opening quarter of the match is that both teams are incredibly well organised. Newport kept out Tranmere in both regular league fixtures this term and look as though they could do likewise today at Wembley.

There are a few sloppy passes from Tranmere and that leads to the first groans of the afternoon from their supporters. Neither team has done enough to warrant a goal in what has been a pretty quiet contest so far in the English capital.

Perkins takes an age on the ball and is caught in possession. Newport counter and get a shot away at the end of it through Matt, but the effort is blocked inside the area. This game is desperate for a goal!

SAVE!  This is a superb stop from Day! Scoring machine Norwood is left all alone on the penalty spot and makes good contact with his volley once picked out by Caprice. The shot has power behind it but Day stands his ground and slaps the ball away.

That was without a doubt the best chance of the match so far - the only chance, I guess! Norwood will maybe feel that he could have placed the ball closer to one of the corners, though his movement to get on the end of the cutback was impressive.

With half an hour of the match played we stop for a drinks break - it is a very hot day in North-West London! The game has showed signs of opening up over the last five minutes or so, culminating in that good opportunity for Norwood.

SHOT!  Willmott exchanges passes with Matt but his shot is weak, giving Davies little to deal with. From the next attacking wave some hesitancy in the box leads to a needless corner being conceded by Nelson, but the set-piece is poor and easily dealt with.

O'Brien heads the ball down towards the back post and Amond very nearly gets on the end of it. Newport's best opportunities are coming via crosses into the box.

The referee is trying his best to calm both sets of players down following a series of niggling challenges. Newport are the side seeing more of the ball but they are struggling to find a route through on goal. Half time is now just 10 minutes away.

Newport County's Regan Poole in action with Tranmere Rovers' Connor Jennings in the League Two playoff final on May 25, 2019© Reuters

Newport are winning all the aerial duals in the Tranmere box - they have to make it count. Rovers are struggling to keep a hold of the ball but they have just won a free kick in the opposition half following a challenge from Demetriou.

SAVE!  The ball is laid off for Perkins on the edge of the box, but his shot is very tame and Day makes a routine save. Tranmere are starting to grab a foothold on the match once again.

As we edge closer to half time, it is Tranmere who will argue that they deserve to be taking a lead into the interval. There has been very little between the sides overall, though, and hopefully it will liven up a little in the second half. If not, extra time and penalties await.

Norwood is a master at creating space for himself. The prolific striker gets his head to a cross but is left with too much to do, and he cannot keep the ball on target. Norwood questions why Perkins did not play the pass to him earlier.

We are into the final minute of normal time at the end of the first half. O'Brien once again gets his head to the ball in the opposition box but it does not drop for one of his teammates to strike. The game has been incredibly scrappy so far.


There was very little between the teams over the course of 46 regular season fixtures and that has been the case in the opening 45 minutes of this playoff final. Day produced a superb stop to keep Tranmere at bay and that aside chances have been few and far between.

Joe Day produced a fine save 25 minutes in to keep out James Norwood's volley from 12 yards - the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock before half time.

Tranmere winger Connor Jennings also managed to get a couple of shots away, forcing Day into a routine stop from one of them, while David Perkins and Robbie Willmott had attempts from range dealt with at either end of the field.


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NEWPORT SUBS: Pipe, Dolan, Marsh-Brown, Azeez, Bakinson, Crofts, McKirdy

TRANMERE SUBS: Pilling, McNulty, Pringle, Dagnall, Mullin, Buxton, Gilmour

Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies pictured in April 2019© Reuters

KICKOFF:  Tranmere get us back up and running at Wembley Stadium! On the basis of the first half, and with the heat no doubt going to play a part in this second period, you get the sense that the opening goal - should it arrive - will settle this contest.

Tranmere win a corner inside the first minute of the second half. Banks swings it in but the ball has too much pace on it and Morris is unable to connect at the back post.

The second period has started pretty much in the same manner as the first one ended, with neither team getting a grip of the game. Sheehan carries the ball forward but his attempted curler inside the box is blocked before it can reach the goal.

Ridehalgh offers an option on the overlap down the left and the return pass has him in behind. However, the offside flag correctly goes up before he can think about shooting or picking out a teammate. That was better from Rovers.

TRANMERE SUB! Nelson had to get challenge on Matt exactly right and he did just that. Mellon makes his first change of the afternoon by bringing on Pringle for Harris - that does not appear to be injury related.

Demetriou launches the throw into the box, Monthe heads it as far as the edge of the box and Willmott smashes the volley over the crossbar. Newport are really struggling to test Davies in the opposition goal.

YELLOW CARD!  The first yellow card of the game is shown to Matt for preventing Davies from releasing the ball. A little harsh, maybe, but the referee will point out that he doesn't make the rules!

Pringle gets his free kick all wrong but the flight of the ball nearly catches out Day, who has little choice but to help it over the crossbar. The corner is headed clear by Demetriou but is sent back in. Nelson loops the ball into the air and Day gathers.

SHOT!  Morris creates some space for himself but his shot is blocked by a sliding Demetriou inside the area. Up the other end, Labadie scuffs his shot wide of the target from 20 yards - that has to go down as half a chance for County.

If we could just skip to penalties now that would be great! It has been far from a classic at Wembley, which can often be the case in games of this magnitude. Both teams are probing away but we seem destined to finish goalless.

Matt has another shot blocked, this time on the edge of the box. Butler sends the ball back into the middle and it is cleared. Tranmere launch a counter but Newport defend the danger well down their left.

Caprice is Tranmere's most dangerous player. The full-back clips the ball into the path of Jennings, but he runs out of room and is unable to pick out a teammate from his cross, which ran out of play. Monthe is down following a coming together with Matt.

YELLOW CARD!  O'Brien barges into Jennings and becomes the second Newport player to be shown a yellow card. That is probably down to an accumulation of little fouls, rather than for the challenge on Jennings itself.

PENALTY APPEAL!  Tranmere are enjoying a good spell on top. Norwood's shot is blocked and it falls into the path of Jennings eight yards from goal, but he cannot bring it under control to get the shot away and Newport hold on. Butler barges into Morris but no pen is awarded.

NEWPORT SUB! Flynn makes his first change by bringing on Dolan for Labadie in midfield. With this one looking likely to go the distance, both managers need to use their remaining subs wisely.

SAVE!  What a save!! Tranmere's back four switch off and Newport very nearly capitalise. Matt gets on the end of a deep cross from Butler and Davies somehow keeps it out at his near post, pushing the ball on to the upright.

That really was a stunning reaction save from Davies to keep out Matt. Newport are finally starting to build a bit of momentum as we enter the final 15 minutes of the match. No goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets in League Two this season than Davies, incidentally!

YELLOW CARD!  Perkins barges into Bennett and is the latest player to enter the referee's book. Tranmere are having to dig deep as they are being penned in at the moment. It is goalless at Wembley Stadium with around 15 minutes to go.

SAVE!  Amond is teed up by Matt and his angled shot has to be dealt with by Davies, who is being worked far more in the final quarter of the match. County are looking the more likely side to snatch the win in normal time.

TRANMERE SUB! McNulty, promoted five times with four clubs, replaces Morris for the closing stages of normal time. Tranmere have won themselves a corner, giving themselves some rare respite after a spell of Newport pressure.

Jennings fails to keep his composure when getting on the end of the ball in the opposition box. Both teams have ultimately lacked quality in the final third of the field and we are edging closer and closer to extra time.

PENALTY APPEAL!  Matt is tripped by Monthe in the box. Wembley holds its breath as the referee blows his whistle, only to award the free kick to Tranmere for an offside infringement. However, that was after Matt was fouled - it should have been a pen.

Melon would surely accept extra time if offered to him now. Newport have been on top for a long period, hitting the post and having a strong penalty shout rejected. The Welsh side have around five minutes or so to snatch a win in normal time.

RED CARD!  Amond and McNulty tangle legs in the box but again nothing is given. Tranmere counter and there is an incident involving O'Brien and Norwood. O'Brien halts his opponent's run and is shown a second yellow card - Newport are down to 10 men!

Newport County's Mark O'Brien is shown a red card in the League Two playoff final against Tranmere Rovers on May 25, 2019© Reuters

CHANCE!  Norwood makes a fantastic run around the back and gets a toe to the long ball over the top. Day is left stranded but Norwood, who has not netted against Newport this season, volleys wide from eight yards. There are three more minutes to be played.

McNulty takes no risks as he comes across to the left and puts the ball out of play. Demetriou launches one final throw into the box and Davies gets something to the ball to clear it away. That may well be that!


We are going to extra time in the League Two playoff final! Day and Davies both produced a big save in the 90 minutes, and Newport had a big penalty shout rejected, as the sides cancelled each other out. Tranmere have a one-man advantage for this additional period of 30 minutes because of O'Brien's late red card.

KICKOFF:  Newport get us back underway at Wembley Stadium! Bakinson replaces Sheehan for the Welsh side, whereas Tranmere remain unchanged from the end of the 90 minutes.

Tranmere need to start making their extra-man advantage count. Rovers have struggled to find any real momentum all afternoon, with their passing not vertical enough.

Neither team wants to make a mistake now, knowing that it could easily end their campaign. Remember, penalties await should neither side find a way through over the next 25 minutes or so.

STAT! Newport skipper O'Brien is the first player to receive a red card in the League Two playoff final since Shrewsbury Town's Marc Tierney in 2007. Tranmere have not really made the most of the fact that County are down to 10 men.

Norwood is encouraged to shoot on the edge of the box but this latest attempt, like the majority of his other attempts today, is blocked. Tranmere are now starting to dominate possession, but they are struggling to create anything.

Demetriou seemingly barges Norwood off the ball, preventing the striker from charging through, but the referee does not see any reason to award a free kick. Tranmere are not letting Newport get a kick of the ball - it is a good spell for the Merseysiders.

NEWPORT SUB! Flynn makes a third change by introducing Azeez for Matt in attack. Newport could do with some fresh legs up top so that is a smart sub. Rovers boss Mellon has used two of his changes.

SAVE!  Willmott swings in the corner and Amond gets on the end of it, but he cannot generate enough power to beat Davies. That is the closest either team has come to scoring in this first period of extra time, with just seconds remaining.


There is just no separating these sides as the first period of extra time finishes goalless. Amond's on-target header was the closest either side came to making a breakthrough. Hold tight because there are 15 more minutes to come...

KICKOFF:  Tranmere get the final 15 minutes of the match underway. Willmott has been replaced by Marsh-Brown in Newport's final substitution of the day. Will one of these sides snatch the win or will we go all the way to penalties?

SAVE!  Marsh-Brown is causing some problems with his fresh legs. The substitute shaped as though he was going to cross the ball but instead he looked to beat Davies at his near post, but the Tranmere keeper was alert to it and made the save down low.

SHOT!  Norwood is left all alone with Butler and, after cutting inside the full-back, he looks destined to finally make his mark on the match. The striker's shot takes a deflection, though, and ends a yard wide of the target.

SHOT!  Pringle tees up Banks for the shot. Despite being 30 yards from goal, he strikes the ball well and it is not too far over the crossbar - Day was a little worried. Any goal now would surely settle the cagey affair.

YELLOW CARD!  Poole catches Jennings on the ankle with a pretty poor challenge, which the referee is right to penalise with a yellow card. Both teams are clearly happy to accept penalties now.

TRANMERE SUB! Marsh-Brown gets another angled strike on target for Day to push to safety - he was taking no risks. Buxton is now on for Nelson in Tranmere's latest change. There are five minutes to go!

Demetriou chucks the ball into the box but it is headed clear by McNulty. Both sets of players look knackered now, with mistakes creeping in. There is still time for one last chance at Wembley.

SAVE!  Norwood gets across his man at the near post to turn a cross on target. Day reads it well and gets down to make the save. That would have been very cruel on 10-man Newport.


TRANMERE WIN IT IN THE FINAL SECONDS! Incredible! With just seconds of the game left to play, Jennings heads Caprice's cross into the ground and past Day from inside the six-yard box. Newport will barely have a chance to respond!

Connor Jennings celebrates after scoring the only goal in the League Two playoff final between Tranmere Rovers and Newport County on April 25, 2019© Reuters



Is there any better way to secure promotion than with a goal in the final seconds of the playoff final? Ask Tranmere supporters still making plenty of noise inside Wembley and I think you will get a pretty clear idea!

Both teams had their keepers to thank for pulling off big saves in the 90 minutes, and Newport also had a strong penalty shout turned down, but in the end Jennings' header 120 minutes into the contest proved the difference.

Tranmere are heading back to League One after a five-year absence!

That concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from Wembley Stadium.

An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, and be sure to join us at the same time tomorrow for updates from the League One playoff final between Sunderland and Charlton Athletic.

You can also still vote in our end of season awards by clicking here. Thanks for joining us today!

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Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies pictured in April 2019
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