Cambridge United were unable to crown their final away game of the season with three points, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Newport County at Rodney Parade in Sky Bet League Two.
Goals from Mickey Demetriou and Frank Nouble in either half was enough to see off the U’s, who never quite produced the exciting performance levels of recent weeks despite almost staging a late comeback thanks to another strike from George Maris with nine minutes .
Billy Waters and Paul Lewis returned to the U’s starting eleven as the only two changes made by Joe Dunne, with David Amoo and Harrison Dunk giving the U’s wide options on the bench.
The U’s man on form, George Maris, was presented an early opportunity to test Newport keeper Joe Day with a free kick 20 yards from goal after two minutes, and did just that forcing the shot stopper to catch a curling effort at full stretch.
Whilst at the other end, Dimi Mitov produced an even better stop moments later when denying Ben Tozer’s half volley with an outstretched right arm on his second League appearance for the U’s.
Persistent work by Billy Waters produced a good opening on the counter attack when the striker set Maris through on goal, who took the ball out his feet well before seeing a shot which looked destined for the bottom corner blocked by a scrambling Newport defence on 16 minutes.
However, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock through former United loanee Mickey Demetriou on 26 minutes, with the centre back stabbing the ball in from close range after a long Newport throw had ricocheted around the U’s area.
Joe Dunne’s men were close to an almost instant response when Waters broke into the Newport area from left before playing the ball back for Brown to shoot, which clattered against the legs of two Newport defenders and away from danger. Waters then had a chance of his own when being slipped through by Brown, but the striker fired over from an acute angle.
Clever interlinking play between Maris and Waters allowed the latter to pick out a cross at the far post for George Taft, who nodded the ball back down into the turf but fractions wide of the mark in United’s final opportunity of the first half.
Barry Corr replaced Uche Ikpeazu at the break and was straight into action, receiving a booking for a high boot on goalscorer Demetriou, before Frank Nouble responded by shoving Corr in the back picking up a yellow card too.
But it was to be Nouble who would double the home side’s lead shortly before hour mark, after substitute Aaron Collins picked out the former West Ham man at the far post who crafted a perfect volley back past Mitov, who had denied Newport a second only moments earlier with a fine save from Josh Sheehan’s strike.
The U’s dug in and began to play their best passing football of the match after that point, which eventually led to George Maris deservedly pulling a goal back for the U’s with his tenth of the season on 81 minutes, which he drilled past Joe Day from Billy Waters set up on the edge of the 18 yard box.
It proved to be a little too late for United though who were edged out by their welsh opponents in their final game on the road of the season.
Newport County: Day, Butler, White, Willmott, Dolan (Collins, 55 mins), Amond, Nouble (Hayes, 76 mins), Tozer, O’Brien (Pipe, 45 mins), Demetriou, Sheehan
Cambridge United: Mitov, Halliday, Taft, Taylor, Carroll (Amoo, 79 mins), Deegan, Maris, Brown, Lewis (Dunk 61 mins), Waters, Ikpeazu (Corr, 45 mins)
Attendance: 3,412 (170)