Newport County 0 Pompey 1: All Seeing Eye

Spytty the Dog tests out the timing board. Picture: Joe Pepler
Spytty the Dog tests out the timing board. Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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The mysterious All-Seeing Eye keeps a close check on the quirky goings-on at Rodney Parade.

BLAKE’S THE BUSINESS

There’s a new addition to Paul Cook’s backroom staff, although he clearly thinks he might be worth a place in the squad.

Former Bradford, Burnley, Leeds, Birmingham and Bolton man Robbie Blake has been assisting Cook with some scouting work recently, although it’s unclear if this is a permanent appointment.

But if Cook was watching the 39-year-old’s ball control skills in the warm-up, the search for new talent need go no further.

OLD SKOOL MAGIC

Newport County’s home ground is not exactly your state-of-the-art modern venue but it certainly has plenty of volume and its own unique charm.

A training pitch at the back of the ground offered the perfect spot for a kickabout with one young Newport fan smashing home a glorious volley after an impromptu assist from a travelling journalist arriving at the game.

But it was also back to the 90s for the pre-match music selection over the PA system with some classic dance tunes entertaining those of a certain vintage.

Baby Don’t Hurt Me, The Key and Rhythm of the Night were just some of the hits that blared out to rekindle fond memories of the days when Fifth Avenue and Martines were the nightspots of choice in Portsmouth.

The 90s theme continued during the game when Newport boss John Sheridan showed that he’d lost none of the old magic that made him a top player during the decade.

As a stray clearance headed his way, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Republic of Ireland international produced a lovely flick to deliver it back to the nearest player.

You never lose it.

REF SWAP

The problem became apparent when fourth official Wayne Barratt started going through some stretches on the touchline.

It soon became obvious that referee, James Adcock, had suffered an injury and would be unable to continue.

In one of the more chaotic susbitutions, the Worcestershire official eventually took the whistle and was then hooked up with his buzzers with some help from Paul Cook.

Just don’t expect fans to be sympathetic when a ref gets hurt as Newport fans then dished out a witty rendition of ‘you’re not fit to referee’.

The fun didn’t stop there with a request for a qualified referee announced at half-time prompting Newport club mascot, Spytty the Dog, to grab the substitution board and put in some practice.

As it turned out, the stand-in fourth official was plucked out of the Pompey end as Blues fan Mike Hurdle performed the duties in his jeans for the second half.

TOUGH QUESTION, WEBBO

Adam Webster is not usually the first in line for media duties, even though he’s more than capable of handling the gathered hacks.

But a tricky question over the reasons behind the team’s improved away form coincided with assistant boss Leam Richardson passing behind him at the exact moment the defender considered his answer carefully.

The ever-helpful Richardson was quick to fill in the gap for the defender himself.

‘He doesn’t know.’ he said.

DEFLATING DAY

A tough day of sport for the Welsh saw Newport County defeated on home turf.

And there were some glum faces when their rugby team then went down to South Africa in the World Cup quarter-final.

Perhaps that’s why an inflatable sheep looked so forlorn at the final whistle as he lay discarded on the Rodney Parade pitch?

But it seemed he had found a new owner by the end of the day as the jovial Newport groundsman attempted to revive him.