Newport County 3 (Howe 45+1, Burge 70, Zebroski 82), Oxford United 2 (Constable 14, Potter 87) + Video (From The Oxford Times)
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Newport County 3 (Howe 45+1, Burge 70, Zebroski 82), Oxford United 2 (Constable 14, Potter 87) + Video
A PAIR of former Oxford United players were on target as a fired-up Newport County brought an end to the last remaining unbeaten away record in English league football.
Ryan Burge and Chris Zebroski struck in the final 20 minutes to inflict United's first defeat on their travels in Sky Bet League Two since April 1 - a remarkable 16 games.
On the balance of play Newport were worthy winners, but they had to come from behind after James Constable's superb early finish.
United absorbed plenty of pressure, but Newport found an equaliser in first-half stoppage time through Rene Howe.
A sublime free-kick from Burge and an awful defensive mix-up from which Zebroski profited put County on top, before Alfie Potter's late goal gave them cause for concern.
The United team sheet showed one change from the side which started Saturday's 3-0 win over Mansfield.
Josh Ruffels came into replace David Connolly as Mickey Lewis reverted back to a 4-4-2.
Pitch problems at Rodney Parade had postponed six of Newport's previous seven games and they began like a side in a hurry to make up for lost time.
Backed by a vociferous crowd they dominated the first half, with United only able to launch occasional forays forward.
Zebroski, one of three ex-United players in the County side, had the first chance after a smart lay-off from Howe. Ryan Clarke was alert to the danger, though, and ran out to smother the shot.
United had barely strung two passes together when they took a surprise lead on 14 minutes.
Dave Kitson found some space and crossed for Constable, who expertly controlled the ball and swivelled to bury a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Elliott Parish.
It was a stunning counter punch after being on the back foot, but County carried on regardless.
Clarke quickly had to tip over a header from Ismail Yakubu at a corner.
Despite the lead, United still had no real foothold in the game. James Constable was often their only real outlet and if the ball forward to him was not right, County were able to start another attack.
The playing surface was a concern in patches and ground staff even worked on it when play was stopped while Deane Smalley received treatment.
The visitors dealt with the pressure well, until first-half stoppage time.
Andy Sandell got forward and his cross from the left was only cleared to the edge of the box, where Minshull's shot was deflected by Howe past a wrong-footed Clarke.
Lewis's response at the break was to bring on Potter for Danny Rose and switching to a 4-2-3-1 system.
It did little to alter the flow of the game and Adam Chapman, another U's old boy, came within inches of a fine volleyed goal from 20 yards on 54 minutes.
Chapman was involved again on the hour, going in hard on Tom Newey, who reacted angrily. Both were booked, but it was more costly for the United defender - his tenth of the season, it means a two-game suspension.
Still Newport pressed and with 20 minutes remaining Burge put them ahead. Ruffles fouled Howe on the right corner of the area and Burge curled a shot into the far corner.
Lewis brought on Connolly for Matt Bevans with his final roll of the dice, reverting to a back three in the process.
Their hopes were dealt a calamitous blow on 82 minutes, when a breakdown in communication saw Johnny Mullins play a back pass past Clarke and gifted Zebroski the easiest of tap-ins.
The game looked over, but with three minutes of normal time remaining Potter poached a goal from close range.
It set up a frantic finish but United could not conjure a clear opening as their long away run was finally halted.
Oxford Utd (4-4-2): Clarke, Bevans, Hunt, Mullins, Newey, Smalley, Wroe, Rose, Ruffels, Kitson, Constable.
Subs used: Potter (Wroe ht), Williams (Kitson 58), Connolly (Bevans 75).
Unused subs: Henly, Long, Davies, Ashby.
Newport (5-3-2): Parish, Pipe, Anthony, Yakubu, Sandell, Willmott, Minshull, Chapman (Porter 85), Burge, Zebroski (Jeffers 85), Howe.
Unused subs: Thompson, Crow, Jackson, Naylor, Jolley.
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).
Attendance: 3,757 (523 visitors).
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