Rovers have set some high standards but they weren’t met against Newport. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Before the match, Barton had only yielded one change with Aaron Collins coming in for Leon Clarke with the 39-year-old on Thursday saying he wouldn’t make changes for the sake of it.
By the hour mark, he had used up all his substitutes with Connor Taylor, Antony Evans and Glenn Whelan all replaced by Ryan Loft, debutant Jon Nolan and the returning Sam Finley.
None of the trio though could impact the game with James Waite’s 33rd minute goal consigning the Gas to their first defeat in six games.
Waite’s goal was one that came as a frustration to the Rovers boss given there had been discussions on how to deal with such a threat.
“I know exactly where it’s come from,” said Barton. “We’ve spoken about that and it’s something that should have been dealt with.
“It wasn’t and it led to a spell that they had a long throw, a corner came off the back of that and the shot came from the edge of the box.”
“There are lads who’ve been given opportunities today and we’ve got some good players who haven’t played to freshen them up and unfortunately on Tuesday night they’ll be giving the jersey back to people and they may not see it between now and the end of the season such has been the quality of some of the performances.”
A number of Rovers’ first-team players who were unable to deliver their usual game, owing to the fact that Newport were able to nulify the threat of their most creative players.
The likes of Antony Evans an on-loan Newcastle United man Elliot Anderson, who have shown their ability to change games, could only show glimpses with the opposition defence well informed in how to deal with them, especially in the first-half. Up front, Aaron Collins was an isolated figure for the first period and then was pushed out to the left to accommodate Ryan Loft, who was unable to make an impact.
In the second period, there were more chances created and Luca Hoole almost snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Nick Townsend made a fine save to deny the Welshman.
He said: “There were definitely four or five players, certainly in the first-half who I felt weren’t performing at the normal level. It’s not to say they’re not playing well because you can’t necessarily play well every week.
“They certainly weren’t at their operating level. Too many were below that today. You can’t go against a team away from home who are on a good run themselves and have four or five passengers.
“We improved remarkably in the second half but it wasn’t enough to create phase after phase of pressure. Credit to Newport though they’re a good side and they’ve caused us not to be at our best today.”