In the absence of both first team goalkeepers—Gary Streeter injured and Ryan Hall unavailable—Port squandered a two-nil advantage to lose three-five to the visitors from Wiltshire.
Newport made three changes to the side that had lost 0–4 to Stoneham the previous Saturday: Ashley Wright replacing Joe Winchcombe in goal (after a ten-year break from the team), Neo Lamb returning to replace Harrison Yates at left back and Darren Powell taking the place of Joe Craig.
Newport kicked off towards the allotments end on a slippery pitch in driving rain. It didn’t take long for the home side to open the scoring, with Jared COUSINS getting his first goal for the club in his third start in the third minute, striking the ball low past the Downton keeper from the edge of the penalty area.
By the fourteenth minute, Port were two–nil up, Liam TRIGGS (who had been booked two minutes earlier for a hard challenge) latching onto a beautiful through ball from Neo Lamb to slot it past the Downton keeper at the near post.
The Robins pulled a goal back in the 26th minute with a screamer from the edge of the penalty area by Matt STEER, that left Ashley Wright in the Newport goal flat-footed.
Jared Cousins then had three opportunities to extend Port’s lead: in the 30th minute, he had his shot blocked by the keeper’s legs; in the 32nd minute, he again broke through, but shot high over the crossbar; in the 36th minute, he had a header cleared off the line. However, it was Downton who were to equalize in the 43rd minute, with a magnificent spinning shot from the edge of the penalty area by Tom MOSELEY, to leave the score level at 2–2 at half-time.
HT Newport IW 2–2 Downton
The second half began with a penalty appeal by the Robins, that was turned down by the referee. However, in the 56th minute, Matt Steer got past Ashley Wright in the Newport goal, who raised his arm to bring him down. Wright was yellow-carded, but fortunately remained on the field of play. However, he was unable to block the resulting penalty, struck hard to his right by Tom MOSELEY, which gave the Robins a 2–3 advantage.
Jared Cousins, who had been very influential in the first-half, then came off with what appeared to be a groin strain, to be replaced by sixteen-year-old Ben Snow. In another of Andy Sampson’s inspired substitutions, SNOW promptly scored with his second touch of the game, lobbing the ball over the Downton ‘keeper in the 59th minute, to level the score at 3–3.
Six minutes later, the Robins regained their lead, Louis RENDALL tapping the ball in from five yards, to make the score 3–4.
In the 68th minute, Liam Triggs was tripped on the very edge of the Downton penalty area, with the Downton defender fortunate not to have been red-carded. Spike Pearce shot the resulting free-kick just over the crossbar. Andy Sampson then threw on two more substitutes in the 78th minute: Robbie Shepherd and Alex Harmer replacing Darren Powell and Lewis Wright. Unfortunately, however, there was to be no happy end for Port. In the 89th minute, Tom Moseley was to intercept a poor goal kick to pass the ball to Matt STEER, who then redirected the pass into the back of the Newport net and ensure the Robins returned to Wiltshire with all three points.
Full Time: Newport IW 3–5 Downton
Goals: Newport: Cousins 3, Triggs 14, Snow 59 Downton: Steer 26, 89, Moseley 43, 56 pen, Rendall 65
Newport: A Wright, Hughes, Lamb, Pearce, McDonagh, Sampson, Powell (Shepherd), Triggs, Cousins (Snow), L Wright (Harmer), Fleming.
Subs not used: H Yates, Barron
Referee: Harry Redman
Newport Man-of-the-match: Ryan Hughes