With Gary Streeter having recovered from injury, and Scott Sampson available, Andy Sampson had the luxury of being able to select what is probably Newport’s strongest side, with plenty of talent available on the substitute’s bench.
The two changes made from the team that had won 8–2 against Whitchurch United were: Gary Streeter replacing Jamie Linnington in goal and Scott Sampson coming in for Scott Barron in central defence.
The afternoon began with a presentation made to Newport captain, Martin McDonagh, to mark his three hundredth appearance for the club. Newport kicked off towards the allotments end on a good pitch in relatively mild, overcast mid-winter conditions.
The game began badly for Port when, in the eleventh minute, Lewis Wright gifted the ball to the Potter’s centre-forward, James Guthrie, which coolly, calmly and gratefully dispatched into the back of the home side’s net. In the thirteenth minute, Jared Wetherick had a header saved off the Potter’s goal line. Then, Port suffered a second blow in the 27th minute, when Liam Triggs was stretchered off injured, to be replaced by Joe Craig.
Newport had two good chances to level the score towards the end of the first-half, when Joe Craig narrowly failed to connect with a ball that ran across the Verwood Town goal line, and Connor Kelly shot inches past the Verwood Town goal post. The Potters, however, held out, leaving Port trailing 1-0 at the interval.
HT Newport IW 0–1 Verwood Town
The second-half began well for Port when, in the 51st minute, after some good work from Connor Kelly on the edge of the Verwood penalty area, Joe CRAIG received the ball and calmly rounded the Potter’s keeper to level the score.
The remainder of the second-half was a strange tale of missed opportunities, as the home side set up camp in their opponent’s half, but—unlike the previous Saturday—were seemingly unable to convert pressure into goals. In the 78th minute, Andy Sampson threw on a third striker—Jared Cousins in an attempt to break the deadlock. In the 80th minute, a powerful Joe Craig shot was blocked by a Verwood hand in the penalty area. Jared Wetherick stepped up to take the resulting penalty, launching a powerful shot that nearly broke the Potter’s crossbar in two, but was not, unfortunately caught in the netting behind.
Port’s final chance came in the third minute of injury time, when Connor Kelly broke free and—unfortunately—launched the ball high over the goal.
Final score: Newport IW 1–1 Verwood Town
Goals: Newport: Craig 51 Verwood Town: Guthrie 11
Newport: Streeter, Hughes, Lamb, Wright (Cousins 78), McDonagh, Sampson, Kelly, Triggs (Craig 22), Wetherick (Yates 89), Browne, Taylor
Referee: Krasimir Petrov
Subs not used: Barron, Snow
Newport Man-of-the-match: Joe Craig