Port made two enforced changes to the side that had lost 2–3 away at US Portsmouth: Scott Sampson replacing the unavailable Connor Kelly, and young Ben Snow taking the place of the suspended Mark Taylor. Newport began the first half against the Wessex Premier 1 leaders on a soft pitch in a relatively good condition for late winter, on a mild but blustery day, playing towards the allotments end.
Newport began the game very strongly indeed, but, unfortunately, lacking the formidable presence of the suspended Jared Wetherick leading the line up front, found themselves unable to convert chances into goals. The first chance fell to Ben Snow as early as the first minute of the game, when the youngster found himself clear in the middle of the penalty area with only the goalkeeper to beat, but shot weakly at the Amesbury keeper. Four minutes later, Ben had his second clear chance, but again failed to convert. Then, in the seventh minute, it was the turn of Jared Cousins in front of the goal, who dexterously juggled the ball, but failed to connect strongly enough to score.
In the fifteenth minute, Joe Craig struck the ball powerfully at the Amesbury Town goal, only for the Amesbury Town keeper to palm the ball over the crossbar. However, the league leaders punished Port for their profligacy in front of goal, when Jordan MATTHEWS sent a powerful shot which appeared to take a deflection and flew past a despairing Gary Streeter in the 25th minute.
Jared Cousins had a chance to make up for his earlier miss in the 38th minute, but again, unfortunately hit the Amesbury keeper rather than the net. The game was becoming increasingly physical, with strong tackles by both sides coming in thick and fast. The Amesbury scorer, Matthews, was increasingly becoming involved in acrimonious exchanges with the Newport players, leading to his being substituted shortly before half time.
Half-time: Newport IW 0–1 Amesbury Town
The second half proved to be a far different story to the first, with Amesbury Town showing the physical strength that has pushed them to the top of the table, and shutting down a young Newport side fielding five teenagers.
Amesbury could have added to their lead but for the heroic and acrobatic efforts of evergreen veteran Newport keeper, Gary Streeter, who saved Port in the 51st, 72nd and 84th minutes, and the fact that they missed an open goal in the 82nd minute.
The most memorable event in the second half from a Newport perspective, was the appearance of Darren Powell as substitute, the 572nd time he had played in a Newport shirt, an all-time club record.
Port could make little headway against a strong, well-drilled, top-of-the-table side and lost their second game in succession.
Final score: Newport IW 0–1 Amesbury Town
Port next play Romsey Town at St George’s Park on Saturday, February 16.
Newport: Streeter, Reynolds (Powell), Lamb, Barron, McDonagh©, Sampson, Craig, Cousins (H Yates), Browne, Snow (J Yates)
Referee: Anthony Cross
Newport MoM: Martin McDonagh