Match Postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Newport made three changes to the side that had lost 2-1 away to Bemerton the previous Saturday, all experienced players returning to take the place of teenagers. In defence, captain Martin McDonough took the place of Harrison Yates; in midfield, Liam Triggs came in for Lewis Wright and George Colson replaced the younger Wright brother, Jake.
The Port began kicking off towards the GKN end on a pitch that had stood up well to recent downpours.
Newport put league leaders, Hythe & Dibden, under pressure right from the kick off. In their first attack, Jared Cousins was bundled over just outside the visitors penalty area. Jordan Browne then stepped up to take the free kick, which ricocheted off the Hythe & Dibden wall back to Browne, who then smashed the ball into the top left corner of the visitors’ net to give the Port a 1-0 advantage in only the second minute of the game.
The home side continued to put the mainland visitors under pressure with Connor Kelly shooting wide in the 4th minute and Jordan Browne shooting across the face of the goal in the 15th minute.
However, disaster struck in the 16th minute when, against the run of play, Rhys Crooks equalised for the visitors from close range.
Newport continued to press and harass the league leaders. In the 18th minute, flying winger, Connor Kelly, rounded the Hythe & Dibden keeper, only to have his shot blocked by a defender. Kelly then had a further shot saved by the keeper in the 23rd minute. Jared Cousins was put through in the 27th minute, but lacked the finishing touch. Finally, Liam Triggs had a strong shot blocked by a defender in the 42nd minute.
HT: Newport 1-1 Hythe & Dibden
While the home side were very much in the ascendancy in the first half in terms of chances, Hythe & Dibden showed their quality after the break, putting their hosts under considerable pressure but without being able to administer the coup de gras. Port had veteran keeper, Gary Streeter to thank for preserving their lead by making a couple of fine saves in the 50th and 53rd minutes of the game. Then, in the 62nd minute, Scott Barron, prevented the league leaders from taking the lead by clearing off the line.
The Port, however, had luck on their side, scoring in the 66th minute against the run of play, when Hythe & Dibden keeper, Josh Cotton, scooped the ball onto the head of his defender, Kelvin Lichowe, to watch in horror as the ball rolled into the back of his own net to give the home side a 2-1 advantage.
Liam Triggs nearly increased Port’s advantage in the 69th minute, when he skilfully weaved his way through the visiting team’s defence, only to have his shot blocked by their keeper.
Hythe and Dibden then laboured in vain to find an equaliser, but profligate finishing and an in form Gary Streeter put paid to their chances of returning across the Solent with a point. After a nervy last quarter of an hour, followed by eight minutes of injury time, the referee finally blew his whistle, to allow Port to take the scalp of the former league leaders and hopefully reinvigorate their season with a memorable win.
FT: Newport IW 2-1 Hythe & Dibden
Newport: Streeter, Hughes, Lamb, Reynolds (J Wright), McDonough, Barron, Kelly (Taylor), Triggs, Cousins (Craig), Colson.
Subs not used: Yates, Gearing
Referee: Mr M Bloor
Newport went down to promotion chasing Bemerton by two goals to one after taking an early first half lead.
Andy Sampson’s squad was missing several regulars due to work committments and injuries including captain Martin McDonough, Scott Sampson, Spike Pearce and Mark Taylor. Harrison Yates was brought in at centre back alongside Scott Barron. Lewis and Jake Wright both returned in midfield. Reserve team keeper Alex Ram was on the bench because veteran keeper Gary Streeter had been having back problems during the week.
Newport got off to a flyer and took the lead on 6 minutes when Connor Kelly ran at the Harlequins defence and nobody could stop him putting the ball in the back of the net. The lead was only to last a mere 7 minutes when Bemerton equalised with a free header from a corner.
In an even game Newport went close to regaining the lead when a Jacob Reynolds header went narrowly the wrong side of the post. Jordan Browne produced a shot from the edge of the box which fired narrowly over the Bemerton cross bar. Both sides had chances but neither were able to break the deadlock before half time.
HT: Bemerton Heath Harlequins 1 Newport 1
Newport made a substitution at half time when keeper Gary Streeter was forced off with his back problem and Alex Ram came on to make his first team debut.
Newport had an early chance when a Jordan Browne shot brought a good save out of Bemerton keeper Paddy Creese low down to his left.
On 57 minutes the referee gave Bemerton a free kick on the edge of the Newport area but then changed his decision to a penalty after consulting an assistant.
The league top scorer Justin Bennett took the penalty but young keeper Alex Ram brought off a good save to keep the scores level.
The match continued to be on a knife edge until the 65th minute when a long distance effort from Bemerton just beat Alex Ram to put the Witshire side 2-1 ahead.
On 80 minutes Andy Sampson brought off defender Harrison Yates and brought on striker Zac Sullivan in an effort to get something from the game.
Newport threw everything at it but couldn’t find the net. Bemerton did get the ball in the net again on 90 minutes but the effort was wiped out for offside.
FT: Bemerton Heath Harlequins 2 Newport 1
Newport: Streeter (Ram), Hughes, Lamb, Yates (Sullivan), Barron, Reynolds, Kelly, L Wright, Cousins, Browne, J Wright.
Referee: Mr Jacob Wright
Newport pulled out another fine attacking performance at Longmeadow on Saturday to come away with all three points against high flying Whitchurch United.
Andy Sampson had to make a number of enforced changes with the unavailability of Scott Sampson, Charlie Urry and George Colson. Jacob Reynolds took over the defensive midfield role whilst Martin McDonagh dropped into the back line, Liam Triggs started in midfield and Jared Cousins returned from injury up front.
It didn’t take long for the Port to get in front when a Connor Kelly cross was met with a first time strike from Jared Cousins in the 9th minute.
After the goal, the match turned a little scrappy but Newport stayed on the front foot and continued to look dangerous. Connor Kelly had a great chance to make it 2-0 when through one on one with the home keeper but was unable to find the net.
The Port were punished in the 39th minute when Ryan Long pulled one back for the home side.
Once again it didn’t take long for the Port to get in front with Jacob Reynolds getting up in the six yard box to head home. With only 2 minutes left on the first half clock, the Port saw the time out to go in 2-1 up.
HT: Whitchurch Utd 1 Newport 2
If Newport had started the first half on fire , they turned the heat up even higher in the second half.
In the 46th minute, Liam Triggs picked the ball upin midfield and went on a mazy run, right through the Whitchurch defence and slotted home to give the Port a two goal cushion. Within seconds of the restart Connor Kelly had scored an absolute screamer from 25+ yards out. I will leave it to our mainland correspondent Mike Payne to describe; –
“The goal of this season, last season, and probably many season’s ahead! Connor’s goal was what would now be described as a ‘Worldy’! He was sort of in the inside-right position, but a bit wider perhaps, the ball came square to him and he hit a curling shot that flew into the far top corner. It was magnificent! ”
Thats 4-1 then and effectively game over.
Newport continued to dominate midfield with both Liam Triggs and Jacob Reynolds having excellent matches in their respective positions.
FT: Whitchurch United 1 Newport 4
Newport: Streeter, Hughes, Lamb, Pearce, McDonough,Reynolds (J Wright), Kelly, Triggs, Cousins, Browne, Taylor.
Referee: Mark Millard
Newport Reserves lost 4-0 away at runaway league leaders Oakfield. A tough match that saw the youngsters finish the game with 8 players after late withdrawals and injuries including Caleb Charlesworth going off with a head injury. The players that represented the Port in a difficult situation were a credit to the club.