This match had been highlighted as a six pointer and one of the “must wins” at home, the others being the visits of the promotion contenders still to visit Beatrice Avenue.
Newport made one change to the side that beat Whitchurch United a fortnight ago, with Spike Pearce coming in at right back and Ryan Hughes switching to left back to take the place of Harrison Yates.
Newport named Joe Rayner as one of the substitutes, being dual signed with Whitecroft and Barton.
The Port kicked off towards the GKN end in cold conditions on a soft pitch but good considering the recent weather.
The game started competitively, with both sides requiring three points to stay in touch with the promotion contenders. The first serious attempt on goal from the home side came from Connor Kelly, who spotted the Brewer’s goalkeeper, Justin Courtnage, off his line and attempted an ambitious 30-yard lob that flew over the crossbar. An audacious effort not dissimilar to his goal against Whitchurch two weeks ago.
The Port then had a lucky escape in the 19th minute, when Alton forward, George Bowerman, dispatched a thunderous strike from the middle of the penalty area that cannoned off the right post and flew across the face of the goal to safety.
The Brewers had started confidently and held the greater share of possession for most of the rest of the first half Newport were forced into conceding a long succession of corners, which fortunately Alton were unable to capitalise on. The Brewers were controlling the game, but mistimed passing meant they lacked the necessary cutting edge in the final third of the field.
The Port were to take the lead against the run of play four minutes from half time. Connor Kelly floated a long free kick into the Brewer’s penalty area, which was headed back across goal by Scott Sampson. Jordan Browne got his head to the loose ball first which skidded into the net off the post.
The Port were fortunate to take a lead into the half time break but the home strikers had proven to be the more clinical.
HT Newport IW 3-0 Alton FC
It would be interesting to see how the visitors had been affected by the goal and would there be a change of tactics to try and get back into the game.
The Brewers came close to equalising in the 49th minute, when their centre forward, Louis Russell, had a powerful shot well saved down low by Gary Streeter in the Newport goal.
The Port demonstrated their ability to deal decisively with chances that fell their way when, in the 51st minute, visiting keeper Justin Courtnage failed to hold a Connor Kelly corner, Jordan Browne controlled the loose ball, turned and blasted the ball into the back of the net from 8 yards. (2-0)
Connor Kelly then turned from provider to scorer. Receiving the ball out on the right wing about 25 yards from goal, he turned inside the defender onto his favoured left foot and unleashed an audacious drive that arrowed under the bar, inside the post into the top of the side netting. (3-0)
Alton continued to press and try and get back into the game with Luke Perkins hitting the woodwork in the 65th minute.
Further drama ensued in the 69th minute, when Jared Cousins was played in and skilfully rounded the Alton keeper, only for Justin Courtnage to make contact and force him to lose his balance and fall just inside the box. Referee, George Redford had little option other than award a penalty to the Port. Surprisingly he was also shown a red card rather than the yellow one most people expected.
Alton manager, Kev Adair, sent himself onto the pitch as substitute keeper. Uncharacteristically, in form striker Connor Kelly, blasted the spot kick way over the bar into the adjoining school playground.
The game started to get a bit niggly with players squaring up to each other on a number of occasions.
Andy Sampson brought on Joe Rayner for Jacob Reynolds, Harrison Yates for Joe Craig to freshen things up.
Jordan Browne came close to scoring his hat trick, but had his effort spectacularly saved by the very able Alton manager.
A foul on Scott Barron forced the youngster to be substituted with three minutes on the clock.
The game ended on a sour note, with Spike Pearce sent off, allegedly for throwing a punch.
FT: Newport IW 3-0 Alton FC
Newport IW: Streeter, Hughes, Pearce, Barron (McCabe 87), McDonough, Sampson, Kelly, Reynolds (Rayner 83), Cousins, Browne, Craig (Yates 84)
Goals: Newport: Browne 41, 51; Kelly 59
Newport Reserves produced a fine 4-2 win at home to table toppers Oakfield, inflicting their first defeat in the league this season. Goal scorers for the Port were Jake Wright 2 , Jayden Yates and Brad Thompson.