A game of two halves ? – Unbelievable Jeff

If ever the saying “A game of two halves” was true it was at Portland United on Saturday.

A long away day will go down in the memory of a fantastic fightback and three points from a match that had seemed unwinnable.

Portland United started strongly, great passing and movement which had the Port on the backfoot from the beginning. On 10 mins Newport conceded a rash penalty, a lone striker going nowhere was tackled from behind in the box, penalty duly despatched 1-0.

The Port then had a reasonable spell as they tried to get back in the game, Joe Butcher broke through and his angled chip just went the wrong side of the post. It wasnt to be for long as Portland got back on the pass/move game and Newport were once again struggling to get close, conceding some yellow cards for late challenges through McDonough and Quigley. Sure enough the second goal for Portland came from a slick passing move into the box and a shot across goal into the corner of the net 2-0.

How Portland didn’t go in at half time with a bigger lead only they will know, missed chances, over, wide and some desperate defending kept it at 2-0.

HT Portland United 2 Newport 0

Strong words in the Newport dressing Room obviously, looking for a way back into the game. The half started much better for the men in yellow, more energy saw them take the game to Portland. Having looked a yard off the pace in the first half Newport were now on the front foot, pressing Portland and pegging them back in their own half. The Port ran up a series of corners and from the third one Daz Powell got his head up to steer the ball in off the post and pull one back.

There was then a setback for Newport when a Portland striker was caught by a trailing arm from Martin McDonough and the referee produced a second yellow to send the Newport captain to the changing room. Newport then started a series of substitutions bringing on Liam Triggs for Liam Bennett, Aiden Sainsbury for his brother Keelan and this meant Daz Powell dropped back as an emergency defender.

The Port weren’t overawed by this setback and continued to press and put the Portland goal under pressure. The Blues were unable to clear their lines and from the edge of the box Josh Younie drilled the ball through a crowded goalmouth to make it all square.

Newport continued to catch Portland out on the break as they went in search of the winner with Joe Butcher setting up Liam Triggs  but the Portland keeper just got down in time to make the save. A final substitution for the Port saw Jimmi Burton come on for Joe Butcher.  Smelling blood, the Port continued on the offensive and once again got men into the box and on 72 mins Liam Triggs received the ball just inside the penalty area and steered it past the keeper to put the Port in front. This brought unbelievable scenes from the dozen or so travelling Port fans.

Portland pushed forward for the final 10 or so minutes and apart from having to make one forceful punching save Gary Streeter was rarely troubled as the Port held out for a fantastic win.

FT: Portland United 2 Newport 3

Portland:Lillington, Smith, McKechnie, Carmichael, Whyton, Doidge, Buckler, Halloran, Richardson, Bastick, Beasley. Subs: Godfrey, Watts, Bessant.

Newport: Streeter, Newbold, Quigley, Pearce, McDonough, K Sainsbury, Powell, Bennett, Younie, Kelly, Butcher. Subs: West, A Sainsbury, Triggs, Burton.