In the first Port-Vics league derby for almost thirty years, Vics held the Port to a one-all draw, after having been reduced to ten men shortly before the interval.
Newport put out a more experienced side than the one that had travelled to Wimborne on Saturday, with Scott Sampson and Darren Powell replacing Alex Harmer and Neo Lamb. The Vics had as many as eight former Newport players in their starting line-up, with the following players all having donned a yellow shirt at some point in their playing careers: Hunt, Ballantyne, Walsh, Przespolewski, Burton, Browne, Butcher and Ahmed.
Newport played the first half towards the allotments, on a green pitch, softened by recent rain, in mild, overcast conditions, in front of a large August bank holiday crowd.
The first half was a feisty, open contest, with plenty of chances for both sides. The first opportunity of the game fell to Jared Wetherick in the third minute, who rose powerfully to meet a Joe Craig cross, forcing the Vics keeper to drop the ball. Then, in the fourth minute, teenage Port ‘keeper Ryan Hall was forced to make an acrobatic save from Jimmi Burton. There then followed a period of sustained Vics pressure, during which they had three corners in three minutes, all ending with the unfortunate Mr Burton being unable to convert the chances coming his way: firstly, having his shot blocked, then shooting wide from five yards, and finally having an effort punched away by Ryan Hall. Then, it was Newport’s turn to apply the pressure, with Jared Wetherick sending a free header wide of the post in the 14th minute, Joe Craig shooting past the left post in the 19th, and Spike Pearce heading over the bar in the 20th.
The first goal came in the 26th minute from a very well-worked move: Joe Craig launching a long cross met by Jared Wetherick’s head at the far post, who dispatched the ball across the goal to be tapped in by the youngster, George Holmes, from five yards, to give the Port a one-goal advantage. It took the Vics all of three minutes to respond, when, in the 29th minute, Jimmi Burton took the ball from outside the area, wrong-footed a defender, and placed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of Ryan Hall’s net, to equalise for the away side.
Wetherick then came close to restoring Newport’s lead, when—in the 34th minute—he had a powerful shot blocked by Will Hunt. In the 39th minute, came an incident that changed the nature of the game: young Vics striker, Elias Ahmed—who had earlier clashed with the Port’s captain, Martin McDonough—launched a reckless challenge on Newport’s No11, Mark Taylor, earning him a straight red (which some observers thought merited yellow). Shortly before half-time, Vics had a chance to take the lead, when Ryan Hall missed a high cross, but Alex Przespolewski was unable to take advantage, and the two sides reached the half-time break on equal terms.
HT: NEWPORT 1–1 EAST COWES VICS
The second half saw the Port with the lion’s share of the possession and goal chances, but found themselves unable to take advantage of their extra man. The first chance of the second half fell to the Vics, when Jordan Chapman broke free in the 46th minute, forcing a successful intervention from Ryan Hall. Then, chances for the Port to take the lead came thick and fast: Lewis Wright twice shooting wide in the 47th minute, Darren Powell directing a far post header from just five yards out to the Vics’ keeper in the 48th minute. In the 57th minute, a Joe Craig cross found Mark Taylor at the far post, who lobbed it over the keeper, but his effort was saved on the line. In the 62nd minute, Jared Wetherick sent the ball just over the bar from a header five yards out.
In the 78th minute, Andy Sampson decided to throw on some fresh legs with a double substitution: Kyle Drew and Louie Fleming coming on for George Holmes and Joe Craig. However, the Vics stayed resolute and the Port continued to labour in vain. In the 80th minute came an extremely promising three-on-one attack for the home side, but neither Wetherick, Taylor nor Drew could make anything of their opportunities. The game became fractious towards the end, with Spike Pearce getting booked for a foul on Keenan Walsh, and two Vics players—Jake Ballantyne and Brandon Hayward booked for time wasting, and an absorbing contest fizzled out to a draw.
FINAL SCORE: NEWPORT IoW 1–1 EAST COWES VICS
The Port remain unbeaten in twelfth position in Wessex League 1, having won one and drawn two of their three games. East Cowes Vics climb to fifth position in the table, but have played two more games.
Newport next play in the Wessex League at Andover Town on 9 September. The next home game, against Stoneham, comes at the end of the month, on 29 September.
The reserves have two home fixtures in close proximity: on 29 August, they play Osborne Coburg, then, on 1 September, Whitecroft and Barton.
Newport: Hall, Pearce, Triggs, McDonough, Powell, Sampson, Wright, Holmes (Fleming 78), Wetherick, Craig (Drew 78), Taylor. Subs (not used): Charlesworth, Fleming, Harmer, Drew, Streeter.
Referee: Jack Birch
Goals: Newport: Holmes 26 East Cowes Vics: Burton 29