Newport slipped to their first league defeat of the season against a strong US Portsmouth side at St. George’s Park.
Recalled to the side following periods of unavailability were Ryan Hall, Mark Taylor, Scott Sampson and Spike Pearce. Jared Wetherick was unavailable as he was working but was named as substitute in the hope he might make some of the match.
The early periods of the game were tense as both sides were keen to keep their good starts to the season moving forward. Newport’s Mark Taylor had a stern talking to from referee James Byng within the first five minutes following a strong challenge.
There followed a period when both sides managed to create chances but both keepers coming out on top. For Newport George Holmes hit a superb free kick from 25 yards that was heading for the top corner until Joe Hunt got a hand to it to tip it over the bar. At the other end Ryan Hall was on hand to deny Harry Potter low down at the post following a good passing move.
The major talking point towards the end of the first half occurred following a Newport corner. George Holmes was wrestled to the ground in the penalty area, held down and some supporters behind the goal were claiming he was hit whilst trying to free himself.
The referee was prepared to let US Portsmouth restart from a goal kick but the linesman, experienced former referee Rudi Burton was waving his flag vigorously. The referee went over for a discussion and many expected action to be taken but nothing happened and US Portsmouth restarted the game.
HT: Newport 0 US Portsmouth 0
The second half started with much the same but the breakthrough for US Portsmouth came on 53 mins when the Port lost possession in midfield and the ball was played through to high scoring striker Harry Potter to put the services team ahead.
By now US Portsmouth had their tails up and with a much more experienced side were able to keep the Port at bay. Former Christchurch striker Tom Jeffes now playing at centre half marshalled the RN well and closed down most of the Port’s forward movement.
As the Port pushed forward to try and get an equaliser US Portsmouth then went on to score a breakaway goal on 79 minutes as Lewis Beale ran through one and one with keeper Hall and smashed the ball into the net.
There was no way back for the Port from there.
FT: Newport 0 US Portsmouth 2
Newport: Ryan Hall, Mark Taylor (Scott Barron) , Neo Lamb, Harrison Yates (Tony Potts), Spike Pearce, Scott Sampson, Darren Powell, Liam Triggs, Joe Craig, George Holmes (Reece Wren), Louie Fleming.
Referee: James Byng