In a physical game full of controversy, Port went down to a 0–4 home defeat to probably the strongest team in Wessex League 1.
Newport made three changes to the side that had won 0–1 away to Whitchurch United the previous Saturday: Joe Winchcombe taking the place of the injured Gary Streeter in goal, Ryan Hughes replacing Neo Lamb at the back, and Scott Sampson coming in for Darren Powell in midfield. The home side kicked off towards the allotments end in late winter sunshine on a good pitch.
Port started brightly, but the Purples took a controversial lead as early as the twelfth minute, when Jack BRADY rounded the keeper to slot the ball home from close range, although there had been a strong call for handball against a Stoneham player in the build up to the goal. The physical nature of the game took its toll, with the visitor’s Josh Clark being forced to leave the field on a stretcher after 20 minutes, following a strong tackle, to be replaced by Marcel Laptas.
Stoneham’s Alex Welch was lucky not to have been red-carded, after two dangerous challenges on Martin McDonough and Harrison Yates, the first of which he received a yellow card for. The Stoneham bench then substituted Welch, but should have counted themselves fortunate not to have been playing with ten men.
Jared Cousins broke through on 30 minutes, but shot well wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. Scott Barron was forced to clear off the line in the 36th minute, and the home side reached the half-time break trailing 0–1.
Half time: Newport IW 0–1 AFC Stoneham
The second-half began with further controversy, when Martin McDonough was booked for a foul on the edge of the Newport penalty area, although he did not appear to have made contact with the Stoneham player. The Purples added a second in the 57th minute, again in controversial circumstances, from a Sergio CABALLERO header, after Ryan Hughes had appeared to have been bundled over in the attacking move.
There was no controversy over Stoneham’s third goal, when Eduardo JIMINEZ made the game safe for the away side in the 67th minute, scoring from five yards after a cross from Caballero.
Port then threw on their substitutes: Spike Pearce replacing Martin McDonough, Ben Snow coming on for Joe Craig, and Mark Taylor taking the place of Harrison Yates. However, the home side were unable to change the pattern of the game against a strong and physical Stoneham. The Purples added a fourth in the eighty-fourth minute, after Mark Taylor tripped a Stoneham player in the Newport penalty area (although many in the crowd thought he had not made contact); Sergio CABALLERO converting the penalty for the visitors.
Final score: Newport IW 0–4 AFC Stoneham
Newport: Joe Winchcombe, Hughes, Yates (Taylor), Barron, McDonough (Pearce), Sampson, Wright, Triggs, Craig (Snow), Cousins, Fleming.
Referee: Robert Linter