Port were almost up to full strength for the visit of high-flying, in-form Romsey Town, with Jared Wetherick and Mark Taylor both returning from their respective suspensions, and Connor Kelly available. The home side made two changes to the starting line-up that had lost against leaders Amesbury the previous Saturday: Mark Taylor replacing Scott Barron and Connor Kelly taking the place of Ben Snow on the wing. Newport kicked off playing towards the allotments end on a soft pitch on a mild, overcast, late winter Saturday.
As in their previous two games against strong opposition, Port began the game very brightly indeed, with Jared Cousins having an effort tipped over the bar in the fifth minute, and Connor Kelly having a good chance saved by the keeper in the eighth. In the nineteenth minute, evergreen Veteran keeper, Gary Streeter, was forced into an acrobatic one-handed save, that sent him first clattering into the post and then finding himself entangled in the side netting. As a result, the game was held up for a couple of minutes while the netting was repaired.
Port continued to pile on the pressure. In the 35th minute, Mark Taylor stole the ball on the edge of the area, but was unable to take advantage of the opportunity. However, in the 38th minute, a Taylor pass found Joe CRAIG at the near post, who turned and placed the ball in the far corner of the Romsey Town goal. The home side finished the first half without any scares, having had the lions share of the possession and opportunities against probably the strongest side in Wessex League 1.
Half time: Newport IW 1–0 Romsey Town
Jared Wetherick came on for Jared Cousins in the second half. It had been thought that the absence of the experienced and well-built striker was responsible for Newport’s failure to convert chances into goals in recent games. Unfortunately, in what was a tale of two halves, although he had one good chance five minutes after coming on, Romsey dominated the possession, and the returning striker was left with little to do.
In the 65th minute, Gary Streeter was forced into a great one handed save that drew the applause of the crowd. Port held on to the lead until the 79th minute, when Craig BRYANT headed in for the visitors from five yards.
The formidable Romsey Town side were seemingly not content to return to the mainland with a single point. First, Will Wiseman shot just past the post for the visitors, then Geoff Dunn missed an open goal. Andy Sampson belatedly threw on a couple of pairs of fresh legs, with Ben Snow replacing Mark Taylor, and Ryan Hughes coming on for Jacob Reynolds. However, the substitutions proved to be too little, too late, as, in the 87th minute, Jack EDAM popped up to put the ball in the back of the net from five yards for Romsey Town.
Final score: Newport IW 1–2 Romsey Town
Newport IW: Streeter, Reynolds (Hughes 85), Lamb, Wright, McDonagh ©, Sampson, Kelly, Craig, Cousins (Wetherick 45), Browne, Taylor (Snow 85)
Referee: Krasimir Petrov
On Sunday Newport Youth Under 16’s reached the semi final of the Hampshire Sunday Cup. A tough 2-2 draw away to Andover New Street led to a penalty shoot out and the Port triumphed 5-4. They now face an away trip for the semi final to Winchester City on March 10th.