Port were unchanged for the visit of 11th placed Laverstock, a team that had drawn 2–2 on their previous visit to the Island, last Saturday, against East Cowes Vics. The home side kicked off towards the allotments end on a windy, blustery day, on a pitch in surprisingly good condition despite recent heavy rain, which had forced the postponement of Tuesday’s game against Hythe & Dibden.
Port began as brightly in the opening minutes, as would be expected from a home team in good form with a gale-force wind behind them, but appeared to lack the cutting edge required to score in the final third of the pitch. It was Laverstock who scored first in the 17th minute, with their first serious attack of the game, when Russell JONES—who was to prove to be a handful for the Newport defence throughout the game—rounded Gary Streeter in the Newport goal to score from close range.
Port almost equalised within five minutes, when Mark Taylor rattled the crossbar with a thirty-yard strike. In the 24th minute, a Connor Kelly free kick was parried by the Laverstock keeper, but Lewis Wright was unable to convert the rebound. In the 35th minute, a Laverstock defender was forced to clear off his goal line after a goalmouth scramble in which their keeper had gone AWOL after failing to control a cross. Finally, in the 36th minute, Jordan Browne shot well over the bar after being put through by Jared Wetherick. The Wiltshire side managed to weather the storm both literally and metaphorically to reach half time with a 0–1 advantage, knowing that the strong wind would be behind them in the second half.
Half time: Newport IW 0–1 Laverstock & Ford
After a disjointed and lacklustre first half, Port rallied to put in a magnificent second half performance against a strong counter-attacking away side. In the 51st minute, Connor Kelly broke clear, but his shot was saved on the line. Then, in the 61st minute, Connor KELLY curled a Jared Cousins pass from the middle of the penalty area to the goalkeeper’s right to equalise for Port.
Connor Kelly was now on fire, and saw two efforts narrowly missing the post in the 65th and 66th minutes. In the 68th minute, Jared Cousins had a strong shot punched away by the Laverstock keeper. Then, in the 69th minute, Scott Sampson hit the post with a header. However, thirty seconds or so later, Lewis WRIGHT was put through by Jared Wetherick, to score from 10 yards, his second goal in two games.
Andy Sampson then made his substitutions: Ben Snow coming on for the on-form Connor Kelly (who had taken a knock) and Joe Craig replacing Jared Cousins. Ben Snow almost scored with his first touch when put through, but found himself unable to control the ball. However, in the 87th minute, a Graham MANKIN header, which Gary Streeter got a hand to but couldn’t control, delivered what appeared to be the sucker punch for the Wiltshire side, equalising with only three minutes of normal time remaining.
Port continued to attack, with Joe Craig shooting across the face of the goal in the first minute of injury time. Finally, in the second minute of injury time, a Scott Sampson header hit the crossbar, only for Jordan BROWNE to tap the rebound into the back of the net from five yards.
Full time: Newport IW 3–2 Laverstock & Ford
Goals: Newport IW: Kelly 61, Wright 69, Browne 90+2 Laverstock: Jones 17, Mankin 87
Newport IW: Streeter, Hughes, Lamb, Wetherick, McDonagh, Sampson, Kelly (Snow 76), Wright (Powell 90+3), Cousins (Craig 78), Browne, Taylor
Referee: Peter Lowe
Newport Man-of-the-match: Scott Sampson