Alton 1 Newport 3

Newport recorded their first win of 2020 against a 2nd placed Alton side who had won their last 8 matches in 2019.

Andy Sampson had almost a full squad to choose from apart from Mark Taylor who with his partner had an addition to their family over the New Year period.

Newport got off to an absolute flyer when in the 2nd minute, Jordan Browne controlled a ball into the box and drove it past the Alton keeper to put the Port ahead.
If Alton were fired up for this game, it suddenly went up several notches as they had been caught cold and were determined to throw everything at Newport to get back into the game.

Alton pressed forward in wave after wave but a combination of a determined Gary Streeter and some off target shooting kept their scoresheet blank. In fact, in the first quarter Scott Sampson came closest to scoring for the home side as Streeter had to tip over a wayward header and a deflected shot pushed away for a corner.

Alton had a very strong spell leading up to the half hour mark with good efforts just going wide, Streeter making a good save and the crossbar helping out in defence.

There had been one or two niggly tackles in the first half and in the 44th minute Lewis Wright received a yellow card for a foul.

HT: Alton 0 Newport 1

Alton came out where they left off, a lot of effort and pressure but not quite having the quality in front of goal. When they did hit the target Gary Streeter in goal was having a blinder. Sometimes the big man gets in the zone where he appears unbeatable and it was starting to look this way. He was coming for and claiming every cross, he just appeared to be in exactly the right place on every attack.
In the 55th minute it was a Pele – Gordon Banks moment. From a cross the Alton striker at the back post did everything right, he got over the ball and headed it downwards just inside the post, incredibly Streeter got down and pushed it out for a corner.

On 62 minutes Newport made their first substitution, Jake Wright coming on for the tiring Jared Cousins.
Within a couple of minutes Streeter was back to business, going full stretch to tip away a free kick heading for the top corner.

Just coming up to 70 minutes Newport were to extend their lead. A break out of midfield involving Jake Wright and Jordan Browne allowed the striker to hold the ball up then lay the it off to the incoming Jacob Reynolds who drove the ball past the home keeper to make it 2-0 to the Port.

Straight back down the other end and Newport were caught short, leaving Gary Streeter to coming out of his area and tackle the striker between the box and the corner flag. The referee called a foul and Alton shouted for a penalty but it was judged just outside the box.

On the 80 minute mark Newport made their second substitution when Jacob Reynolds came off limping and holding his head. He had played another good game, involved in everything and he seems to be revelling in the defensive midfield role. Scott Barron came on straight in to midfield as replacement.

With five minutes left on the clock there was uproar. A Newport player committed a foul just outside the penalty area, the referee blew his whistle and within half a second an Alton player had driven the loose ball through the crowded penalty area and into the net. There was nothing Alton could do about it, the referee was apologetic but he had blown for the foul and that was the decision.

Gary Streeter resumed normal service keeping out everything that Alton could throw at him in the final few minutes of the half. As the game moved into injury time the referee awarded Alton a penalty. An Alton striker went down under a challenge in the box and the referee pointed straight to the spot. It looked soft but the official had a good view of it. Phil Moore scoring from the spot, hitting the ball down the middle as Streeter dived to his right. 2-1 to the Port.

Was it to be a nervy few minutes of injury time? No absolutely not. Within a minute Newport had lost the ball, then regained it and from midfield broke forward. Lewis Wright took the ball onwards and then from about 25 yards hit an absolute screamer that flew into the net to effectively seal the win.

After the game almost everyone on the pitch and in the dugouts went up to Gary Streeter and congratulated him on his man of the match performance. It had been touch and go if he would have played as he had been ill in bed with flu over New Year period. Reserve keeper Ben Gearing was on the bench in case Streeter hadn’t felt well enough to play. Judging by his performance he obviously did although he may regret it for a couple of days.

FT: Alton 1 Newport 3

Newport: Streeter, Hughes, Lamb, Reynolds (Barron), McDonough, Sampson, Kelly, Pearce, Cousins (J Wright), Browne, L Wright. Unused subs, Gearing, Craig.

Referee: Mr C Tanase

Att: 150

It was a good day all round for the club as Newport Reserves reached the last 8 of the Hampshire Vase with a 3-2 win at home against Compton Reserves. Newport raced into a 3-0 lead with goals from Harry Cheek, Reece Wren and Jayden Yates in the first 20 minutes. Compton pulled one back before half time.
A much tighter second half saw Compton get another goal but thePort reserves held on for a 3-2 win and to go through.