The Port made two changes to the starting line up that had emphatically beaten New Milton Town 7-1 at Beatrice Avenue the previous Saturday. Veteran goalkeeper, Gary Streeter, was not fit enough to play, and youngster Alex Ram was given his first full start. Also missing through injury was forward Jared Cousins, who was ably replaced by Joe Craig.
The Port kicked off towards the GKN end on a soft but playable pitch on a mild, sunny winter day. Newport began the game much as they had left off in their win against New Milton the previous Saturday, on the front foot, forcing a couple of corners in the opening minutes of the game.
First, Lewis Wright had a good attempt blocked by the Romsey town keeper, Charlie Phillpot.
Then, Jacob Reynolds shot narrowly wide. In what was an attractive open game, Romsey created a couple of opportunities for themselves, with Jack Ormison shooting at the keeper in the 6th minute and Harry Draycott shooting wide in the 8th.
The Port’s first goal came in the 12th minute, when livewire winger, Connor KELLY, beat the offside trap just outside the penalty area, then sent a low shot across the face of the goal to score at the far post and make the score 1-0 to the home side.
Romsey gamely attempted to battle back into the game, with first Geoffrey Dunn shooting across the face of the goal, and then Jack Ormison also sending the ball across the goal line from an acute angle after rounding young Newport keeper, Alex Ram.
Then the Port stepped up the pressure again, with Joe Craig having a strong shot parried by Phillpot in the 19th minute, and Jordan Browne turning well with the ball on the edge of the penalty area in the 35th minute, only to have his weak shot saved by the keeper.
Newport made their pressure count in the 36th minute, when Lewis Wright played Connor KELLY through, for the in form winger to round the Romsey keeper and send a low shot into the right hand side netting, to give the home side a 2-0 advantage.
Five minutes later, Connor Kelly found full back, Neo Lamb, in the penalty area, who laid the ball on to Jordan BROWNE for the powerful centre forward to blast the ball into the back of the net from point blank range and send the Island side into the second half with a more than comfortable 3-0 advantage.
Half time: Newport IW 3-0 Romsey Town
The second half began in much the same manner as the first: an open game with chances for both sides. Connor Kelly almost scored his hat-trick in the 47th minute, with an attempted lob that just went wide of the post. In the 49th minute, Romsey centre forward, Jack Ormison, missed a great chance with only Alex Ram in the Newport goal to beat. Then, in the 51st minute, Joe Craig was played on by Jordan Browne, who hit the post with only Romsey keeper, Charlie Phillpot, to beat.
Then came the first blow to Newport, when the home side’s most formidable attacking threat, the pacy Connor Kelly, who had taken a knock in the first half, was taken off to be replaced by the combative Mark Taylor in the 52nd minute. Taylor almost scored within a couple of minutes of coming on to the field of play, when he had a shot cleared off the line after a goalmouth scramble. Andy Sampson then made his second substitution of the game, when holding midfielder, Jacob Reynolds, who has been in excellent form of late, was replaced by Scott Barron.
A second blow for Newport’s dominance in the game came in the 62nd minute, when midfielder, Spike Pearce, who had already been yellow carded in the first half, was sent off for an over-physical challenge, a decision viewed by many in the crowd as ‘harsh’. The Port, however, continued to press forward, with Martin McDonough sending a volley wide in the 66th minute, Jordan Browne shooting over the bar in the 80th minute and Lewis Wright having a shot saved by Charlie Phillpot in the 85th.
As the game appeared to be petering out to a close, with Romsey seemingly unable to take advantage of their extra man, Romsey’s leading scorer, Liam MAGEE popped up to score what appeared to be no more than a consolation goal for the away side in the 88th minute. 3-1.
Then, a minute later, Craig BRYANT beat Alex Ram to the ball in the air to reduce the deficit to one goal with only a minute of full time left on the clock. 3-2.
Finally, in the 3rd minute of time added on, Geoff Dunn pulled the ball back from the byline for Liam MAGEE to score from close range and level the scores at 3-3, unleashing great scenes of jubilation for the opposition team, bench and visiting supporters.
Full time: Newport IW 3-3 Romsey Town
Newport: Ram, Hughes, Lamb, Reynolds (Barron), McDonough, Sampson, Kelly (Taylor),
Pearce, Craig (J Wright), Browne, L Wright. Unused sub: Streeter
Goals: Newport: Kelly 12, 36; Browne 41 Romsey Town: Magee 88. 90+3: Bryant 89
Referee: Krasimir Petrov
Report: Warren Whitmore