Newport’s drive for promotion misfired after coming from behind to gain a draw against Ringwood Town, a side 7 places below them in the Wessex League One table.
The Port made two changes to the side that had won impressively at Fawley the previous Saturday, with the return of two senior players, Scott Sampson and Spike Pearce, who took the places of Scott Barron and Jake Wright.
Newport began the game kicking towards the GKN end on a soft pitch in blustery conditions. In what was a very open game, the Port began the game soaking up pressure from a Ringwood side that had come to the Island with attacking intent. The first clear chance for the home side came in the 15th minute, when Jordan Browne shot the ball high and wide after beating a defender. Newport had an appeal for a penalty just before the half hour mark, when Connor Kelly appeared to have been brought down by Ringwood keeper, Nick Harvey, but the referee said there was no contact and waved play on. A couple of minutes later, Connor Kelly was to force a great stop from Harvey after being put through by Joe Craig.
Disaster was to strike Newport in the 35th minute, when Ringwood captain, Ryan Osman, sent a sublime strike from outside the penalty area past a stranded Gary Streeter in the Newport goal to give the New Forest side the lead. (0-1)
A stunned Newport side went all out to level the score. First, Ryan Hughes shot just wide in the 36th minute. 3 minutes later, Jordan Browne shot just wide after yet another fine Joe Craig cross. Then, just before half-time, Jacob Reynolds shot over the Ringwood Town crossbar. However, without the composure needed to breach a resolute Ringwood defence, Newport went to the dressing rooms, in arrears at half time
HT: Newport IW 0-1 Ringwood Town
The second half began with an uncharacteristic mistake by veteran Newport keeper, Gary Streeter, when he slipped on the soft surface before having to recover to save a lob from the opposing side. Streeter just managed to prevent the ball from crossing the line, although there were strong appeals from the Ringwood bench that a goal should be given.
Newport continued to press forward, with Jacob Reynolds sending a shot high over the crossbar in the 59th minute and Joe Craig having his shot spilled by the Ringwood keeper in the 60th minute, with no Newport forward on hand to take advantage of the loose ball. In the 64th minute, Jordan Browne shot wide after a period of Port pressure in the Ringwood goalmouth.The equalising goal came in the 66th minute, with Jordan Browne showing some excellent ball skills in the penalty area, before striking the ball into the net with his outstretched foot after a Connor Kelly free kick.
Newport then pushed on to get the winning goal. In the 73rd minute, Joe Craig sent the ball across the Ringwood goalmouth with no-one in a yellow shirt present to take advantage. In the 85th minute, a free kick from substitute Mark Taylor fell to Jacob Reynolds, who shot just wide. Finally, in the 86th minute, Joe Craig had a shot rebound from the far post that bounced along the line into the goalkeeper’s arms.
However, a resilient and well-drilled Ringwood defence weathered the storm to return across the Solent to the New Forest with a well-earned point. On the day the conditions were probably the winner. A heavy pitch with a blustery wind and a low sun made things difficult for both sides.
FT Newport IW 1-1 Ringwood Town
Newport: Streeter, Hughes, H Yates (Taylor 65), Reynolds, McDonough, Sampson, Kelly, Pearce, Craig, Browne, L Wright (J Wright) Sub not used: F McCabe.
Goals: Newport: Browne 66 Ringwood Town: Osman 35
Referee: Robert Harrison