The Port made three changes to the starting line-up that beat Alton 3-0 in the FA Vase on Saturday. Gary Streeter was unable to play due to a dislocated finger sustained in the previous game and was replaced by Joe McCormack. With Newport playing two games a week, Andy Sampson decided to rotate his squad. Two players present in the FA Vase victory were therefore warming the bench in midweek—Alek Przepolewski and Josh Younie—replaced by Spike Pearce and Joe Craig.
The momentum gained from Newport’s win on Saturday carried through to the opening exchanges of Tuesday night’s game. In the seventh minute, Connor Kelly made a good run and then put Jordan Browne through to a one-on-one situation with the Oiler’s keeper, Joe Combes. Jordan sent his shot flying over the crossbar, but the referee ruled that he had been impeded by Coombes and awarded a penalty to the home side.
The Fawley keeper dived the right way, blocking Connor’s shot. Linesman, Jamie Saltzer, raised his flag to indicate that Combes had come off his line before the ball was struck, but referee, Anthony Cross waved play on.
Newport continued to attack with a curling Connor Kelly cross meeting the head of Jordan Browne on the quarter hour mark, forcing a good save from Joe Coombes. Port pressure resulted in a number of corners for the home side with the best scoring chance falling to Scott Barron, who headed over the crossbar.
Fawley also had their opportunities to score, the best falling to centre forward, Ollie Bradley, who forced Joe McCormack into making a good save.
The Port took the lead five minutes before half time, when Joe Butcher put Joe CRAIG through, who then dummied the Fawley keeper, forcing him to the ground, before sending a low shot past the prostrate Coombes.
Half time: Newport 1-0 Fawley
Andy Sampson was forced to make a half-time substitution owing to the injured finger of Ryan Hughes. The attacking full back was replaced by the combative Jacob Reynolds.
The Oilers piled on the pressure seeking an equalizing goal, but, against the run of play, the impressive Joe CRAIG scored his second goal in the 54th minute after again being put through by Joe Butcher, making a deft turn and firing the ball past keeper Coombes.
In the 57th minute, Jacob Reynolds was booked for an aggressive challenge. The Oilers’ Harrison Fay hit the upright from the resulting free kick. Fawley had a further opportunity to pull a goal back in the 64th minute when they were awarded a free kick in a promising position on the very edge of the Port penalty area, but squandered their opportunity to pull a goal back. Fawley frustration was now beginning to show with one of their co-managers being booked for dissent.
The widening gaps opening in the Oiler’s defence provided opportunities for the Port to extend their lead. In the 75th minute, a run by the fast-improving Jake Wright saw him sail past a couple of defenders before blasting his shot just over the crossbar.
The Port finally put the game beyond the reach of the Oilers in the 78th minute, when a powerful strike from Joe Butcher cannoned off the visitor’s crossbar to be met by the head of Jordan BROWNE, who nodded the ball into the back of the net from a position a couple of yards from the goal line.
Full Time: Newport 3-0 Fawley
Newport: McCormack, Hughes (Reynolds 45), Lamb, Pearce, McDonough (capt), Barron, Kelly, Wright, Butcher (Younie 79), Browne, Craig (Taylor 69)
Referee: Anthony Cross
Newport now lie in 4th place in Wessex League One, with a game in hand on the two clubs immediately above—Folland Sports and Andover Town—and two games in hand on leaders, Laverstock & Ford