Newport fail to reach the quarter finals of the Wessex League Cup after being knocked out by Wessex Premier League side, Bashley.
The Port made three changes to the side that had lost 0-2 at Petersfield on Saturday. Captain, Martin McDonough was absent, having been red carded in the previous fixture; Scott Barron was unavailable and Joe Butcher was unable to play because of sickness. The trio were replaced by Ryan Hughes, who returned after injuring his finger, Jake Younie and Jacob Reynolds.
Bashley began brightly and had the ball in the Newport net after 12 minutes through a header from a corner, but the referee gave the home side a reprieve and disallowed the goal.
Five minutes later, came a moment of controversy that defined the game when Jacob Reynolds was sent off for a “reckless” challenge on a Bashley player that most observers viewed as a harsh decision. The general consensus of opinion was that both players had gone for the ball and that the Bashley player had come off worse and that there had been no malicious intent on the part of The Port midfielder. Reynolds, who had recently come back into the side after serving a suspension, was devastated by the decision, as was manager Andy Sampson, who was subsequently booked for dissent.
Incredibly, ten-man Newport reacted to the decision by first taking, then doubling, their lead and were very unlucky not to have been three-nil up at the half time break.
The Port’s first goal came on the half hour mark when a Connor Kelly corner was met by the head of Jake YOUNIE, who directed the ball into the back of the Bashley net via the inside of the far post.
A second followed a minute from half time when Jordan BROWNE powerfully converted a further Connor Kelly corner.
The Port then came close to putting the tie beyond Bashley’s reach when, with the last kick of the half, Connor Kelly directed a powerful half-volley at the Bashley goal, but, on this occasion, the woodwork saved the away side.
HT: Newport 2-0 Bashley
Premier League Bashley began the second half with plenty of attacking intent, hoping to take advantage of playing against ten men.
In the 55th minute, Joe McCormack pulled off a fine save to deny Bashley’s Lewis Ross. However, Lewis ROSS made no mistake five minutes later when he sent a powerful shot beyond the reach of McCormack.
Bashley continued to attack, hoping to force an equalizing goal, but a resilient defence and a fine performance from keeper McCormack kept the New Forest side at bay until the final minutes of the game.
With Bashley camped in Newport’s half, flying winger, Connor Kelly, had numerous opportunities to finish off Port’s opponents late in the game, but, having found himself in promising positions, was unable to provide the finishing touch.
In the 80th minute, Kelly managed to round the Bashley keeper, Harry Gravett, but the ball was cleared off the line by the outstretched foot of a defender. A minute later, Kelly again attempted to round Gravett, but the resourceful keeper got his hand to the ball. Soon after, McGrath miscued the ball which fell to the feet of Kelly, but Gravett saved Kelly’s shot with his feet. Finally, in the 88th minute, Kelly found himself in a further one-on-one situation with Gravett, but the keeper’s legs once again came to the rescue of the away side.
The Port’s profligacy in front of the posts was punished punitively when Harry MCGRATH popped up in the Port penalty area to score the equalizing goal a minute from the end of normal time.
The New Forest based side then added a second in the fourth minute of injury when Jamie WEBBER pounced on a ball that had rebounded off McCormack.
Further controversy was to follow in injury time. First, Bashley keeper Gravett handled the ball, rolled it along the ground, then picked it up again, and offence that should have resulted in the Port being awarded an indirect free kick in the middle of the Bashley area.
Finally, Josh Younie directed the final kick of the game towards an opponent shielding the ball close to the Newport corner flag, for which he was awarded a straight red card.
Full time: Newport 2-3 Bashley
Newport: McCormack, Hughes, Lamb, Przepolewski, Pearce, Jake Younie, Kelly, Wright, Josh Younie, Browne, Reynolds
Substitutes: McCabe, Wren, Turner
Report: Warren Whitmore