The Port made two changes to the starting line-up that had faced Bashley in midweek: Scott Barron and Joe Butcher taking the places of Spike Pearce and Jake Younie.
The Port performed in the first half in a manner similar to the way in which they had played in the second half of their last game against Bashley: creating chances that they failed to convert and being punished for their profligacy in front of the posts by clinical and well-organized opponents.
Newport’s early chances fell to the much-improved Jake Wright. In the home side’s first attack, Jake played a sharp one-two into the box and then hit a strong, low shot from eight yards out that the keeper somehow saved. Five minutes later, Jake sent a further strong strike from outside the penalty area that was again blocked. In the 20th minute, Jordan Browne headed just over the crossbar.
Despite most of the early pressure coming from the home side, it was United Services who broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute, when James FRANKLYN received a long ball in the middle of the Newport half, carried the ball forward, went past Keeper, Joe McCormack, and scored from an acute angle. Some spectators had suspected offside, but the linesman’s flag stayed down.
The Port had a golden opportunity to equalize in the 36th minute, when Josh Younie had a low, curling free kick parried by the US Portsmouth keeper, which then fell into the path of the luckless Connor Kelly, who was only able to hit the woodwork from close range.
Half time: Newport 0-1 US Portsmouth
The Port began the second half calamitously with Tyler MORRET sending a powerful strike past Joe McCormack from the middle of the penalty area just four minutes after the restart.
Worse was to follow in the 51st minute, when the unlucky Jake Wright chested a corner into his own goal.
Facing a strong, well-organized counter-attacking side, the Port now had a mountain to climb to get back into the game. Andy Sampson threw on a couple of substitutes late in the game, with Flynn McCabe replacing Joe Butcher and Reece Wren coming on for Alek Przepolewski, but Newport were unable to wrestle a three-goal advantage from resilient opponents.
Fortunately, the game ended with no serious injury problems or dismissals for the home team, who should be in good shape for the tough away fixture at Western League Cribbs in the FA Vase on Saturday.
Full time: Newport 0-3 US Portsmouth
Newport: McCormack, Hughes, Lamb, Przepolewski (Wren), Reynolds, Barron, Kelly, Wright, Butcher (McCabe), Browne, Josh Younie
Subs (not used): Pearce, Craig, Streeter