WESSEX LEAGUE DIVISION 1
NEWPORT 6, EAST COWES VICS 1
NEWPORT moved up to second in Division 1 of the Wessex League after hammering East Cowes Vics under the lights last night (Tuesday).
A bumper crowd of 238 at Beatrice Avenue watched Newport — without arguably their most pivotal player, Connor Kelly — come out comfortably on top during this fast-paced and entertaining game.
On a chilly night, the crowd was warmed — as were the hands of Vics keeper Alex Ram, who produced an incredible Gordon Banks-style save to deny Joe Craig's Pele-style bullet header on seven minutes.
Newport, the home team with Smallbrook currently out of commision, had to wait a further ten minutes befoe they did open the scoring — a dangerous, in-swinging corner met by the head of Aaron Burford, which gave Ram no chance.
On 20 minutes, Newport doubled their lead when Jordan Browne struck the ball perfectly into the top corner.
After the early shock of being under the cosh and conceding twice, Vics rallied and began to have a foothold the game.
However, Newport showed their superior pace down the flanks and broke broke away again — Burford's cross into the penalty area finding Browne, whose deft touch to Joe Craig was perfect and his shot too powerful for Ram to stop for a 3-0 lead.
Newport, in total control, playing with a swagger, made it four in the 36th minute.
A great move around the Vics box eventually fell to Burford, who superbly curled his effort around unsighted Ram into the right-hand corner.
It was score not even an in-form Vics side could recover from and their fans were rightly concerned it could ened up being a cricket score.
Right on the half-time whistle, Newport made it 5-0.
From a corner, Craig got the ball under control, and his pass to Jake Wright was drilled into the bottom corner past the helpless Ram.
East Cowes boss Richie Woodburn was probably lost for words come his half-time team talk, but one thing would have been demanding was to play for the shirt with pride.
With a point to prove after a first half baptism of fire, a beautiful cross from Vics skipper Liam Newbold picked out teenager, Toby Snow, who finished past keeper Joe McCormack from point blank range to make it 5-1 on 51 minutes and give the East Cowes fans something to cheer.
Vics were now looking a different side — enjoying a great spell of possession.
They thought Snow had scored his second in the 75th minute, but the referee ruled it out for offside.
The pace of the game, even at that last stage, was unrelenting, and in the 78th minute, a two-footed challenge from Newport skipper Martin McDonough saw him get his marching orders with a straight red card, in a game which was played in a good spirit.
Newport, despite going down to ten men, started to play some decent football again — and increased their lead when a through ball found Joe Butcher, full of confidence after his hat-trick at Verwood Town on Saturday, finish calmly after his first shot was saved by Ram.
Vics continued to battle and, on 86 minutes, a rasping Jordan Chapman effort just cleared the crossbar, then Newport's tireless Ryan Hughes saw his late effort well saved by Ram.
Newport: McCormack, Hughes, Younie, Burford, McDonough (capt), Pearce, Hancott, Wright, Browne, Craig, Butcher. Subs: Reynolds, Streeter, Harper, Lamb, Sampson.
East Cowes Vics: Ram, Newbold (capt), Yates, White, Gregory, Hayward, Chapman, Catania, Knowles, Lyon, Snow. Subs: K.Woodford, B.Woodford, Turner, Sheerin.
*MANY THANKS TO RUSS CHAPMAN AND BARBARA CLOSE*