Newport IW emphatically beat Cowes 4-1 to lift the Gold Cup for the 41st time in the post-war era in front of a 500+ crowd at Beatrice Avenue last night (Tuesday).
This was a classic game of 2 halves in which Wessex Premier League club Cowes had the better 1st half but had no answer to Newport’s attacking threat in the 2nd.
Yachtsmen manager Max Draper began with the plan of preventing the Port – and electric-paced winger Connor Kelly in particular – from playing. With the Newport players possibly suffering from the after-effects of a weekend’s racing at Ascot, Cowes succeeded in effectively stifling the County town team for the 1st 45 minutes.
The Yachtsmen began on the front foot with Ji Nash having a shot stopped by Port keeper McCormack in the 3rd minute. Nash proved to be a thorn in the Newport’s defence throughout the game, again forcing McCormack to make a further save in the 14th minute. Cowes took the lead after a quarter-of-an-hour, when Scott Sampson headed a curling free kick from Ben Tickner into his own goal (0-1).
The Port attempted to come back with goal attempts from Joe Butcher, who shot over Ed Hatt’s crossbar, and Jordan Browne, who headed just over the bar. In the 34th minute, Ji Nash had his 3rd attempt on goal blocked by McCormack and was again unlucky not to extend the Cowes lead in the final minute of the 1st half. Newport also had their opportunities, but their usually clinical attack appeared unable to find the vital final touch to convert their chances.
Half time: Cowes Sports 1-0 Newport IW
Whatever was said by the Port management team of Stewart Shepherd and Steve Brougham to the players during the half time interval clearly had the desired effect of awakening their talented side from their slumbers.
The Port equalized 2 minutes from the restart when Jordan Browne flicked in a Josh Younie corner from close range (1-1).
In the 65th minute, the county town team took the lead when an overhead kick fell for Joe Craig, who was too strong for full back Tickner and goalkeeper Hatt, and the ball trickled into the goal (2-1).
The goal-of-the-game came in the 69th minute when Connor Kelly saw Ed Hatt off his line and smashed an unstoppable 30-yard volley into the far corner of the goal (3-1).
15 minutes from full time, the Port made the final safe when Joe Butcher proved too strong for both defender Ben Tickner and goalkeeper Hatt to covert a long ball into back of the Cowes goal (4-1).
Full time: Cowes Sports 1-4 Newport IW
Newport IW: McCormack, Hughes, Lamb, Hancott, McDonough (c), Sampson, Kelly, Browne, Craig, Butcher. Subs: Harper, Reynolds, Wright, Pearce, Wetherick.
Cowes Sports: Hatt, Dempsey, Tickner, Watson, McFarlane, Cranwell, White, Mumford, Conway, Phillips (c), Nash. Subs: Barsdell, Neale, Williams, Adams, Jackson.
After the game Newport co-manager Stewart Shepherd said:
“In the end, quality shows. People say we play easy teams. The top six in Wessex League 1 are all capable of giving the bottom half of the Wessex Premier a good game.”
When asked why the Port had played poorly in the 1st half but well in the 2nd, Stewart said:
“My team were still at the races in Ascot in the 1st half. At half time, we told the team they had to move the ball quicker and go forward and that’s what they did.”
Video: Robert Lunn
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