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Nomadic Newport will return to Beatrice Avenue (home of East Cowes Vics) to play their Wessex Division 1 fixture against Downton this Saturday.

The Port had been given 30 days’ notice to leave Smallbrook Stadium by co-tenants Ryde Saints on the 19th December after failing to install floodlighting to Wessex League standards: a condition of their being allowed to occupy the ground. The reason for their not being able to play at Smallbrook this Saturday has been given as a waterlogged pitch, although this week has largely been rainless.

Newport have not played for almost a month, since their 1-0 victory against Petersfield Town on 18th December. Last Saturday’s game at Laverstock & Ford was postponed because of the administrative difficulties of the host club (said to be non-payment of fines) which have now been resolved.

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Newport next face Verwood Town on 22nd January. The Port will be unable to play the game at Beatrice Avenue as Vics are at home on that day. It is therefore not known where home ties will be played from next week. It is thought unlikely that the Wessex League will allow future fixtures to be reversed as permission was recently refused to another groundless league member to do the same after they were also asked to leave a shared ground.

Newport co-manager Stewart Shepherd said:

“Regarding our situation with Smallbrook, I’m not 100 percent sure what’s happening. I think the 30 days’ notice is up, but I haven’t heard if this is being put into place by Ryde Saints. I’m sure we will know more next week.

“Myself, Steve Brougham (co-manager) and the players are trying to concentrate on the football side, not the politics surrounding our current or new venue. We are hoping this is being sorted by those in charge of that.”

As to the game itself, Stewart said:

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“I’m sure Downton will be tough opposition for us, as they have proven to be before. At the moment, we have a fully fit squad to choose from. We are hoping to get our first win of 2022 and continue to try and push for a top 5 league position come the end of the season.”

The game against Downton will kick-off at the earlier time of 14:00.

In the other game to be played in Wessex Division 1, 17th-placed East Cowes Vics – who are currently on a miserable run of 5 successive defeats – will travel to the New Forest to face 16th-placed Ringwood Town.

Vics manager Richie Woodburn said:

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“This is a big game, and we are due some good fortune. The lads are positive and there is a good vibe around the club, but we need a result. The competition for places is intense, and I shall be willing to remove a few deck chairs from the beaches if I have to do so.”

In the Wessex Premier, 16th-placed Cowes ­Sports – who are on a run of 3 successive defeats ­– play 13th-placed Alresford Town.

The Yachtsmen put in a much-improved performance against a strong Shaftesbury side in their last game on 3rd January and would appear to be due a win. Kick off at Westwood Park is at the usual time of 15.00.

1 Island side – current holders Brading Town – is already through to the quarter finals of the Hampshire Trophy, after opponents Bishop Waltham Dynamos pulled out of the tie at Vicarage Road.

This Saturday, 3 other Island teams – last year’s beaten finalists Shanklin, Isle of Wight Champions Whitecroft & Barton, and Bembridge – will be hoping to join the Romans in the last 8 of the competition.

1 Island side – AFC Wootton ­– is also through to the last 8 of the Hampshire Vase. 2 of our teams – Pan Community and Shanklin Reserves – will be hoping to join them in the quarter finals. Shanklin Reserves’ opponents – St Francis – may prove difficult to overcome having already knocked out W&B Reserves in the previous round.

No Isle of Wight side has won a Wessex League fixture in 2022 to date but to be fair Newport have not had the opportunity to play a game this year, and Cowes and Vics had their games postponed last week. Let’s hope for some positive results this Saturday and the advance of 5 more Island teams to the quarter finals of the Hampshire Cups.

Wessex League Fixtures for Saturday 15th January 2022

Premier Division: Cowes Sports v Alresford Town (15.00)

Division 1: Newport IoW v Downton (14.00) Ringwood Town v East Cowes Vics (15.00)

Isle of Wight Fixtures for Saturday 15th January 2022

All Fixtures to Kick-Off at 14:00

Hampshire FA Saturday Trophy 4th Round:

Bembridge First v Meon Milton First
Warsash Wasps Sports & Football Club Men v Shanklin First
Whitecroft & Barton Sports First v Hook First

Hampshire FA Saturday Vase 4th Round:

Pan Community First v AFC Burton
Shanklin Reserves v St Francis Men First

Harwoods Dacia Isle of Wight Senior Cup 2nd Round:

Sandown & Lake v West Wight

Isle of Wight Memorial Cup 2nd Round:

Adgestone v East Cowes Sports
High Park v Osborne Coburg
Newchurch v Carisbrooke United

Harwoods Renault IOW Saturday League

Division 1: Cowes Sports Reserves v Oakfield; Northwood St Johns v Vectis; No Fixture: Binstead & COB, Niton Community, Ryde Saints

Division 2: AFC Wootton v Newport Reserves; Wroxall v Seaview; Yarmouth & Calbourne v Ventnor

Combination Division 1: Binstead & COB v Brading Town; Oakfield v Bembridge; Osborne Coburg v Whitecroft & Barton Sports; Ryde Saints v Northwood St Johns; West Wight v Sandown & Lake

Combination Division 2: Vectis v AFC Wootton; Ventnor v Newchurch; No Fixture: Bembridge ‘A’, Pan Community, Yarmouth & Calbourne

Fixtures courtesy of the Isle of Wight DFA. Correct as of 09:00 – 14th January.

Match reports for the Wessex League games will appear in Island Echo as usual this Sunday with a round-up of all the Hampshire Cup action on Monday.

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4 days ago

Newport county FC’s nickname are ” the exiles ”
May I suggest that Newport (IW) follow suit .

3 days ago

I suggest that the reporter gets himself down to Smallbrook Stadium and checks the pitch out for himself before insulating that there were other reasons why NFC didn’t play their game there on Saturday. The pitch was absolutely waterlogged despite the drainage system installed about three years ago by Ryde Saints..


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