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P1120702 (2)Free-scoring Newport have moved to 2nd position in Wessex Division 1 after comfortably beating league leaders Folland Sports at Smallbrook Stadium on Saturday.

The Port took on the league leaders with 2 key absences: leading scorer Jordan Browne and midfielder Jacob Reynolds. However, such is the strength in depth at Newport that striker Joe Butcher (scorer of 10 goals this season) and talented full back Neo Lamb graced the substitutes bench.

Newport began the game on the front foot, scoring in the 1st minute when full back Ryan Hughes put centre forward Joe Craig through for the No 9 to take on a defender and slot the ball past Folland goalkeeper Henry Newman (1-0).

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In the 8th minute, the Planemakers struck back with their centre forward Will Gange equalizing with a looping header (1-1). 2 minutes later, the Port restored their lead through a poacher’s goal from Jake Wright after Joe Craig had had his shot blocked by Newman (2-1). Connor Kelly came close to scoring a 3rd goal for the Port 2 minutes later, but Newman deflected his powerful shot over the crossbar.

After the excitement of the opening 15 minutes, Folland Sports dominated the remainder of the 1st half while lacking the cutting edge required to equalize. The closest they came was in the 34th minute when Will Gange had his shot well blocked by Port keeper Gary Streeter. Newport were dealt a blow shortly before half time when central defender Scott Sampson was taken off after apparently aggravating an knee injury to be replaced by Neo Lamb.

HT: Newport 2-1 Folland Sports

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The 2nd half began with a strong penalty appeal for Folland Sports when Will Gange was clattered over in the Port penalty area, but no penalty was awarded. The game then settled down to a pattern of persistent Planemaker pressure, with the home side appearing dangerous on the beak.

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Newport extended their lead in the 67th minute when Connor Kelly broke down the left before having his shot parried by Newman for Joe Craig to bang in the rebound (3-1). 7 minutes later, Aaron Burford scored the goal-of-the-game (or possibly the goal-of-the-season) lobbing the Planemaker’s goalkeeper from some 35-yards to make home victory certain for the Port (4-1).

Newport then threw on their substitutes with Joe Butcher replacing Joe Craig and Liam Harper coming on for Connor Kelly. Folland Sports found the Port’s pace difficult to cope with in the closing stages of the game, with Kenny Gartera and Nathan Gray both booked for professional fouls on Port players in promising positions.

FT: Newport 4-1 Folland Sports

Newport IW: Streeter, Hughes, Triggs, Burford, Sampson (Lamb), Pearce, Kelly (Harper), McDonough, Craig (Butcher), Younie, Wright

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After the game, Newport co-manager Steve Brougham said:

“I couldn’t fault anyone today. It was a great team performance with a good level of commitment from everyone.”

Newport’s win leaves them in 2nd place in Wessex Division 1, a point behind current pace setters Bemerton. The Port are top scorers in the division with 62 goals in just 16 games, hitting the target at an average of nearly 4 goals a game.

Wessex Division 1: East Cowes Vics 2-1 Petersfield Town

East Cowes Vics ended their run of poor form by beating fellow strugglers Petersfield Town 2-1 at Beatrice Avenue thanks to a brace of goals from prolific striker Jimmi Burton.

Vics dominated the 1st half, with Burton getting his 1st goal in the 22nd minute after a clever one-two with Charlie Marsek before burying the ball in the far corner of the goal (1-0). Jimmi scored his 2nd 10 minutes before half time in what manager Richie Woodburn described as Vics’ best team goal of the season so far, which involved as many as 12 passes before Brandon Hayward set up Burton to score (2-0).

Jimmi Burton came close to scoring a 3rd shortly after half time to make the game safe for the home side but saw his effort trickle agonisingly past the upright. It was then Petersfield’s turn to pile on the pressure, but good defensive work from Vics limited them to a series of ineffective long balls. 12 minutes from full time, a shot-cum-cross from Brandon Jewell sailed into the top corner of the goal for the Rams (2-1). However, Vics’ defence coped with Petersfield’s attempts to equalize in the closing stages to ensure all 3 points remained on the Island.

After the game Vics manager Richie Woodburn had particular praise for 2 of his team. First, goalkeeper Alex Ram, who he described as “fantastic” for his ability to deal with the aerial threat posed by Petersfield. However, Richie’s man-of-the-match was 16-year-old Charlie Marsek, for his work rate and ability to cover the whole of the pitch.

Vics’ much needed victory leaves them in 14th place in Wessex League 1, with 14 points from the 16 games they have played in the season so far.

Wessex Premier: Blackfield & Langley 6-1 Cowes Sports

The Yachtsmen lost 6-1 away to midtable Blackfield & Langley, a side that had already beaten them 5-1 at their Gang Warily ground in the extra-preliminary round of the FA Cup earlier in the season.

The Island side were trailing 2-1 at half time after strikes from Blackfield’s Sam Woodford in the 9th minute and player manager Fawzi Saadi in the 31st minute, before Connor Furmidge pulled a goal back for the Yachtsmen 10 minutes before half time.

Things went from bad to worse for Max Draper’s men in the 2nd half, with Rafa Ramos scoring a hat trick for the hosts before Harry-Joe Bertrand added a 6th goal in the final minute of the game to ensure the Yachtsmen returned across the Solent empty-handed.

Defeat leaves Cowes Sports in 15th place in the Wessex Premier with 22 points from 17 games.

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