Newport City started the new year with a much needed victory after securing a dramatic 3-2 victory at home against Chepstow Town in what could easily be described as a game of two halves.
The visitors started strongly as they dominated the early proceedings and came close to going ahead in the opening minute when Dan Stoneman broke through clear on goal, but saw his low strike blocked by Nicholas King inside the six yard area. The City ‘keeper was forced into a carbon copy save just minutes later after blocking a similar effort from Rhys Thomas, whilst Louis Feeley also sent a curling effort narrowly wide over the bar.
City eventually responded in the 19th minute and almost scored through Kareem Leigh who saw his close range shot cleared off the line following a corner, whilst Mark Dunford also came close ten minutes later through a poked effort which was saved low down by Chepstow ‘keeper Josh Harding.
City were soon made to pay for their missed opportunities as Chepstow eventually re-gained the initiative and went ahead on the half hour mark when Stoneman found himself free at the near post and slotted past King from the right hand edge of the six yard box. Things got worse for City three minutes before half time when the visitors doubled their lead after a delivery by Stoneman was met by Darren Berry who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top right hand corner, leaving the hosts with a mountain to climb as they entered the interval.
City started the second half superbly and were handed a golden opportunity to come back into the game seconds after the restart when they awarded a penalty kick following a foul on Leigh inside the area. Patrick Pope made no mistake as he converted the resulting spot kick into the bottom right hand corner of the net pulling one back for the hosts.
The goal sparked the life back into the hosts and they almost levelled the score near the hour mark when a spill by Harding from a corner delivery fell into the path of Bernardin Fetahi two yards in front of goal, but the Italian agonizingly saw his effort cleared off the line. Thankfully City weren’t made to rue the missed chance as they were deservedly level just a minute later after a smart cross into the area by Leigh was met at the far post by Dunford who sent a sliding close range finish into the back of the net to set up a grandstand finish. With City now in full control, they came close to going ahead in the 69th minute after neat play by hosts almost sent Robbie James through on goal, but the midfielder saw the ball cleared away from his feet by Harding just as he was about to pull the trigger.
As the game entered the closing stages, the game became stretched as both sides searched for the winner. City’s hard work almost came undone in the 89th minute when Andrew Muscat cleared the ball off the goal line as the visitors mounted a late attack. The clearance proved to big moment as the Steelmen clinched a sensational winner in the 94th minute when Leigh found himself surrounded by three defenders inside the area, but superbly managed to control an assist from Aaron Carew before calmly sending a dinked effort over Harding. There was still time for Chepstow to score another goal which was ruled out for offside, much to relief of the hosts who managed to seal a thrilling comeback victory.
Overall it was an entertaining and morale boosting victory for Newport City as they aim to put together a strong run in 2018, and sets the side up in perfect shape ahead of this Weekend’s home clash against Penrhiwceiber Rangers.
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