Newport City endured a frustrating evening as they suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat against second from bottom of the league side Ely Rangers.
The first 30 minutes turned out to be a tight opening affair as both sides struggled to create any clear goal scoring opportunities, whilst a series of misplaced passes also dominated the proceedings. City’s first notable opportunity fell to Owain Morgan who thundered a 20 yard strike over the bar, while Jordan Chubb dragged a low shot from just inside the area wide past the left hand post shortly after.
The best opportunity of the first half came in the 38th minute when Dominic Pates was sent through clear on goal inside the area where he collided with City ‘keeper Nicholas King. With the referee deciding to play on, Ely’s Daniel Griffiths collected the loose ball and saw his goal bound chipped effort headed over the bar by Robbie James. From the resulting corner kick, the visitors came close again to scoring as Pates sent a header narrowly over the bar.
City finished the first half strongly and almost scored in the 43rd minute when a 20 yard strike from Aaron Carew was palmed away by Ely ‘keeper Sebastien Priest, while Chubb sent a low diving header from inside the six yard box narrowly wide past the right hand post on the stroke of half time.
The second half started disastrously for City after Joe Duffin delivered a free kick into the six yard box, where Pates was on hand to tap the ball into the back of net at the near post to give the visitors the lead in the 56th minute. Ely almost doubled their lead three minutes later as Robbie James was forced to clear a Richie Brown header off the goal line following a corner. The visitors did eventually extend their lead seven minutes later when Duffin raced clear towards goal after beating the offside trap and rounded past King before calmly rolling the ball into an empty net from 15 yards out.
Shell shocked from Ely’s dominance, City attempted to drag themselves back into the game by introducing Bernardin Fetahi on for the final 20 minutes. The substitution seemed to spark the Steelmen into life as Martin Campbell and Chubb both fired decent opportunities narrowly wide of goal, while the latter also forced Priest into a key save during the final 15 minutes of the game. City came even closer in the 80th minute when Martyn Mickiewicz sent a header from a free kick inches wide of the right hand post as the hosts continued to ramp up the pressure.
City were eventually rewarded for their persistence in the 83rd minute when they were awarded a penalty after Priest fouled Chubb inside the area. Patrick Pope made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick as he calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net to set up a grandstand finish. City continued to apply the pressure and came agonisingly close to securing an unlikely draw when Campbell saw his strike deflect over the bar in stoppage time. In the end time ran out as the Steelmen were forced to stew on a disappointing home defeat.
Overall it was a deflating evening for Newport City as they failed to build on their impressive victory at Ynysygerwn. The side will need to learn from their mistakes and bounce back quickly as they attempt to put on a strong run during the festive period.
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