Having experienced two weeks of no football, Newport City returned to action with a disappointing 3‐0 loss at home to Panteg.
The visitors started strongly as they dominated possession early on and came close to going ahead in the 15th minute when Lewis Iles saw his close range header superbly tipped round the bar by City ‘keeper Nicholas King. City responded well and came close to scoring three minutes later when a free kick taken by Robbie James was met by Jordan Chubb who sent a header just wide past the left hand post. City grew in confidence and came close to scoring again on the half hour mark when Kareem Leigh struck a low effort from just outside the area, which was saved by Panteg ‘keeper Dan Wise.
Panteg eventually seized the initiative and had two big opportunities to go ahead before half time. In the 40th minute, Ben Walker was sent through clear on goal inside the area where he saw his low shot blocked by King. With the goal gaping, Luke Dyke collected the loose ball but somehow managed to send his strike over the bar from seven yards out. The visitors came close again to scoring five minutes later when Iles was sent through clear on goal following a counter attack and sent a chipped curling effort over the advancing King, but saw his opportunity whistle narrowly wide past the left hand post as both sides entered the interval on level terms.
Panteg started the second half the same way they finished the first as they continued to pile on the pressure and almost scored early after the break when Walker’s corner delivery hit the crossbar before bouncing over wide. They were finally rewarded for their dominance ten minutes later when Iles managed to cut inside the area from the left hand side, before wriggling his way past the home defence and sent a low strike into the bottom right hand corner to give the visitors a deserved lead. Panteg almost doubled their lead four minutes later after great control by Dyke, but the forward fired his effort wide over the bar.
City struggled to find their way back into the game and it came as no surprise when Panteg eventually doubled their lead in the 77th minute when Walker connected on to a corner delivery and powered a thumping header into the back of the net. Things got worse for City just three minutes later when a penalty was awarded for the visitors following an alleged foul by Steelmen skipper Sam Graves inside the area. The resulting spot kick was converted into the top right‐hand corner by Brad Baker as the visitors all but sealed their victory with ten minutes to spare. City came close to grabbing a consolation goal in the final couple of minutes, but Chubb and Leigh both saw their strikes fly wide over the bar as the hosts were forced to accept another poor result.
Overall it was a frustrating evening for Newport City as they failed to take advantage of their recent enforced two week break. The side will need to put their disappointment behind them and bounce back immediately as they attempt to win their final game of 2017 away at Caerau this Friday.
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