Having already suffered an early Welsh Cup exit last weekend, Newport City experienced further cup disappointment following a Welsh League Cup second round defeat against high flying Welsh League 2 side Risca United.
The visitors started the opening ten minutes strongly and came close to scoring twice as Tom Pratt and Dan Battle both spurned decent opportunities wide. City then grew slowly into the game as Neil Simock sent an acrobatic effort over the bar following an Aaron Carew corner delivery, while Nathan Thompson powered a close range header straight at Cuckoos ‘keeper Christopher Jones. Risca went on to create a series of chances throughout the remainder of the first half but struggled to hit the target. However City ‘keeper Jack Cropper still had to remain alert as he saved a close range strike from Joe Ward, before superbly tipping away a 35 yard lobbed effort from Lewis Hitchcock. City responded through Patrick Pope who saw an audacious long range strike from the left hand touchline comfortably saved by Jones as a frustrating first half drew to a close.
Risca upped a gear in the second half and gradually went on to control the game but contrived to send several golden opportunities wide. The Cuckoos did force Jack Cropper into action again as he produced a smart one handed save from a close range strike by Ward inside the six yard box, while the Steelmen ‘keeper also saved well from a strike by Battle. It seemed like the visitors would pay for their wastefulness when City sensationally took the lead in the 85th minute. This was after a delivery from Carew that fell perfectly for Thompson who smashed the ball into the back of the net to score what seemed the like the match winner. However in a cruel twist of fate, Risca levelled the score in the 93rd minute after a free kick delivery was met by Battle who powered a header into the top right hand corner and sent the game into extra time.
FT (90mins) 1-1
Having being left reeling from the late equaliser, things got worse for City six minutes into extra time when they failed to clear a corner which allowed Risca’s Brad Baker to bundle in the ball past Cropper from close range and put the visitors ahead. City almost replied just 2 minutes later when Jake Buckley sent a strike narrowly wide of the left hand post after connecting on to a pass from Andrew Coleman. The miss proved costly as Risca extended their lead further at the end of first half extra time when Tyler Bloom swept past the City defence and fired the ball from the edge of the area, which slipped underneath the unlucky Jack Cropper at the near post and crept agonisingly into the back of the net. Martyn Mickiewicz almost pulled a goal back for City straight after but saw his shot tipped round the right hand post by Jones. The Steelmen did eventually pull a goal back with three minutes to spare after Carew flicked the ball into the penalty area and sent it into the path of Coleman who made no mistake by poking his effort into the back of the net and set up a grandstand finish. The hosts threw caution to the wind as the game drew to a close but were unable to force an equaliser and ultimately had to accept another disappointing cup exit.
Having come so close to securing a memorable victory, the Steelmen will find the result as a bitter pill to swallow. However they will take heart from their effort and commitment against the Welsh League 2 outfit and will now need to bounce back quickly as they aim to get their season back on track in the league.