Newport City’s recent winning run came to an abrupt end as they suffered a disappointing away defeat against Gwent rivals Panteg AFC.
The Steelmen started off strongly and had a golden chance to go ahead in the opening minute when Joseph Holman robbed the ball from Panteg keeper James Aurelius outside the area, but the new signing saw his 15 yard strike hit the side netting. City continued to dominate the opening stages and again came close through Matthew Flynn who sent an effort from inside the area over the bar, while Martyn Mickiewicz saw his close range low strike grasped by Aurelius.
The hosts withstood the pressure and came very close to scoring in the 10th minute when Callum Hodges powered a close range header on to the post. Following that header, the loose ball was struck from the edge of the area by Alex Probert who saw the ball cannon off the crossbar. Panteg continued to improve and again almost scored through Luke Dyke and Liam Whiskey who both sent efforts narrowly over the bar.
Despite the hosts’ revival, it was City who took the lead in the 25th minute. A corner delivery into the area was met by the head of Andrew Muscat who saw his header cleared off the line, but the rebound landed into the path of Mickiewicz who superbly slammed the ball into the back of the net. Buoyed by the goal, the hosts almost double their lead four minutes later as Mickiewicz saw an audacious 25 yard effort drift narrowly over the bar.
Panteg responded well to the setback and were almost level in the 36th minute when Brad Baker found himself through on goal inside the area, but City keeper Tom Pass did well to block his low strike. Pass was called into action again in stoppage time of the first half, when he punched away a close range header from Hodges off the goal line and ensured a one goal lead for the visitors at half time.
City restarted the game disastrously as Muscat was penalised for an alleged push inside the area during a corner for Panteg, leading to a spot kick being awarded by referee Graham Evans seconds after the restart. The resulting spot kick was dispatched into the bottom left hand corner by Jordan Ryan, levelling the score for the hosts. Things soon got worse for City on the hour mark when Panteg’s Lewis Iles found himself unmarked at the far post, where he thumped a powerful header into the back of the net to put the hosts in front.
Deflated by the setback of falling behind, things got worse for City two minutes later when the hosts were awarded another penalty after Solomon Taylor St. Clair was adjudged to have tugged Iles inside the area. However City were temporarily saved after Pass dived down to his right to block Iles’ spot kick. Panteg continued to dominate and came close to scoring again through Iles and Probert who both saw threatening efforts saved by Pass, while Alex Berrow directed a header narrowly wide past the right post.
The Steelmen briefly threatened through Rhys Wood and Mickiewicz who both sent efforts wide, while substitute Michael Wicherer saw his effort comfortably saved. However the game was effectively over in the 86th minute when Iles created a carbon copy of his earlier goal by powering a header into the back of the net from a corner after finding himself unmarked at the far post once again.
City did eventually register a consolation goal in the 93rd minute when substitute Joseph Ward slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net following an assist by Mickiewicz, in what turned out to be the final action of the game.