Newport City got back to winning ways with an action packed home victory against Ely Rangers. The game was played in difficult conditions due to the cold and windy conditions, but this didn’t stop City displaying a strong performance.
The Steelmen got off to a great start with a free kick on the edge of the area curling it into the bottom right hand corner of the net by Rhys Wood, which saw the hosts go ahead after nine minutes. Rangers however responded strongly and were level just six minutes later following a stunning 35 yard effort from Daniel Griffiths which flew into the top left hand corner of the net. The goal clearly shook City as they came close to falling behind three minutes later when Rangers’ Sam Price dragged a low strike narrowly wide past the left hand post.
City eventually grabbed hold of the game and came close to restoring their lead through Wood and Kareem Leigh who both saw good opportunities saved by Rangers keeper Ali Johnston. The hosts did eventually force the ball into the back of the net on the half-hour mark following a close range finish from substitute Jordan Chubb, but the goal was disallowed for offside. The visitors almost made City pay for the missed opportunities following an attacking move down the left-hand channel, leading to Ryan Harris breaking into the area before sending his shot into the side netting.
The Steelmen did eventually restore their lead four minutes before the break after a corner delivery by Wood was connected by Martyn Mickiewicz who powered a thumping header into the back of the net. Buoyed by the goal, City almost increased their lead shortly before the interval as Chubb and Wood both saw their efforts saved by Johnston, leaving City to settle for a narrow lead at half time.
City restarted the game brightly and extended their lead four minutes after the restart thanks to a second goal from Wood, who struck a sweet strike into the bottom left hand corner of the net with an assist from Ward. Things got even better for the Steelmen eight minutes later after a pass to the edge of the area from Chubb found Martyn Mickiewicz who sent a low curling effort into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
The visitors eventually threatened after the hour mark through Griffiths and King Junior who both came close to pulling one back. Rangers were eventually rewarded for their pressure in the 69th minute when a miscommunication between Jordan Francombe and Pass provided Junior a simple tap into the back of the net from inside the area to pull one goal back for the visitors. However any hope of a comeback from the visitors were soon dashed in the 73rd minute when a fracas near the dugouts saw Rangers’ Jayke Cotterill handed his marching orders for violent conduct.
The one man advantage allowed City to restore their authority of the game, with the Steelmen being unlucky not to extend their lead after Ward saw a goal disallowed due to an alleged foul on Johnston in the 80th minute. The Steelmen were handed a golden opportunity to score a fifth goal four minutes later when they were awarded a penalty after Kareem Leigh was dragged down inside the area; however the resulting spot kick from Mickiewicz was tipped away round the right hand post. City experiences further disappointment in the closing stages when a 21 man brawl saw skipper Andrew Muscat sent off for a second bookable offence for an alleged improper conduct. Despite the late drama, the Steelmen were able to comfortably navigate their way to a vital victory.
After a slow start to the season, City will be encouraged with their run of one defeat, one draw and three wins in their last five league games. The side will now hope to build on this victory and continue with their improving form as they aim look to fly up the table.
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