Newport City continued their pre‐season unbeaten record following a 3‐2 victory against Wattsville at Pontllanfraith. Once again the game was played in three separate “thirds” of 30 minutes, due to the current heatwave.
The opening quarter turned out to be a satisfying affair for City as they produced a highly dominant display. Both Bernardin Fetahi and Kareem Leigh came close in the opening ten minutes as they both sent close range headers narrowly wide, while Nathan Doe saw his header from a corner saved by the Wattsville ‘keeper. City were eventually rewarded for their early dominance in the 14th minute when a cross into the penalty area by Doe was headed into the back of the net by Jordan Francombe, handing the visitors a deserved lead. The roles were almost reversed a few minutes later when a cross into the area by Francombe was met by Doe who struck a close range shot on goal, but saw his effort tipped over the bar.
Francombe continued to impress and saw an effort from the edge of the area hit the post before witnessing the rebound tucked into the back of net from close range by Leigh who doubled City’s lead in the 22nd minute. The Steelmen continued to control the reminder of the opening period, although they had Triallist 1 to thank in goal as he produced a piece of brave goalkeeping on the edge of the area by blocking an attempt from Wattsville who momentarily found themselves through on goal.
First third 0‐2
City re‐started the game strongly and almost scored again five minutes into the second period when a cross into the area by Matt Escot was met at the far post by Leigh who saw his close range header acrobatically saved by the Wattsville ‘keeper, although there was a suspicion as to whether or not the ball had crossed the line. The incident proved crucial as Wattsville capitalised on their stroke of luck by breaking straight down the other end of the pitch and slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net to half the deficit.
City responded well to the setback and almost restored their two goal cushion when a goal bound header from a corner by Patrick Pope was headed off the line; while a cross from Francombe into the area was met by Triallist 2 whose effort from close range was blocked by the feet of the Wattsville ‘keeper.
Second third 1‐2
City started the final quarter by making multiple changes as Nick Simcock, James Alloway and Andy Coleman replaced Andrew Muscat, Leigh and Fetahi respectively. The changes had an instant effect after a cross into the area by Coleman was blasted into the roof the net by Doe from close range as City restored their two goal advantage. City continued to press in search of further goals and almost added a fourth through Alloway who sent a lobbed effort narrowly wide of goal, while Martyn Mickiewicz managed to hit the side netting from close range with the goal gaping at his mercy.
City were eventually made to withstand a period of pressure and had Sam Graves to thank in the 75th minute when the club skipper made a last ditch block to deflect the ball away from danger as Wattsville found themselves clean through on goal. Wattsville continued to threaten and sent a couple of clear opportunities wide of goal; while City almost added a fourth goal through Triallist 2 and Doe who both saw decent efforts saved by the opposition ‘keeper. Wattsville did eventually pull a goal back after City failed to clear their lines following a save from Triallist 1, which eventually led to the loose ball being tapped into the bottom right hand corner of the net with three minutes to spare. Despite the late setback, the Steelmen managed to navigate through the dying minutes without any further danger and secured a well earned victory.
It was ultimately a satisfying day and a professional performance from Newport City as they produced arguably their strongest pre‐season display so far which will boost their level of confidence as the new season draws nearer.
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