Newport City continued their impressive unbeaten league start to the season as they climbed into first spot in the Welsh League Division 2 following a pulsating 2-1 home victory against Aberdare Town.
In what turned out to be a completely one sided first half affair, City relentlessly bombarded the opposition goal following a series of threatening attacks. The Steelmen almost scored in the 3rd minute, when a dipping shot from the edge of the area by Joseph Ward was tipped over the bar by Aberdare keeper Michael George. Ward came close again after connecting on to an upfield ball inside the area, but the attacker sent his effort narrowly wide over the bar.
The lively Ward continued to threaten and saw a dangerous curling strike deflect wide for a corner; while the striker also forced George into a close range save. The Steelmen continued to attack and came close again when Ward agonisingly failed make contact with the ball following a cross across the face of goal by Matthew Escott.
The hosts kept piling on the pressure when a through ball into the area by Solomon St Clair found Matthew Hibbs, who dinked an effort narrowly wide past the right hand post. The Steelmen came even closer to scoring on the stroke of half time when a cross into the area by Josh Beddis was connected by Jack Whiting, who scuffed an effort from 3 yards out inches wide past the right post; leaving City to rue a frustrating opening half.
City restated the game on fire and were almost in front five minutes into the second half through Josh Mathews, who saw his spectacular 25 yard effort tipped round the left post by George. City were again denied on the hour mark when George tipped wide another strike from Ward, while the resulting corner saw Martyn Mickiewicz witness his header agonisingly cleared off the goal line. The Steelmen were eventually rewarded for their pressure in the 66th minute when Josh Corlett powered a close range header into the back of the net following a cross by Hibbs, firing the hosts ahead.
The visitors reacted strongly to falling behind and were level in calamitous fashion in the 72nd minute when a long ball into the City area was flicked backwards off the head of Dean Palmer, leading to the ball looping over City keeper Tom King and into the back of the net. Buoyed by the goal, Aberdare almost scored again through Dylan Jones who smashed an effort onto the left post; while Dean Raven dragged a low strike narrowly wide past the right post. Things seemingly got worse for City in the 80th minute when the visitors were awarded a penalty due to an alleged handball by skipper Andrew Muscat. However the resulting spot kick from Raven was superbly saved low to the left by King, keeping the score level.
The penalty miss breathed a new lease of life for City who restored the pressure as Mathews, Ward and Beddis all forced George into key saves. With the game entering stoppage time, there was late drama when a low cross into the area by Corlett was latched on by Mickiewicz who tapped in a close range finish into the bottom right hand corner of the net to seal a vital win for the Steelmen.
Overall it was a highly satisfying victory for the Steelmen as they cemented their position at the top of the league table. Sam Houldsworth will also be rightly proud of City’s effort as his side dominated most of the proceedings, and created several chances that could have won them the game by a bigger margin. Ultimately Newport City can be proud of their league start and have every reason to feel optimistic about their promotion challenge this season.