Newport City’s promotion bid suffered a blip as they suffered a gut wrenching 4-3 home defeat against West End FC in what turned out to be thrilling encounter.
The Steelmen started very strongly and dominated much of the first half. Both Kofi Rowe and Solomon St. Clair both saw early goal bound efforts blocked, while Josh Corlett also sent two golden opportunities narrowly wide. City continued to threaten and came closer to scoring when a cross into the area by Rowe was met by Corlett, but the latter somehow managed to direct his shot from four yards out wide past the right hand past.
The hosts were made to rue the missed opportunities when the visitors took the lead against the run of play in the 38th minute. Josh Beddis initially cleared the ball off the goal line following a corner delivery, but City failed to clear the danger as West End’s Kian Rees smashed in a rebound strike from the edge of the area. City however reacted superbly and equalised three minutes later when a pass into the area by Corlett was smartly dispatched into the bottom right hand corner of net by Rowe. However the visitors restored their lead in first half stoppage time when a loose ball on the edge of the area was struck into the bottom right hand corner by Nikki Parvin, capping an enthralling finish to the first half.
Determined to bounce back, City turned up the pressure and were level just four minutes into the second half. Following a clever pass across the face of goal by Rowe, Dean Clifford had the simple task of tapping the ball into the right hand corner of the net from close range. Things got even better for the Steelmen six minutes later when Josh Beddis struck home a direct free kick from the edge of the area into the bottom left hand corner, completing a quick turnaround for the hosts.
City however suffered a major setback on the hour mark when Rowe was controversially dismissed for a second bookable offence after allegedly diving inside the West End penalty area. Riled by the decision, City continued to boss the game and came very close to extending their lead soon afterwards. Clifford forced Rees into a superb one handed save from 3 yards out following a pass from Beddis, while the latter also smacked the crossbar following another direct free kick. Martyn Mickiewicz also saw his close range header well saved by West End keeper Jacob Ireland, as the hosts looked to seal the game.
The Steelmen were left to rue the missed opportunities in the 74th minute after Scott Jewell connected on to a loose ball from the edge of the area, and struck a sweetly taken strike past city keeper Elisangelo Queni to level the score. Buyoed by the goal, the visitors went on to dominate the game as they aimed to make their numerical advantage count. West End had several chances to win the game as Jewell and Sam Allchurch both sent very good opportunities narrowly wide, while the former forced a couple of smart saves from Queni. However with the game deep into stoppage time there was late drama when West End substitute Noel James thumped a 30 yard screamer into the top right hand corner of the net, securing a dramatic victory for the hosts.
Overall it was a difficult result for Newport City to take as they produced one of their best performances of the season. The Steelmen however will have been encouraged by their display as they showed strong character throughout the whole game. Despite the defeat, there’ll be every chance of City maintaining their promotion aim if they continue to produce the same kind of performance during the remainder of the season.