Newport City’s recent league slump continued as they were made to battle their way to a hard-earned draw at home against Chepstow Town.
Having already beaten City three times this season, the visitors took control early on and started very strongly. They almost took the lead in the 10th minute when a close range strike from Tom Bullock skimmed off the bar, while an acrobatic effort a minute later from Richard Lloyd drifted narrowly wide over. Chepstow did eventually take the lead in the 17th minute when a stunning strike from the edge of the area by Joseph Heal flew past City keeper Elisangelo Queni into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Chepstow almost doubled their lead when Joshua Parson forced Queni into two vital saves. City did eventually threaten as debutant King Mwedzo was sent clean through on goal, but the attacker saw his low strike blocked by Chepstow keeper Jack Jones. The Steelmen came close again through Josh Beddis who saw two quality free kick efforts magnificently saved by Jones, leaving the hosts in charge at the interval.
City almost re-started the game disastrously when Cheptow’s Callum Dark was sent clean through on goal, however the defender sent his strike into the side netting. City did almost equalise on the hour mark when Mwedzo rounded past Jones, but agonisingly saw his shot cleared off the goal-line by Heal. Mwedzo was handed another great opportunity from the following corner, but the former Pontypridd Town player struck a close range wide over the bar.
The visitors reacted with intent and almost sealed the game through Parson Bertrand Abang who forced Queni into smart saves, while Heal also sent a low curler from the edge of the area narrowly wide past the right post. With the game entering stoppage time, City piled on the pressure and almost levelled when Beddis saw another top free kick effort tipped wide by Jones. However Beddis was finally rewarded when the defender powered a diving header from a corner into the back of the net, levelling the score in the 93rd minute.
There was still time for further drama when Daniel Williams was sent off following the use of alleged foul language towards the referee. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Chepstow almost snatched the game in the final second when a diving header inside the six yard box from David Palmer flew into the arms of Queni – ensuring the game finished all square.
Overall it was a gritty performance for City as they had to dig deep to claw their way to a draw. The side will know that they need to improve their performance if they are to get their promotions hope back on track. We go again.