A first-half goal by Matt Tubbs gives Portsmouth the victory at Rodney Parade...
John Sheridan handed debuts to Tommy O’Sullivan and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb for the visit of Portsmouth to Rodney Parade. The visitors were sitting in second place at the start of the game and were hoping to close the gap to the top. Newport were looking for only their second win of the campaign.
Portsmouth had the first chance of the game when Gary Roberts found himself in space on the edge of the penalty area to deliver a cross that went right across the front of goal and would have been diverted home if it had been reached but it went harmlessly through the area and out of play. Newport weren’t without their chances though and after some fine footwork from Medy Elito in midfield, Lenell John-Lewis was unlucky not to divert his header goalwards.
The first corner went Newports way after just 6 minutes but was safely punched away by the Portsmouth keeper. The opening of the game was fast paced and very end to end, something that suited Portsmouth, as they kept trying to get in behind the Newport back line. County were playing some brilliant passing football and at times were stretching Portsmouth from one side of the pitch to the other, Barnum-Bobb doing really well down the right.
After 12 minutes Tommy O’Sullivan produced some magnificent footwork in the Portsmouth penalty area dancing around three players before getting a shot off. Sadly this shot was mistimed and went comfortably wide, a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise brilliant passage of play for County. Newport were by no means dominating the game however and Portsmouth had a good chance from the edge of the penalty area after some poor choice in passing from the Exiles but County were always able to close down the play and prevent a good looking shot.
official Wayne Barratt with 5 minutes to go in the first half which gave all the players a chance to get a drink and new instructions from their manager before the break.thThe game then went quiet with around 20 minutes of good football, but no significant chances. Newport then thought they’d scored after John-Lewis knocked the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net but the referee disallowed it for a previous incident after Christian Burgess was fouled in the build-up. The referee then went off to be replaced by 4
There were four minutes of added time at the end of the first half, all because of the change of referee, Portsmouth were suited better by the break and were able to capitalise in the second minute of added time when Matt Tubbs found himself alone in the penalty area and slotted the ball into the bottom corner underneath Joe Day to give the visitors the momentum going into the break
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY A.F.C 0 – 1 PORTSMOUTH F.C
After an extended half time break as a fourth official was found, Portsmouth had a free-kick inside the first minute after a heavy Scott Barrow challenge that saw him receive the first yellow card of the game. Newport struggled coming out of the blocks in the second half with Portsmouth definitely showing themselves as the stronger club and showing why they are at the top end of the table.
Newport were still able to produce some chances though and Mark Byrne had a great chance from 20 yards after Zak Ansah laid the ball off to him but his effort went past the far post and Portsmouth were able to stay in the lead. They were then gifted a free-kick in a brilliant position after 11 minutes of the second half when Scott Barrow was brought down 30 yards out and just left of centre. Tommy O’Sullivan delivered the free-kick but McCarey in the Portsmouth goal was easily able to save.
Portsmouth had the next significant chance when they were able to get a shot away from 25 yards level with the corner of the Newport penalty area but thankfully for the Exiles the shot was wide of Joe Days’s far post. A double substitution was then made by manager John Sheridan with Aaron Collins and Alex Rodman coming on in an attempt to bring the game back to Newport.
Portsmouth then had another great chance as a cross came right across the six yard box but Joe Day got just enough on it to divert it away from the two blue shirts that were arriving at the back post. Newport were a much poorer side in the second half than they were in the first and Portsmouth began to show their dominance claiming most of the possession and most of the chances.
As the game headed into the last 10 minutes Newport won a corner from the right after Donacien picked out Rodman with a brilliant diagonal ball. The initial corner was poor but the ball spilled around the box and was eventually fired over the bar. Newport had the odd glimpse of a chance but the game still looked like one that was being played between a side at the bottom and a side in the automatic promotion places.
Newport were getting increasingly anxious and increasingly desperate as the clock ticked down and more mistakes were beginning to creep in as Portsmouth began to start looking for the corner flag with five minutes to go of normal time. With a rare charge forward County were able to win a free-kick in a good position which Byrne over hit and it went over everyone and out for a goal kick.
As the final whistle was fast approaching fans began to head to the exits as Portsmouth spent more and more time in the Exiles half. Newport had played well in the first half of the game and were somewhat unlucky to concede just before half time but Portsmouth showed their class in the second half and dominated proceedings with Newport struggling to keep the ball for any length of time to do anything significant with it.
FULL TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY A.F.C 0 – 1 PORTSMOUTH F.C
: Day, Barrow (Rodman 64’), O’Sullivan, Elito, Ansah (Boden 59’), John-Lewis (Collins 64’), Donacien, Bennett, Partridge, Barnum-Bobb, Byrne (c)Newport County AFC
Subs not used: R. Taylor, Holmes, Taylor, Klukowski
: McCarey, Doyle (c), Davies, Naismith (Boco 58’), Burgess, Bennett, Stevens, Webster, Barton (Hollands 67’), Roberts, Tubbs (Lavery 74’)Portsmouth
Subs not used: Murphy, Clarke, Atangana, Chaplin
Goals: Tubbs 45+2’
Referee: James Adcock (Wayne Barratt 39’)
Attendance: 3298 (1,087 away)