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REPORT | County win as they make nostalgic return to Moreton-In-Marsh

12 July 2019

A Newport County AFC XI returned to Moreton-In-Marsh for the first time in almost 30 years and came away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a second-half strike from Ryan Hillier.

As they were then known, Newport AFC moved 80 miles away from their home stadium to Gloucestershire for the 1989/90 season after disputes with Newport Council and the Football Association of Wales forced the club to play their home games over the border in England.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary since that campaign, a team composed of Newport County AFC academy players returned to the Exiles’ former home and got the reward their dominant performance deserved.

Hillier calmly slotted away the opportunity when found in space inside the penalty area as County secured the same result as their first match at this venue – Norman Parselle netting against Pegasus Juniors on August 19th 1989.

In truth, the Young Exiles arguably deserved more as they constantly caused problems throughout – Tom Wright saw a header cleared off the line and several shots from distance went just wide.

They also had the ball in the back of the net midway through the first half after a goalmouth scramble, but the flag had been raised early to prevent a first-half opener.

At the other end, Lee Brookes shot just wide on the half hour and Jamie Wyatt saw a free-kick confidently saved by Callum Brain midway through the second half.

A useful exercise for the Young Exiles in a game that allowed some supporters a chance to walk down memory lane.

Academy manager Jorden Gibson said: “I’ve just been told that Danny Elliott – a coach who has just progressed from the youth setup to the first team – was the last Newport player to score here so I’ve had to remind him that that’s history now and we’re now looking at what we’ve just done here.

“It was nice to emulate the score of Newport’s first game here and it was nice to lift a little trophy afterwards which was a nice touch from Moreton Rangers.

“The people here have been outstanding, and tonight is credit to them. It just shows the relationship between the two clubs and it was a really, really enjoyable night.

“The boys worked really hard. I was a little disappointed at times with our assertiveness to get out to the ball but it’s just the third game and players are still getting minutes into their legs.

“There’s a Newport XI on Tuesday night then we’ve got another game on the Thursday then Premier League opposition in Watford next Saturday.

“We’re testing the boys in every way we can to make them better as individuals and as a collective. It was evident tonight that they work hard for each other which was pleasing.

“Ryan Hillier is doing very well. He reported back into pre-season very fit, his testing was one of the best and he’s scored in every game. That’s testament to what he did before our pre-season started.”

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