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Newport comfortably held Portchester – the team regarded as the richest and strongest in the Wessex League – at Smallbrook in a pre-season friendly on Saturday (16th July).

The county town club can no longer call on the services of former captain Martin McDonough but have been strengthened by the return of former players.

Last season, the Port made use of 2 excellent goalkeepers – Gary Streeter and Joe McCormack – who have a combined age of 87. This season, they have signed former Portsmouth Academy goalkeeper Leon Pitman, who has also appeared for Portchester and Horndean.

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Some very strong former players will don a yellow jersey this season: George Colson, Aidan Sainsbury, and Ryan Oatley. Former player-of-the-year Charlie Urry has also returned to the club.

Portchester have been in magnificent pre-season form, having beaten Southern League Salisbury 2-6. However, the Port gave the impression of being the stronger side in an impressive 1st half performance.

The Island side began on the front foot with Ryan Hughes – playing as a winger – forcing a save from Portchester keeper Mowthorpe in the 1st minute. Jordan Browne then had an opportunity to score but shot straight at the Portchester keeper before Scott Sampson headed past the Portchester upright.

Jordan Browne was then forced off the pitch with an injury to be replaced by Jared Wetherick.

The Port took the lead on the half hour mark when Connor Kelly was fouled 10 yards outside the Portchester penalty area, for dead ball specialist Josh Younie to take advantage with a trademark 30-yard curling free kick that crept into the right of the Portchester goal (1-0).

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Scott Sampson (all images: Simon Dear)

Half time: Newport IW 1-0 AFC Portchester

The Port changed their team in the 2nd half with Liam Harper, Aidan Sainsbury, Joe Craig, and Charlie Urry all making 2nd half appearances.

Harper had the best chance of the half but could only direct the ball at the Portchester keeper when put clean through.

Portchester appeared a strong and capable side but were admirably kept at bay by a strong performance by Port keeper Pitman. However, in the 80th minute, Portchester’s Archie Greenough 1st struck the left upright before heading the rebound over Pitman and into the goal (1-1).

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Full time: Newport IW 1-1 AFC Portchester

Jacob Reynolds

Newport I.W.: Pitman, Colson, Lamb, Hancott, Sampson, Pearce, Kelly, Reynolds, Browne, Younie, Hughes Subs: Streeter, Barron, Urry, Harper, Wetherick, Sainsbury, Gray

After the match, Newport co-manager Stewart Shepherd said:

This was a strong team performance. We had a good work rate, kept the ball well, forced them into a lot of mistakes, and nicked 2nd balls. We could have won the game.

The Port were due to play Shanklin at the County Ground on Tuesday, but the match has been cancelled. Newport’s next fixture will be against Eastbourne United on Saturday, 23rd July.

In other games featuring Isle of Wight Wessex League clubs …

Cowes Sports 1-1 Wick

The Yachtsmen were held at home by Wick from the Southern Combination League. The away side took the lead in the 2nd half with Josh Neale equalizing for the Island team.

Moneyfields Reserves 3-2 East Cowes Vics

Vics lost 3-2 against a Moneyfields Reserves side at Petersfield School. The scorers for Vics were Charlie Marsek and Brandon Tuckey.

East Cowes Vics next face Cowes Sports in an ‘El Classicowes’ derby at Beatrice Avenue on Tuesday (19th July). Kick off is at 19:30.

Video: Robert Lunn

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