Newport came away from Salisbury with a point against the title favourites but will be disappointed they didn’t take all three.
Steve Brougham selected the experienced side that had beaten Moneyfields the previous Saturday and bringing in Mark Augustus for the suspended Prezpolewski.
The first half belonged to Newport as Bemerton struggled to control their discipline following several disputed decisions from the officials. Sweeping crossfield moves had Bemerton on the back foot as two opportunities for John Mckie were saved well by the home keeper.
As the game approached the half hour mark Newport opened the scoring, an effort from Mckie was half saved by the keeper and Mark Augustus pounced on the loose ball to slip it into the net. Newport’s defence were restricting chances for Bemerton and as the half drew to a close the home side had only had one effort on goal which went wide.
Half Time: Bemerton 0 Newport 1
Bemerton came out much livelier in the second half and pushed Newport back into their own half. After only five minutes a shot from O’Keefe from the edge of the box flew past an unsighted Gary Streeter to equalise for the home side.
It was now Bemerton’s turn to push forward in search of victory but the Port defence were able to deal with everything the home side could throw at them. The game exploded in the 67th minute when a late challenge from O’Keefe caught Darren Powell and the referee pulled out a straight red. The Bemerton player having pulled his shirt off and walked off before the referee brandished the card. The home dugout had been in conflict with the officials from the 4th minute of the game and finally the referee had had enough and sent the home manager Ian Chalk from the pitch.
As Newport pressed forward to make the superior numbers count Iain Seabrook broke into the box and collided with a defender. The referee blew for a penalty which appeared harsh from the sidelines. Iain Seabrook took the penalty himself sending the keeper the wrong way to put the Port 2-1 in front.
At this point an away victory looked the likely option but a defensive mistake was to cost the Port two points, 10 minutes from time. An innocuous ball into the box was left by Ross Gregory for Gary Streeter but as the keeper went to kick, the pair appeared to collide. This left the ball and winger Roe in front of an empty goal and the player promptly walked it into the net.
Huge disappointment for the visitors, relief for the home team and probably for the officials as well. Only adding on three minutes when the the two sending off’s and four bookings for the home team in the second half had probably taken four or five minutes at least.
We probably haven’t heard the last of this game.
Full Time: Bemerton 2 Newport 2