Newport comfortably held Portchester – the side considered the wealthiest and strongest in the Wessex League – at Smallbrook in a pre-season friendly on Saturday July 16.

The County Town club can no longer call on the services of former captain Martin McDonough but have been bolstered by the return of former players.

Last season the Port brought in 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 wear a yellow jersey this season: George Colson, Aidan Sainsbury and Ryan Oatley. Former Player of the Year Charlie Urry also returned to the club.

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

The Island side started 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 the chance to score but fired straight at the Portchester keeper before Scott Sampson ran past the Portchester post.

Jordan Browne was then forced off the field through injury to be replaced by Jared Wetherick.

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

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Scott Sampson (all images: Simon Dear)

Half: Newport IW 1-0 AFC Portchester

The Port changed sides 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 was only able to direct the ball towards the Portchester keeper when it was passed cleanly.

Portchester appeared as a strong and capable side, but were admirably held at bay by a solid performance from port keeper Pitman. However, in the 80th minute, Portchester’s Archie Greenough 1st hit 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 IW: Pitman, Colson, Lamb, Hancott, Sampson, Pearce, Kelly, Reynolds, Browne, Younie, Hughes Subtitles: Streeter, Barron, Urry, Harper, Wetherick, Sainsbury, Gray

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

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

The Port were scheduled to face Shanklin at the County Ground on Tuesday, but the match was called off. Newport’s next match will be against Eastbourne United on Saturday July 23.

In other matches featuring Wessex League clubs from the Isle of Wight…

Cowes Sports 1-1 Wick

The Yachtsmen were held at home by Wick of the Southern Combination League. The visiting team took the lead in the 2nd half with Josh Neale equalizing for the island team.

Moneyfields reserve 3-2 East Cowes Vics

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

East Cowes Vics next take on Cowes Sports in an “El Classicowes” derby on Beatrice Avenue on Tuesday, July 19. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.

Video: Robert Lunn

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