Hawks 0 v 1 Newport County
Hawks 0 v 1 Newport County
Report Havant and Waterlooville gifted Newport County their second win in a week at a windswept Spytty Road Stadium this afternoon. After a forgettable opening half the hosts took the lead three minutes into the second when Forest Green Rovers signing Julian Alsop tapped home Craig Hughes`s rolling pass from three yards, leaving the Hawks the seemingly impossible task of finding a reply.
The Hawks made two changes to their victorious midweek side. Craig Watkins came off the bench to swap places with Richard Pacquette, and similarly, Brett Poate traded places with Tony Taggart on the left wing.
The visitors found themselves constricted against a tight Newport defence from the off, but crosses from Mo Harkin through to the left side of goal brought increasingly flustered clearances from Andrew Thomas that lead to a succession of well defended long Phil Warner throws.
The hosts began to show their hand around the ten minute mark with Craig Hughes probing twice from the left, only to be denied by an active Tom Jordan. Jason Bowen lofted in a corner that was eventually cleared and the Hawks demonstrated a rare ability to break quickly when Watkins combined with Rocky Baptiste to spread the ball across the field to Harkin. His ball back in though was head away by Ian Hillier on the penalty spot.
Jamie Collins managed a good on target attempt 26 minutes in, stopped by Exiles keeper Mark Ovendale, but play switched quickly to the other end where Shane Gore swung at and missed an edge of the box clearance that Alsop then sent toward goal for Michael Warner to head off the line.
Fans of both sides grew frustrated as both defences held strong and the tension spilled on the pitch with Phil Warner and Thomas opening the sizable tally of yellow cards for each side in separate incidents.
Newport County 0
Havant and Waterlooville 0
Two minutes into the second half the Hawks fell behind when Newport struggled forward in the wind and a poor clearance from Harkin left the defence in disarray, allowing Hughes to roll an easy pass along the six yard box to Alsop who weaved in at the back post to tap the ball home.
The Hawks attempted a quick reply and surged forward with Poate finding Collins for a twisting shot that Ovendale pushed round the post with a dive. Harkins`s following corner though was less successful.
Jordan handled Bowen`s cross awkwardly and the ball deflected to the feet of Hughes, but with an open goal before him the striker sliced his shot over the bar.
As the half progressed the visitors started to carve out more chances, Harkin sliding the ball across the face of goal from the line with no one to finish and Watkins following after with a solid shot that Ovendale got behind. The keeper was then forced into a dramatic dive to block an attempt by Harkin on the end of another long Phil Warner throw.
67 minutes in Ian Baird replaced Collins and Watkins with Tony Taggart and Richard Pacquette. The pair combined almost immediately when Pacquette latched onto a neat over the shoulder ball from the midfield and turned it back to the far side of the box for Taggart to make a diving header that took him and the ball into Ovendale.
Two corners brought the Hawks back into the game after a quiet spell, and Poate was unlucky when Ovendale parried his swinging shot. Two further corners followed but ultimately the game ended with the tale of the two defences separated only by the mistake that lead to Newport`s winning goal.
By Rich Self
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