On a cold, wet Saturday afternoon, I saw my myself watching Newly crowned Blue Square South champions Newport County play Maidenhead United at the Newport Stadium. I had travelled to the South Wales City to visit my girlfriend’s Grandparents and on arriving at their house (located just a 5 minute walk away from the stadium), I noticed that Newport were playing at home. So off I went (don’t worry I just didn’t abandon my girlfriend and her Grandparent’s. I did stay there quite a while before I set out) and walked the short journey to the home of Newport County, and for £8 a ticket I wasn’t disappointed with the game I saw.
This was the first time I had watched a game in the Blue Square South and I must admit it was enjoyable to watch. Okay the pitch and the conditions weren’t the best, but I was impressed with Newport County and they thoroughly deserved their 4-1 win and deserve to be playing in the top tier of Non-League football next season. With also a 1,000 plus crowd behind them, I feel Newport will adjust well to the Blue Square Premier and teams will find it difficult to play against them.
Nickname: The Exiles
Manager: Dean Holdsworth
Stadium: Newport Stadium (Spytty Park)
Founded: 1912 (reformed in 1989)
Newport County have been outstanding this season and have clinched the Blue Square South title by a huge margin with 4 games still to play. They are currently on 94 points and are hoping to break the 100 point barrier before the end of the season.
Newport County were established in 1912 and joined the Football League’s Third Division in 1920. They stayed there until 1988 when they were relegated from the Football League. In that time they had managed to win the Welsh Cup in 1980 and had also reached the quarter finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup. However in February, the club went bankrupt and subsequently went out of business. But Newport reformed later that year and began life in the Hellenic League where they won promotion to the Southern League that year. In the 1994-95 season they were promoted to the Southern League Premier Division and when the reorganisation of the non-league system occurred, the club saw themselves take their place in the Conference South. Ex-Wimbledon star Dean Holdsworth took over as manager in April 2008 and in his first season guided them to a respectable 10th. However this season after being top of the table since September, Newport were crowned champions on the 15th March and will play in the Blue Square Premier next season, making them the first team to achieve promotion in the English football leagues this season.
Key player- Craig Reid
Craig Reid is Newport’s top scorer this season and has been in fantastic form, also leading the goal scoring chart in the Conference South. Craig started his career at Ipswich Town where he completed a scholarship before joining Coventry City in July 2004. He didn’t make a single appearance for the club and went on loan at Tamworth before joining Cheltenham Town in January 2007. He made 14 league appearances before joining Grays Athletic. He initially joined Newport on a month’s loan last year, before signing a two-year contract with Newport at the start of the season.
Newport County 4-1 Maidenhead
Newport County: Thompson, Bignot, Collins, Turk,Warren, Todd, Rose, Henry, Reid, Gilroy, Ake
Subs: Morgan, Rogers, Davies, Cochlin, Blackburn
Maidenhead United: Carter, Behzadi, Fyfield, Ochoa, Rose, Baddeley, Bernard, St. Aimie, Robinson, Knight, Collins.
Subs: Barney, Crook, Brown, Hippolyte, Tardif
3:00pm – The game kicks off.
1 min 40 – Newport have their first corner of the match, which is taken by Charlie Henry. But it leads to nothing.
5mins – Maidenhead have their first corner of the game, taken by Lewis Ochoa. Leads to nothing
10mins – GOAL! Newport County 1-0 Maidenhead United.
Charlie Henry runs down the right and his low cross is met by Dave Gilroy who makes no mistake and scores from 3 yards.
16mins – GOAL! Newport County 2-0 Maidenhead United.
The ball is played to Charlie Henry and another low cross finds Craig Reid who stretches to poke the ball into the net.
20mins- Game Update.
Champions Newport are dominating possession and Maidenhead are struggling to cope with them. The home crowd is getting behind their team and they are playing some superb passing football
26mins – Chance for Newport! Charlie Henry takes a free-kick from the left and Warren Carter in the Maidenhead goal saves well, diving to his right to tip the ball around the post. Good save.
32mins – Another chance for Newport! A corner from Charlie Henry finds its way to Danny Rose and his right foot shot is just wide.
36mins – Penalty!
Craig Reid passes the ball to Takumi Ake who plays in Dave Gilroy. However he is tripped by Marcus Rose and the referee points to the spot. Craig Reid steps up but he blasts the ball over the bar and the score stays at 2-0.
43mins – Maidenhead create their first chance of the game! Adam Bernard is clean through but his shot is block by keeper Glyn Thompson. Down the other end, Charlie Henry runs from his own half and his right foot shot is saved well by Carter.
45mins- HALF TIME. Newport County 2-0 Maidenhead United.
Analysis: Newport have been dominating the game so far and fully deserve their lead. Maidenhead can’t get into the game and Newport are easing to victory.
Key player: Charlie Henry (Newport County)
He has created both goals and his constant running and pace is causing Maidenhead problems. He is a joy to watch today.
50mins- Chance for Newport! Danny Rose takes a free-kick but it is comfortably saved by the goalkeeper.
53mins- Another chance goes begging for Newport! Takumi Ake tries to bend his shot past Warren Carter but it is just wide of the right post. A good chance to treble their lead.
58mins- Substitution for Newport. On comes Scott Rogers who replaces Takumi Ake.
64mins- Maidenhead bring 7 fans! Just noticed 7 Maidenhead fans who are singing to the right of me. Obviously the rest didn’t fancy their chances today and too right. They are struggling against a far stronger side.
65mins- Substitution for Maidenhead. Lee Barney comes on replacing Paul Robinson
67mins- GOAL! Newport County 3-0 Maidenhead United.
A throw-in on the right finds midfielder Danny Rose who’s fierce left foot shot flies into the top left of the goal giving the keeper no chance. Superb goal.
69mins- Substitution for Newport. Kerry Morgan comes on replacing Dave Gilroy
71mins- GOAL! Newport County 4-0 Maidenhead United.
A throw-in on the left finds its way to sub Scott Rogers who dribbles past a defender before unleashing a right foot shot past Carter in the Maidenhead goal.
73mins GOAL! Newport County 4-1 Maidenhead United
A consolation goal for Maidenhead as Glyn Thompson’s poor throw out falls to Sam Collins and his left foot shot sails into the top left of the net, giving the Newport keeper no chance.
74mins- Substitution for Newport. Nathan Davies replaces Wayne Turk.
Substitution for Maidenhead. Joe Crook replaces Adam Bernard.
75mins- Game Update.The game is all but over now. Newport are in complete control and easing to victory against a far weaker Maidenhead team.
78mins- chance for Maidenhead. Lewis Ochoa takes a free-kick but it is straight at the keeper.
82mins- Conditions worsen! The pitch has now descended into a complete mud-bath with both sets of players slipping all over the place. Definitely not a good surface to play football on.
90mins- FULL TIME.
Newport County 4-1 Maidenhead United
Analysis: It was a comfortable afternoon today for the Conference South Champions and fully deserved their thumping 4-1 win. The dominated from start to finish and caused Maidenhead a lot of problems.
Man of the Match: Charlie Henry (Newport County)
It was a tough all today but Charlie Henry just pipped Craig Reid to claim the man of the match. Henry was a constant threat for Newport today and created two out of the four goals. His pace caused all sorts of problems for Maidenhead today and they just couldn’t handle him.