On Sunday afternoon, the B team welcomed league leaders Regional Utd to Derryleigh Park and really put it up to the promotion favourites, who were made to work very hard to take all 3 points in their 4-3 win. Without a competitive game since mid-November, Newport started very sluggishly and conceded in the very first minute from a well-struck free-kick on the edge of the box. The visitors doubled their lead in the 16th minute when Newport conceded a second goal from an O.G. At this stage it looked like it was going to be a long day at the office but Newport began to settle and reduced the Regional lead in the 34th minute after some good work between Colin Coleman & Jack Noble down the left, from a long pass from Pa Murtagh, ended with Coleman rifling the ball home with his right foot. Unfortunately, Regional made it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time when a corner was powerfully headed to the Newport net from a corner.
In fairness to Newport, they started the second half strongly and were unlucky not to get a second goal when Colin Coleman’s well-struck volley just went over the bar and had a couple of other half-chances. Newport were now well in the game but the wind was taken out of their sails when Regional scored their fourth with another O.G. in the 56th minute. Newport were now chasing the game and increased the tempo and began to put Regional under severe pressure and were rewarded in the 70th minute when Colin Coleman scored his second of the game and tenth of the season. The visitors’ lead was then reduced to just one goal when Nathan Hartigan’s curling corner kick ended up in the back of the net via a glance from a Regional head. This made it 4-3 to Regional with Newport on top and plenty of time remaining for a granstand finish. Newport looked to have scored an equaliser late in the game but it was disallowed by the ref, much to the puzzlement of the Newport players & sideline. Despite the lads' best efforts the equaliser never materialised and Regional managed to hold on to take all 3 points. A poor start to the game was the downfall, but the lads will take confidence into their remaining games with their strong second half-performance. Speedy recovery to team captain, David 'Dobs' O'Brien who suffered an injury late in the game and hopefully he won't be out of action for too long. It was good to see Stephen 'Speedy' Carroll back in the Newport jersey after a few months off to recharge the batteries.