Pewsey Vale 1 – 4 Newport IOW
Wessex League – Division One
Saturday 7th September 2019
The Recreation Ground, Pewsey
The Season So Far:
It would be fair to say that Pewsey Vale haven’t had the best of starts to the season. After having made the switch from the Hellenic league prior to this season, a period of transition could be expected and they’ll see today as another opportunity to turn things around. 5 league games and just a single point gained, plus a home loss to league rivals Laverstock and Ford in the FA Vase last weekend goes to show that life in the Wessex leagues won’t be easy.
As for the visitors from across the Solent; well they sit 5th but have played more games than anyone else in the league. 3 wins, 3 losses and a draw suggest that they haven’t found the consistency they will be looking for in order to go one better and challenge for promotion to the Premier Division this season. The current ground share situation with fellow Islanders East Cowes Victoria may prove to be an extra challenge for Newport.
Anyone who has been following this blog so far this season will know that my visits invariably begin at Trowbridge station. Well, today the other half wanted to get out of the house and was enticed by the picturesque village of Pewsey; some 20 miles to the east of Trowbridge. Navigating through the Wiltshire countryside and into Pewsey, we went our separate ways. Down the narrow high street with its unusual assortment of shops, past allotments and tennis courts and into the ground I went. On the face of it, The Recreation Ground is one of the less well equipped i’ve been to, but what it lacks in covered areas and seating it certainly makes up for by way of its surroundings and friendly locals. The pitch is surrounded by the usual metal fencing, while the only seating in view of the pitch is alongside the red brick clubhouse, which, I believe has been refurbished in the off season. And that’s it. Opposite the club house on the other side of the pitch is a raised bank separating the ground and the bowls and tennis facilities adjacent.
I arrived in time for kick off despite slightly misjudging the travel time to Pewsey. I was relieved to see that the visitors today, from the Isle of Wight, had made it in good time. And it was Newport who made the brighter start, dominating proceedings early on. The first shot was saved comfortably by the Pewsey keeper Topham. This was quickly followed by another shot charged down and out for a corner. From the resulting corner Newport’s Liam Triggs shot wide when perhaps he should’ve done better. No matter, on 10 minutes the away side countered from a rare Pewsey attack. A low cross took a deflection which duped Topham, and Triggs was there to tap in at the far post. Pewsey would soon get their first shot off, albeit a wild one high and wide of the Islanders’ goal. The first booking of the game soon followed – going to Vale’s Number 8, Fishlock – though in truth I was surprised no cards were brandished prior to this one! The home team were growing into the game and had their first clear cut opportunity on 35 minutes – their striker found himself with just the keeper to beat but was foiled by a last-ditch tackle. Despite this, it would be Newport who would double their lead – a minor melee with the ball almost cleared away but the linesman signalled that the goal should be given. Pewsey heads didn’t drop and they were back in it with 3 minutes to go in the half – a deep cross found Ethan MacKenzie who controlled well and slid under the imposing Gary Streeter in the visitors’ goal. Another deep cross almost led immediately to the equaliser but this time the volley at the far post was skewed out of harm’s way. Just when Vale looked like going into the break just one goal worse off, Newport broke again and re-established their 2 goal lead – Connor Kelly finding the back of the net when one-on-one. And it could have been 4, were it not for some top defending by the home side – another last second challenge keeping them in the game. Half time – 3-1 to the team from across the Solent.
Pewsey started the 2nd half on the front foot – forcing a good one-on-one save from Streeter after a couple of minutes, then a couple of shots missing the target from inside the box. Vale will feel they should’ve at least tested the veteran keeper. The first attempt of the half from the visitors was an ambitious one – a long range effort hitting the bar and bouncing out for a goal kick. The game started to peter out somewhat as Newport looked to soak up any Pewsey attacks. Vale looked somewhat vulnerable to another counter attack, and on 80 minutes a diving header from Jordan Browne forced Topham into a decent save. The away team would get their fourth – Triggs’ second of the game – a low finish into the corner from 18 yards finishing off yet another efficient counter attack. With just a couple of minutes left a half-volley from a Newport player almost brought the goal of the game but it flew just wide of the target. There was one last chance for the hosts to make the score look more respectable but their big number 10 failed to hit the target with a header when it looked easier to miss.
Full time 1-4 – another loss for the home side who – except for their finishing – look decent and should collect their first 3 points of the season with a bit more accuracy when it matters. I was impressed by their central defender captain Jake Force-Jones who made a number of good tackles and looks like he could do a job further up the pyramid. The victors look like a decent bet for challenging for promotion back to the Wessex League Premier. Their speedy front men and well organised defence impressed. The voyage across the sea will certainly seem worthwhile to them tonight! So another enjoyable visit for me, this time in an idyllic village setting – my first Wessex league game and yet another club I would recommend a visit to.