Being a supporter of sporting teams in this area can be a bit of a thankless task, you get more used to disappointment than joy and to end of season failure than success, but, every now and then you get a day which has you thinking anything is possible. Having watched Wales win round and oval balls matches with style and a fair bit of class within a few hours of each other and then seen the Academy play very well in thumping Watford’s youngsters 4-0, I thought I’d go along to watch Newport County’s match with Southport this afternoon to see if what was turning into an incredible twenty four hours could stretch to me witnessing County’s first win in twelve matches – I should have known better!
It was all set up, the first game under new management on the day on when nothing could go wrong for Welsh teams and, for a few minutes, it looked good for County. The Southport keeper was forced to turn a shot around the post after about ten seconds and then another shot from a promising position was ballooned over the bar a couple of minutes later, but by the time they had their next effort at goal early in the second half, they were three goals down and turning in a performance that was even more abject than the two previous dire ones I had seen this season.
It was hardly as if Southport were any good. Virtually their only attacking ploy was to get their left back to hurl long throws in from the right hand side of the pitch – while they were pretty quick and accurate, they shouldn’t have caused the consternation in the County defence that they did. Keeper Thompson got in a mess dealing with a couple of them in the thirtieth and forty fourth minutes and both times it cost his team a goal – fair play to the visitors, they did score a goal out of keeping with the generally low quality football on display in between times when a good cross from the right was nodded back over the keeper Peter Thorne style by one of their strikers, but Southport barely had to raise a sweat to get the game won by half time.
County carried slightly more of a goal threat after the break with decent efforts going just wide and over and the Southport keeper finally being forced into a fairly difficult save, but there was a resigned feel to it all as some of the crowd started to leave with around half an hour to go. Actually, the attitude of the County crowd was quite interesting – they gave Nat Jarvis plenty of support for a lot of honest effort which, nearly always, came to nothing. This suggested to me that they weren’t too happy with the level of commitment from many of the other players and yet they didn’t really get on the back of the team that much – it was if they had given up on them which only shows that Justin Edinburgh has a hell of a job on his hands.
Finally, as I write this, I’ve just learned that Wales Under 21’s have beaten their Montenegro counterparts by 1-0 and so a fantastic twenty four hours finishes on a good note with just the one disappointment. Having said that, I know many City fans will be pleased to see our neighbours struggling so badly, but I’m not one of them – I’ve always supported Newport when I’ve gone to watch them and their present plight saddens me.