Treowen Stars gave their bid to avoid relegation from the Welsh Football League a real boost with a win at Newport City.
Sitting bottom of Welsh League Division Three at the start of play, the Newbridge-based outfit produced a performance that belied their league position to secure a comeback win against a Newport City team that have spent most of the season in the top five.
Right-back Tom Harris was an unlikely match-winner, with further goals from Jack Stait and Christopher Jones helping the Stars claim the three points at the Newport Stadium.
Treowen started the brighter of the two sides, Ross Jolifer chancing his arm from 25 yards inside the first minute and they should have been ahead as early as the third minute. Newport goalkeeper Pateev fumbled a cross from the left wing, presenting a clear shooting chance for Stait but he screwed his half-volley wide. There were strong appeals for handball from the visitors when Tommy James’ goalbound header was blocked by a Newport defender.
Newport didn’t make it easy for themselves early on, their insistence on playing the ball out from the back against a high-pressing Treowen meant they repeatedly lost possession in dangerous areas and clearances from the feet of Tsvetan Pateev were hardly providing the security you expect from your goalkeeper.
Despite most of the action taking place in their own half, it was Newport who broke the deadlock. Kareem Leigh dug out a cross from the right and found Martyn Mickiewicz, turning smartly at the near post he finished emphatically past Matthew Stredwick in goal. The opening goal brought about Newport’s best period of the half, enjoying good spells of possession but without creating the chances to reward their commitment to short passing.
Leigh cut inside and tried his luck from 30 yards after a sustained period of patient build-up, but presented only a routine save for Stredwick. Better still Andrew Muscat had a chance from a Benardin Fetahi corner, but his glanced header drifted wide.
A speculative punt into the box was dealt with, Lewis Bansal slicing his attempted clearance up in the air. Stait was quickest to react, volleying past Pateev from ten yards. All square at the interval, Newport doubtless ruing the error but in truth it was the least Treowen deserved for their domination of the opening twenty minutes.
Treowen started the second half with more urgancy than ther hosts. Stait had a couple of opportunities before Treowen took the lead for the first time in the 53rd minute. Again it was a chance handed by mistakes in the Newport backline. A mix-up between two Newport defenders trying to lead with a loose ball led to one kicking the ball against the other. The luck of the bounce was with Treowen forward Jones, making no mistake with his first time effort to beat Pateev.
The goal roused Newport and within three minutes they had struck back. An advance into Treowen territory ended with Mickiewicz firing a shot against the crossbar. In the follow-up, Newport appealed for handball against Tommy James when he blocked a cross. After some hesitation, referee Robert Rosen pointed to the penalty spot – a decision Treowen vociferously protested, leading to Elliot Williams being booked for dissent. From 12 yards Patrick Pope slotted home the equaliser.
Treowen were not to be denied though. Shortly after the hour, another Stars attack and a shot at goal, a slight deflection and Pateev was forced into an off balance reaction save. However, the ball squirmed away from the stopper and Harris was on hand to stab into the empty net from a few yards out.
Treowen could have wrapped up the points in the final quarter: James’ volley from the edge of the box produced a smart stop from Pateev low to his left, Matthew Prosser headed wide from a Jones cross and Stars had a goal chalked off after the referee ruled there had been a push by Prosser.
As the final whistle approached, Treowen inevitably dropped back and Newport were able to press. In added time, Bansal almost made amends for his earlier mistake with a 20 yard curler, but Stredwick was equal to it and produced the best save of the match. Then from the next phase, Mickiewicz was allowed a near post header at goal, but he couldn’t get his effort on target.
Relief then for Treowen to survive and reach the final whistle with three vital points claimed, warmly and deservedly applauded off by their band of travelling supporters.
The win means Treowen leapfrog Neuadd Wen into 15th position, just two points behind Ely Rangers in 14th and with three games in hand.