womens doctor martens Hereford United 2 Newport Isle of Wight 3 FA Cup Third Qualifying Round Saturday
Hereford’S ignominious FA Cup third qualifying round exit at the hands of Isle of Wight visitors Newport after holding a 2 0 lead left Bulls fans stunned and director of football Graham Turner shell shocked.
Goals from left back Tony James and striker Gavin Williams in the first 53 minutes looked to have put the Bulls on course for an expected victory over opponents who are struggling in the bottom reaches of the Dr Martens League Southern Division a competition two grades lower than the Football Conference.
But in the 67th minute Eurshell Fearon, who had substituted for Tommy Pegler five minutes earlier, played a one two with Clifton Soares and broke through the heart of the home defence to plant his shot well out of keeper Andy Quy’s reach.
Until then Quy had not had a testing shot to save. But Fearon’s goal sent Newport’s confidence soaring, while United’s began to wobble alarmingly.
For the last 20 minutes Newport were all fired up and the Bulls should have realised they had a fight on their hands. Instead they remained futilely complacent and let the visitors dictate the play and end up humiliating them.
The equaliser came in the 83rd minute when Quy failed to hold on to an inswinging corner and Steve Leigh seized his chance to fire in a shot on the half volley.
Six minutes later Soares delivered the knockout blow. Quy could only punch another flag kick from the opposite flank over a crowd of players to Soares who rammed in the winner to send the small contingent of visiting supporters deliriously happy.
Quy has been carrying a shoulder injury for some time and, in hindsight, it would probably have been better to have fielded Mark Jones, the experienced non league keeper signed as cover from Telford United last month.
Newport’s regular goalkeeper Neil Hards was on the injured list and his place was taken by debut making Ian Lloyd. The replacement keeper could not entirely escape blame for James’ seventh minute goal.
The left back glided past two defenders and Lloyd seemed a little slow in going down to try to save a 25 yard shot which whipped into the bottom corner of the net.
For the rest of the half United were on top without exerting sufficient pressure to unsettle Newport’s defence. The Islanders did not have another anxious moment until the 44th minute when Ian Wright’s free kick bounced over Lloyd and hit the bar before dropping into the keeper’s arms.
In the 53rd minute Gavin Mahon rounded Dave Wilson with a neat piece of footwork and centred for Williams to nip in front of a defender and beat Lloyd with a fine header.
Soon after Richard Leadbeater carved out a clear cut chance for Ian Rodgerson to put the tie out of reach. The Bulls’ skipper opted to shoot first time rather than edge closer to goal and Lloyd did well to dive to his left and turn the ball away for a corner.
Five Newport players received yellow cards but no United players were booked.
After the match there was little Graham Turner could say in defence of his team’s woeful capitulation.
He said: ”The result is a disaster. All credit to Newport for the way they battled in the last 20 minutes, but we have only ourselves to blame. We should have built up a bigger lead in the first half, missed a great chance to have killed them off with a third goal and defended badly.”
Newport manager Tony Mount said: ”Our players deserve every credit for their fighting spirit. It was just fantastic. But I do feel sorry for Hereford because I know how much they needed a cup run.”