After strong ends to their Wessex League campaigns, Brading finishing an impressive 4th and Newport 10th in the Wessex Premier Division, both sides arrived at Westwood Park in Cowes looking to end their season on a high.
Having only recently played out an entertaining draw in a league match, there were high hopes for a free flowing and entertaining final for the Island’s showpiece competition.
The opening exchanges looked like the watching crowd weren’t to be disappointed. Newport were the first to set their intentions, Iain Seabrook shooting over early on. Not to be outdone Brading went straight on the attack themselves, Scott Jones shooting low and forcing a corner.
The Romans started to take control of the game, pressing the Newport 18 yard box, but failing to make any clear cut chances. It was Jones again who looked the dangerman, weaving through the middle, only to be denied by a brave save at his feet from Cameron Farley, that left the Port keeper needing treatment.
Newport nearly broke the deadlock with a hopeful long ball from Graham Stay on the left flank, Darren Powell with a deft touch that evaded the Brading keeper but floated just over the bar.
Brading then created a couple of good chances, firstly Jones winning a header from the ball pumped forward, which found his strike partner Kyle Levrier whose shot went narrowly over. Then some great link up play down the left wing between Giancovich, Levrier and Jack Morris forced a corner, James Butt delivered a testing cross which was spilled by Farley in the Newport goal, but he was able to gather it on the ground before a Brading player could pounce.
It was Newport though that started to look more of a threat as the first half drew to a close, a free kick by Scott Sampson led to a goal mouth scramble in the Brading box, which was eventually cleared before a yellow shirt could apply a finish. Then it was great work through the middle from Charlie Smeeton who battled past two players before finding Tom McInnes who looked likely to open the scoring, but the linesman’s flag was up.
Newport did take the lead soon after, Iain Seebrook’s perfectly weighted through ball, latched on to by Mark Augustus who smashed the ball into Brading net in the 40th minute.
It was almost 2-0 to the Port just a couple of minutes later, a mix up at the back for Brading led to a good exchange between McInnes and Smeeton, the latter forcing a great save from the Romans keeper True.
The referee called an end to a fairly quiet but even first half with all to play for in the second.
HT:- Newport (IOW) 1 Brading Town 0
A foul on Charlie Smeeton early in the second half nearly saw Newport double their advantage. Iain Seabrook’s thunderous freekick from 25 yards was turned round the post by Gareth True at full stretch.
James Butt continued to be a dangerous outlet for Brading on the right flank, sending in several floated crosses crying out for somebody to attack, Scott Jones getting on the end of one, only to be penalised for handball.
It was a hammer blow for the Romans though on 51, when a loose ball out of the defence was picked up by Seabrook who found McInnes, the Port number 9 sent in a cross, which was deflected towards goal by a white shirt, Gareth True did well to dive to his left and palm the ball away, only for it to fall to Charlie Smeeton to tap it into the empty net and give Newport a two goal cushion.
Brading immediately forced a corner, but Newport cleared their lines before there was a triple substitution in the 55th minute. Newport replaced Gregorys Ryan coming on for older brother Ross, while Brading made two changes as they looked to chase the game. Keiron Ford and Jamie O’Rourke replacing Will Quigley and Jack Morris respectively.
Not looking to let up, a now confident Newport looked to impose themselves and kill the game, Charlie Smeeton turning provider, but Iain Seabrook’s shot went wide.
Brading hadn’t thrown in the towel though and perhaps should have been right back in it, Giancarlo Giancovich persevering down the middle of the park before sending a teasing ball across the face of the Newport goal, Jamie O’Rourke just out of reach from tapping it home.
Charlie Smeeton, a constant threat when Newport attacked, had another goalbound effort, well headed behind by Brading defender Ollie Fleming, but Newport effectively ended the tie just minutes later in the 67th. Mark Augustus floating in a cross which was met by 16 year old Ryan Gregory who calmly headed home.
Brading made their final substitution of the evening in the 68th, Jason Ince coming on for James Butt and should have scored a minute later. Levrier lining up what seemed to be a certain goal, but for a perfectly timed sliding tackle from Steve Russell.
Newport now in control, looked to take advantage of Brading having to commit men forward, Seabrook and Smeeton both testing Gareth True. The Romans thought they were back in it though after great hassling by Levrier to force a corner, Jones had the ball in the back of the net from the resulting set piece, only for the linesman to rule it out, because the ball had already gone out of play.
Levrier was give an talking to by the referee for a late challenge on Seabrook in what had been a consistently disciplined affair, the official choosing not to reach for his pocket for the first time in the match.
Brading finally got on the scoresheet in the 82nd, a long range finish that may have taken a deflection from Giancarlo Giancovich stung the gloves of Cameron Farley, but he couldn’t keep it out. In what looked like being a frantic finish by the team in read and white, they carved out another chance straight from the kick off getting in a cross that was well plucked out of the air by Farley to safeguard the Port’s two goal lead.
Newport replaced Iain Seabrook with Tom Scovell before a Jason Ince cross was met by O’Rourke who couldn’t apply a finish for Brading. As the clock wound down and we headed in to stoppage time, Paul Sleep made his final substitution John Chambers coming on for the opening goalscorer Augustus. It was deep into stoppage time when the referee had to take his first real disciplinary action of the night, Kyle Levrier sent off for a late tackle on Charlie Smeeton, before bringing an end to a good contest. Newport retaining the Gold Cup, taking the precious trophy back to St. Georges Park for the 39th time.
Charlie Smeeton was deservedly named the “Alan Reed” Man of the Match.
FT:- Newport (IOW) 3 Brading Town 1
Newport (IOW):- Farley, Sampson, Stay, Augustus(Chambers), Russell, Ovnik, Powell, Seabrook(Scovell), McInnes, Smeeton, Ro Gregory(Ry Gregory) Subs not used – McDonough, Simpkins
Brading Town:- True, Butt(Ince), Quigley(Ford), Appell, Fleming, Stuber, Morris(O’Rourke), Rayner, Giancovich, Levrier, Jones. Subs not used – Lewis