Brading and Newport started their final league game with an identical record of played 13, won 12, drawn 1. The drawn game being the away game v Newport earlier in the season
With an identical goal difference of + 95 the game was always going to be very tight. So it proved with Brading starting really well and passing the ball around in an attractive manner. It was against the run of play that Newport scored after 8 minutes when a slight slip by a defender and keeper, let the Newport centre forward sneak in to finish well.
The goal took the wind out of Brading’s sails a little and Newport started exerting some pressure and were on top for most of the first half…..Brading defended resolutely and concentrated well. Brading always looked dangerous on the break.
Half time Brading 0-1 Newport
The second half started with Brading on the front foot and they created a couple of half chances in the first couple of minutes. It was Bradings turn to score after 8 minutes of a half when Dillon Gough skilfully created some space for himself on the left hand edge of the box and his well hit shot was only parried by the Newport keeper and Louie did what all good strikers do and followed up the shot to score from the rebound.
Brading 1-1 Newport
Momentum really switched to Brading and they played more expansively and used the width of the pitch to try and get one v ones on the well organised Newport defence. Aidan Radford picked up a ball deep in the Brading half in the 53rd minute. He played a lovely ball down the right hand line to Louie Fleming who out sprinted and out muscled the Newport left back and he took the ball to the Newport goal line and put in a great cross that went across the box to Charlie Bligh who had found a yard of space, Charlie cooly controlled the ball and stroked the ball back across the goal to nestle in the right hand corner – great goal! Great celebrations in front of a sizeable crowd.
Brading 2-1 Newport
Brading continued to be the better side and a well directed free kick by Dillon was half cleared and eventually the ball rebounded to Louie who couldn’t keep his shot down when Brading looked to finish off their slightly demoralised opponents.
The ref, who had a good game it must be said managed to find about 8 minutes of injury time from somewhere and it was back to the walls stuff as Newport threw everything at Brading. When a long free kick was flicked onto the cross bar we began to believe it might be our day and having a keeper like Corrie Hallett in goal who dealt so confidently with everything that was thrown at him – what a great game he had.
Eventually the final whistle blew and after several years of trying we eventually won the league!
All the players deserve a mention, Shay Phillipson playing with a broken toe for most of the game, Aston also deputising well at left back when required to do so. Dex Collins and Charlie Millward were superb at centre half against a very good Newport front line. They concentrated superbly the entire game. Harry Burton continued his good recent form at right back and in midfield Aaron Bennett played very well carrying an injury and James Turner and Zac Leverett both showed their versatility in playing well wherever they were asked to do so. Jonny Wheatley was his usual combative and skilful self in the centre of midfield.
Charlie Bligh never wasted possession and was a real threat on the left hand side, especially in the second half. Aidan Radford came back from an ankle knock late in the first half to have a great second half playing on the right hand side.
Dillon was always looking to create an opening and he glided his way through the second half showing what a good footballer he is. Up front Louie Fleming worked his socks off and ran the Newport defence ragged as the game went on.
Matt Archer after a month out with illness did not unfortunately make it on the pitch but it was to his credit he kept supporting the team and will fully deserve and have earned his league winners medal. Mention also to Bradley Meek who picked up an injury last week and missed today’s game.