Newport miss chance to open a 10-point gap at the top
Newport Pagnell Town remain in pole position in the UCL Premier Division title race after this draw on Saturday against close rivals Deeping Rangers but were left to rue missed chances which went begging.
The 2-2 draw did little to affect Swans' position atop UCL Premier Division but an eight point lead could easily have been 10 had their first half chances been converted.
An eighth minute Harry Stratton cross from the right saw a glancing header from Jordan Spruce which flew wide of Richard Stainsby in the Rangers goal, and moments later a long distance drive from Deeping skipper David Burton-Jones was always rising as it sailed over the top.
Another ring wing cross from Stratton then saw Tom Liversedge fighting to get to the ball, as he got laces to the ball it was enough to take the flight away from Spruce who was waiting in the middle and he could only stab wide as he tried to reposition himself under pressure.
Newport continued to pose the bigger threat, and as another cross was headed clear by the Rangers defence, Josh Winters was waiting on the eighteen yard line but off the ground he chested the ball up and snatched at his shot which only helped it over the top.
On twenty-four minutes Town striker Fazel Koriya and Rangers full back Daniel Flack tussled for a loose ball inside the Deeping area, the Newport man did well to wrap his leg around the defender and get a shot away but only lifted the ball over the top, before Spruce tried a long range effort that never really had enough power to trouble Stainsby.
Then eleven minutes before the break the home side took the lead when a flick on saw Koriya in between the Deeping defence, Jonathan Clay & Flack gave chase but the pacey forward was too quick and as he approached the box he noted Stainsby off his line and superbly lifted over the stranded keeper and into the unguarded net.
Rangers almost threatened immediately when a clever pass from Burton-Jones set away Scott Mooney but Newport keeper Mark Osbourne was quick off his line to avert any danger. But a minute before the interval the away side drew level when a Newport move broke down in midfield, the ball knocked up to Mooney who looked no threat at all drifting slightly right of goal, but he flashed his shot past Osbourne and in.
Newport were caught cold from the whistle when just 21 seconds into the second half Deeping took the lead, Henry Dunn was fed inside the box by Scott Coupland and he made no mistake smashing past Osbourne.
That lead lasted just five minutes, a cross from the Town right saw Stainsby and Spruce compete for the ball on the six-yard line but both miss, the ball squeezed through a mass of bodies to Liversedge who controlled before crashing the ball back off the goal frame, a hasty clearance only saw the ball knocked back into Liversedge with back to goal who was floored by a challenge from Flack and the referee pointed to the spot.
Koriya sent Stainsby the wrong way from the spot kick and again the game was level. Both sides had chances to win the game from that point in a much fairer contested remainder, both trying to win the game but also defending well enough not to lose.
A Deeping cross from their right saw centre-half Luke Hunnings climb highest to thump a header over Osbourne’s crossbar. The closest the game came to a winner was nine minutes from time when a free kick to the visitor’s way out on their left saw the cross sent in by Daniel Schiavi and almost deceive everyone including Osbourne who had to back pedal and tip over his crossbar.
With neither side really wanting the draw, both defences stood strong and saw the game out and a point apiece didn’t make any difference to the league table as Wisbech & Holbeach drew their respective games whilst Leicester Nirvana was called off meaning Newport ended the day retaining their eight point lead at the top.