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Under-18s Report | Newport County 2 Argyle 1

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Argyle’s Under-18s suffered defeat to Newport County in the Youth Alliance League on Saturday morning.

Kieran Edworthy scored the Young Greens only goal of the game midway through the first half, but this was swiftly cancelled out when Noah Preston-Watkins equalised seven minutes later. The hosts scored a winner in the 90th minute through Moses Alexander-Walker to secure victory.

Jamie Lowry made five changes to the starting line-up that was victorious against Cheltenham Town last week in the Youth Alliance Cup. Harry Shield, Fin Wilkes, Jack Matthews, Cole Gibbings and Freddie Issaka came out of the team and were replaced by Sam Lord, Jensen Ireland, Joel Sullivan, Cole Fisher and Kieran Edworthy.

Issaka’s absence was because of his inclusion in Wales Under-19’s squad for their Euro qualifying games whereas Matthews missed out due to suspension.

Both teams took time to grow into the game with neither creating much in the way of chances in the first 20 minutes.

Edworthy had the opportunity to open the scoring when a clever flick inside the penalty area by Joe Hatch found his strike partner free on the back post, but Edworthy’s volley whistled the wrong side of the upright.  

Argyle took the lead in the 31st minute after some quick thinking from Ireland at a free-kick meant Hatch had the ball on the edge of the box before Newport could react.

He pivoted brilliantly and played a pinpoint ball through the Exiles defence to Edworthy who was one-on-one. His first effort on goal was well saved by Bailey Hopkins but it would be Edworthy who reacted quickest and turned home the rebound, giving his side the lead.

Not long after going behind, Newport got themselves back into the game when they equalised through Preston-Watkins. The hosts worked the ball down the left flank before finding the forward inside the penalty area. He did well to beat his man and fire the ball past Dan Holman and into the back of the net.

The score was 1-1 at the interval; neither side could have had too many complaints.

Argyle started the second half well creating a few chances early on. The most notable came when excellent pressing allowed Bernard to rob Harrison Page on the edge of the box. With the goal at his mercy, he was unable to find the target, a big opportunity missed.

Both teams continued to plug away at each other with the defences on top, not allowing either team’s attackers much space to carve out chances.

Bernard came close once again to putting the Pilgrims ahead on 82 minutes. Fisher and Finn combined well on the left allowing Argyle to progress into the opposition box. The latter slid in Bernard who struck the ball first-time, his effort curling just wide of the post.

Newport scored a winner in the last minute of normal time through substitute Alexander-Walker. The hosts countered after an Argyle attack, probing down the right before finding Alexander-Walker in the middle. He was in position to turn the ball past Holman from close range and secure the win for the South Wales outfit.

The game ended 2-1 and marked the end of the Young Greens’ sensational seven-game winning run.

Lowry’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways next weekend when they are back in action in the PDL Cup, against Cardiff.

Argyle: Dan Holman, Lewis Colwell, Sam Lord, Caleb Roberts, Jensen Ireland, Joel Sullivan, Cole Fisher, Josh Bernard, Joe Hatch (Kian Burch 83), Kieran Edworthy, Tegan Finn. Substitutes not used: Toby Haley, Oscar Dean, Malachi Davey, Jack Flower.

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