Champion Jags close out league season with a 10 match winning streak
By Kierran Groom
…after a final day 4-1 win over Willen
Already crowned Champions, the Jags ended their league season with a home game against Willen. After last weekend’s title winning match - and against a team at the lower end of the table - there was palpably less tension and the game proved not to be a classic.
Full credit to Willen who, although not securing many results this season, certainly applied themselves with real energy and determination.
It was a lively start by the Jags though, with Henry and Dylan both shooting just wide and Harry cutting in from the wing to force the first of 3 early corners. Then a Leo free-kick dropping into the box, picked up by Seo who slipped to Harry, but again going just wide.
The first goal was feeling ever closer though. Dylan laid the ball on for Theo, whose placed shot hit the far post - followed by a fine Billy free-kick into the box which none of the Jags could quite get too.
The breakthrough finally came, midway through the first half - when, after some tricky twists and turns, Henry was upended in the box and penalty awarded. Defender Charlie D stepped up and very confidently drove the ball home for a 1-0 lead.
The first score secured, Newport sought to press home the advantage. Continued troublesome attacking runs from Harry, while Seo and Dylan combined well to get the ball from midfeld into the box, but ultimately blocked by a Willen defender and deflected away for a corner.
Then, from a very narrow angle on the right, Sonny launched the most awkward of crosses into the six yard box, dipping and swerving, the Willen keeper was at full stretch but could only tip Sonny’s ball back into the net. 2-0.
The determination shown by Willen belied their place in the league and, although the Newport goal was rarely threatened - Josh needing to make just one save - there was much scrapping for the ball in midfield. The seemingly quicker Jags drew a lot of fouls and, although most certainly clumsy rather than malicious, the official was watchful. The regular free-kicks did help keep the Jags on top - but, overall, the balance of Newport play probably tended a little too much towards dribbling and not enough passing.
The game closing out 2-0 at Half-Time, the feeling on the touchline was that it really should have been twice that score. There was then some momentary concern when Willen scored early in the second half, with a breakaway goal. Energised by that goal and with enthusiastic support from the coach’s side of the pitch, the visitors began to apply pressure to the Newport defence. Sam was certainly calm and in control, but kept very busy, with good support from a skilful Roman, assured Charlie D and a now returned Charlie H.
However, the two goal margin was soon restored, when Seo raced down the right wing and cut a looping ball over defenders to Henry, who controlled expertly and struck the ball decisively into the roof of the net. 3-1.
Theo then shot just wide and had a further good chance shortly thereafter, but was defeated when, just as he went to strike, the uneven pitch created a brutally unkind last minute bounce of the ball.
The three points were effectively secured when Billy confidently brought the ball out from the back, worked a nice interchange with Seo to reach Henry, who continued the momentum and in turn slipped to Leo, who made absolutely no mistake as he launched a really excellent left footed strike into the corner.
So, a 4-1 win that made it ten-in-a row for the Jags and saw them finish 6 points clear at the top of the league.
Joint Man of the Match went to Billy and Harry. Billy for his consistent great composure and skill at the back. Harry for his box to box work and energetic running at the opposition defence.
The Jags are to collect their well deserved League Title medals in June, by which time the tournament season will be underway - with the boys and their supporters look forward to some more great football and great times.