In a see-saw match Newport snatched victory at the death. Winger Elliot Frewen ran in with a well worked try for Scott Sneddon to convert on 80+3 mins but the drama didn't end there as at 80+8 mins Craig Evans had a chance to snatch a draw with a penalty. To the relief of the supporters of the Black & Ambers he missed and referee Neil Hennessy finally blew up after 10 min added time in the 2nd half.
Early Newport pressure came to nothing and usually reliable Aberavon place kicker Jamie Davies missed a penalty on 11 mins and Scott Sneddon put the visitors ahead on 20 mins. Newport had much of the play and elusive winger Elliot Frewen scored a nice try on 27 mins. Sneddon's conversion put the visitors 13-0 ahead. Newport then appeared to lose their way and dangerous full-back Jonathan Phillips raced over for a try on 35 mins but Davies again missed the kick. Newport centre Alan Awcock was yellow carded for dangerous use of the boot on 39 mins and then Wizards and Ospreys centre Ben John scored and Davies this time converted and so Newport went in at HT only 13-12 up in a half that they pretty much dominated.
Things got worse for the visitors in the 2nd half as Davies slotted over a 1st minute penalty for the Wizards to take a 15-13 lead. Sneddon got the lead back with a penalty on 47 mins. The Wizards were now much more in the game and scrum-half David Pritchard evaded tacklers to score on 49 mins but again Davies missed the kick. There were no further scores until Frewen's dramatic injury time try and Newport held out for their first win at Talbot Athletic Grounds since Oct 2009 when they won 27-20. It was a game that could have gone either way and Aberavon may now be regretting not taking an easy penalty when 20-16 up.
Newport head coach Sven Cronk was full of praise for his team which included 12 players making their official debuts. He said that Newport's defence in the 2nd half effectively won his team the game. This was a game he felt that Newport would perhaps not have won last season whereas this time they showed tremendous character to hang on and come back.
Newport Man of match : Scott Sneddon.
Photos courtesy of Chas Awcock :