Newport County 2 Aberbargoed Buds 1
NEWPORT County swapped Wembley for Risca United’s Ty Isaf Park as they wrapped up their season by lifting the Gwent Senior Cup for the 28th time.
The win over MacWhirter Welsh League Division Two side Aberbargoed Buds was scant consolation for the defeat to York City in the FA Trophy final but it at least meant the Exiles had some silverware to show for their efforts this season.
Player-coach Wayne Hatswell, who is likely to hang up his boots this week, led out a team made up of mainly youth team players with first team striker Jake Harris also getting a run out.
It was forgotten man Felino Jardim, signed last summer by Anthony Hudson, who put County in front just before the break after Harris had been set free by young midfielder Dan Compton.
Harris, one of only six players signed up for Justin Edinburgh’s 2012-13 squad, squared for Dutch winger Jardim, who is also contracted, to neatly sidestep one defender and fire past Buds goalkeeper Asa Kirkwood.
Aberbargoed should have been ahead as early as the 10th minute when Mathew Swan, currently the only goalkeeper on the County books, brought down Stephen Edwards in the box.
Referee Steven Williams should have shown Swan a red card but failed even to produce a yellow and the young stopper stayed on the pitch to save the penalty from Andrew Hughes with his legs.
The Buds front pairing of Tony Rees and Chris Jones caused Hatswell and Co plenty of anxious moments at the back and Swan saved well from Daffyd Brewer.
But County always had the upper hand once they settled into the contest.
On his farewell performance Troy Greening hit the bar before the break and Harris put County 2-0 up with a sweet strike on the hour. Chris Jones got a deserved goal 15 minutes from time to give Aberbargoed hope but County held on to win the cup.
County: Swan, Harmer, Morgan, Thomas, Hatswell, Greening, Compton, Patten, Harris, Jardim, Jones.
Subs: Cole, Gibson, Bansell, Phillips, Daniel Reid.
Buds: Kirkwood, M.Jones, J.Edwards, N.Edwards, A’Hearne, Hughes, S.Edwards, Brewer, Antoniazzi, Rees, C.Jones.
Subs: D.Jones, Corrigan-Davies, Maisey, Evans.
Referee: Steven Williams Argus star man: Jake Harris