NEWPORT County picked up their first trophy of the 2012/13 season with a 3-0 win at Evesham United on Saturday.
County eased to victory in their third pre-season friendly and afterwards lifted the Carl Lewis Memorial Trophy.
The match was organised in memory of Exiles fan Lewis, who died three years ago aged 48.
Known as ‘Mr Newport’, he was the brother-in-law of Evesham committee member Morris Allan and it is hoped that the fixture could be played annually.
And while it may not be the major trophy that Justin Edinburgh and his side are aiming to win in the forthcoming season, it may just be a good omen for the campaign ahead.
Goals from Jake Harris, Andy Sandell and Jefferson Louis saw the Exiles brush aside their limited Southern League opponents but the signs were there that the fans could be in for some entertaining football this season.
This early in pre-season it’s mostly about getting the players fit and the likes of Harris and Danny Crow have some way to go on this evidence.
But it was clear that Edinburgh’s stated desire to introduce a more flowing passing game is having a positive effect.
Jake Thomson and trialist Kerry Morgan impressed with their movement and link-up play, even if the final ball was sometimes lacking.
Lee Minshull showed another string to his bow with an assured, if largely untroubled, display in central defence.
Likewise Joe Perry, the son of ex-County and Cardiff City star Jason, was solid in goal.
But the most encouraging performance came from left-back Sandell, who capped a superb defensive display with a wonderful goal from a looping 35-yard free kick.
Edinburgh was pleased with the display, especially his side’s passing on the new pitch at the Spiers & Hartwell Jubilee Stadium.
“We’re trying to ingrain a change of our style of play and I thought we passed the ball very well on a difficult surface and I was pleased with a lot of the performances,” he said.
“First and foremost right now fitness is key. We’ve got to get the work into the players’ legs so that we remain strong throughout the season.
“Obviously you want the quality out of the games as well. I think it’s going to be a work in progress with so many new players in the squad.
“They are learning how to play with each other but certainly I think we are passing the ball better than we were last year.
“Obviously we’ll have the playing surface to do that at the new stadium this year. It won’t happen instantly but we’re trying to integrate that into our game in training and in the friendlies.”
County are next in action at Carmarthen Town on Saturday and Edinburgh is looking forward to getting back on the training pitch today, where he will continue to assess the trialists.
“We have another free week now with a game at the end of it and that was the plan initially so we could have the time on the training ground before the games come thick and fast,” he explained.
“I thought young Joe Perry did well and certainly did himself no harm as we look to secure someone to come in as a number two to push Alan Julian.
“Kerry Morgan did well too. I’ve known Kerry from when I played against him.
“He’s very industrious and I know he did very well when he was here previously. He’s given me food for thought, like all the trialists.”
Edinburgh reserved special praise for substitute Louis, who latched onto Crow’s pass to fire past Evesham goalkeeper Dean Coleman and seal the win on 73 minutes.
“I was delighted for Jeff,” he said. “He’s missed quite a bit of training but he’s come back and he wanted to play so we gave him some minutes.
“He showed his quality with the link-up play with Crow and a great finish. We’ll build him up this week ready for the next game.”
Evesham: Coleman, Wilson, Robinson, Hyde, Connor, Rhodes, Wellings, McKenzie, Corbett, Tulloch, Palmer.
Subs: Osbourne, Eze, Ardallany, Pugh, Agbor, Jones.
County: Perry, Pipe (Cooper, 69), Sandell, Hughes, Minshull (Roden, 65), Porter, Thomson, Evans (Gwynne, 73), Morgan (Fielden, 65), Crow (Hutson, 82), Harris (Louis, 60).
Subs not used: Swan, Jones.