Walton and Hersham 2 Newport County 3

THIS twice-postponed FA Umbro Trophy tie, not without its controversy, saw a late Steve Cowe winner put Tim Harris' FA Cup heroes through to a January 12 visit to Walton's near neighbours Hampton and Richmond.

A dubious goal for the home side, County's manager being ordered from the dugout, and the late departure, on a stretcher, of Darren Robison were all ingredients in a match that kept a small crowd guessing as to its final outcome.

Despite conditions that made good passing impossible, County dominated the opening half hour with two efforts each from Cowe and Billy Clark, the latter seeing one header superbly pushed over by goalkeeper Luke Garrard.

The first heated discussions came after 32 minutes when a clearly offside Bas Savage was allowed to continue his run and beat Pat Mountain to give Walton the lead much against the flow of play.

Thankfully, County struck twice to turn the scoreline around, crucially timed goals seconds either side of half time doing the trick.

A challenge on Darren Ryan went unpunished but the ball broke to Cowe, whose curling shot came back off the crossbar for Martin Paul to nod home the rebound.

County immediately profited at the restart with skipper Robison hoisting a high cross that Chris Whelan had the misfortune to head past his own goalkeeper.

Three minutes later, a Martin Paul shot was blocked on the Walton line only for County to then allow Scott Edgar a run on goal at the other end, a chance he despatched with some panache to bring the home side level.

Cowe then fired wide from seven yards before the assistant referee, who was badly at fault for Walton's first goal, drew referee Comley's attention to the County bench.

The discussions ended with manager Harris banished to the sidelines and his first longer distance view was that of a Martin Paul "goal" being ruled out by another "offside" decision by everyone's favourite match official.

However, County kept their cool and were rewarded with the winner just a minute from time. Robison's free kick was headed back across goal by Clark and Cowe swooped to guide another header past Garrard.

The game ended on a sour note with Robison suffering ligament damage in a challenge by an opponent who went unpunished, a melee then developing involving a number of players from each side with both Stuart James and Darren Ryan being booked.