Newman treble seals Cup Final berth for Internet ‘Orns

Watford Internet FC reached the final of the Covid-delayed 2019/20 South East Cup with a spirited come-from-behind 3-1 victory at AFC Wimbledon.

Teenager Alex Newman will rightly take the lion’s share of the headlines with a second-half hat-trick which saw the Hornets recover from the set-back of going a goal down on the hour after a goalless and somewhat attritional first 45 minutes – albeit goalkeeper Matt Mesiano having to make two fine stops.

Newman wasn’t alone in his second-half heroics, however, with centre-half Ben Bateman turning in a particularly impressive display against a barrage of free-kicks and long throws launched into Watford’s box on an uneven Raynes Park pitch which proved tricky going for both sides.

A masterful tactical switch from manager Richard Walker saw the Hornets deploy the pace of Cleveland Brandy as sweeper as well as pushing the livewire Newman up alongside first Ally Hill and then stand-in striker Tom Anderson.

Wimbledon struck first with a fierce cross-shot, and they were ahead until the 72nd minute when Newman raced clear, rounded the goalie and coolly slotted home from a diminishing angle. This was evidence of the visitors taking the aerial route after the break, preferring to avoid the pitfalls of trying to play through the thirds. 

Cleveland Brandy – whose cousin Tyrone Brandy made an impressive debut at right-back – picked out Newman for the first and then, with eight minutes to go and penalties looming, Hill flicked on for Newman to slot home.

It was 3-1 and game over in injury-time when Newman was felled for a penalty which he eventually took himself; despite the best efforts to grab the ball of Lamar St-Cyr whose 50-yard run from the left flank sought to deny the youngster his treble.

So an evenly-matched and good-spirited contest finally went the way of the Hornets, who go through to meet long-time rivals and friends West Ham IFC in a final yet to be arranged.

Hornets: Mesiano; T Brandy, Bateman, D Sitkowski, St-Cyr; Anderson, Moss (c), T Labbett; C Brandy, Hill, A Newman.Sub used: Kelly. Sub not used: P Labbett.

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