Manager Mike Flynn says there are many positives to take from the draw at Stevenage yesterday, after seeing his side grab a late equaliser at the Lamex Stadium.
Striker Frank Nouble cancelled out Tom Pett’s opener for the home-side, before Stevenage looked to pull away with a penalty from Dale Gorman and a third from Danny Newton.
But in scenes reminiscent of the back-end of last season, County fought back to seal another great comeback.
Mickey Demetriou scored a goal which is surely an early contender for "Goal of the Season" with a thunderbolt from 30 yards to get the Exiles back in it on 82 minutes, before striker Shawn McCoulsky scored on his Football League debut deep into added time to make sure County deservedly took something from the game.
And Flynn noted the battling-belief of his player’s post-match.
“The boys have shown great character,” he said.
“They’ve got a togetherness about them and that clearly showed with us getting the point.
“It’s a massive positive – we were 3-1 down with eight minutes to go and we’ve drawn the game. We scored some great goals today which is pleasing and the fightback and belief from the players was outstanding.”
But despite the resilience shown, Flynn says there are things he wants the players to improve upon going forward.
He added: “I’ll be honest and say I’m very disappointed we haven’t got all three points. I thought we were by far the better team after a poor start.
“Let’s be honest, we’ve gifted two goals today. The boys showed the fighting spirit to get a draw from a game which for a time looked like we might unfortunately lose.
“I’ve just told the boys I thought we started a bit apprehensively. I picked an attacking team today because I really wanted to get at them and I believe in how good we are going forward.
“We can’t dwell on today, we take the positives, work on the things we need to change and go from there.”
Mickey Demetriou’s goal meant the 27-year-old centre-half continued his fine goal-scoring run from last season.
Demetriou scored four goals in the final seven games of County’s infamous ‘Great Escape,’ with Nouble and McCoulsky scoring on their Exiles debut.
And Flynn was pleased with the performances of all three post-match.
“Mickey has scored an absolute thunderbolt,” he commented.
“I kept saying to Frank that he had to keep believing and keep going. I said Frank you will get another opportunity and he took it really well.
“Shawn is a raw talent and he scores goals. He’s worked really hard so I brought him on, he had some nice touches and I’m really pleased for him to get his first goal in the Football League.”
Robbie Willmott also came into the team for his second Newport County debut, playing at right-back instead of David Pipe.
Flynn said: “That was the hardest decision for me to make and I wasn’t really sure about it all day.
“We identified their weaknesses and wanted to attack them. Robbie was a little apprehensive in the first-half but I thought in the second half he was brilliant.
“We’ve got a great group of lads. A great ending and it sets us up positively for Tuesday now.”
On Tuesday, Flynn takes the side to Roots Hall to face Southend United in the Carabao Cup.
Since returning to the Football League, County have only progressed past the First Round of the competition once, but Flynn wants to put that right this time around.
“I want to progress and do well in everything,” he added.
“There will be a couple of changes for the game, our attention has already turned towards it and we’ll sort out the changes tomorrow and Monday.”
Two players who will not be considered for selection are Marlon Jackson and Ben Tozer, with Flynn saying the game will come too early for the pair to return from injury.
He said: “No they are not ready. Tuesday is too early and next weekend will probably be too early as-well so we’ll wait and see.
“The positive is there were no further injuries today, Joss Labadie looked a little jaded so I took the decision to bring him off but I thought he was outstanding. He worked tirelessly but I just felt we needed a fresh pair of legs and fortunately it paid off.”
Flynn took some academy players with him for the opening fixture of the season.
And while they did not make the bench, Flynn wants them to learn from being involved with the first-team.
Flynn continued: “I’ve done it all pre-season so I can definitely blend in some youth-players.
“Momodou Touray was suspended for the academy today so I thought it was more beneficial for him to come with us and get the experience of being around the first-team.
“Lewis Collins and Jay Foulston nearly got on the bench if I’m honest so it’s encouraging for this team.”
The Exiles now look ahead to their Carabao Cup Fixture
vs Southend United.
Credit TGS Photos for the picture.