Mike Flynn says he was “delighted” with the team’s performance at Southend United yesterday, after seeing the team book their place in the Second Round of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 victory.
Striker Shawn McCoulsky continued his dream start at the club, scoring both goals, to take his tally to three goals from just two games since joining the club on loan from Bristol City.
The first of his goals came in the 52nd minute, when Lamar Reynolds expertly knocked the ball past the goalkeeper, with McCoulsky out-pacing Southend defender Rob Kiernan to tap-home.
His second came just seven minutes later, this time calmly finishing past a helpless Ted Smith in the home-goal, after Tom Owen-Evans had burst into the area and played the ball across.
The Shrimpers threw on a few more experienced players to try to salvage the game, but the County defence held firm to see out the game with relative ease.
That means County will be in Thursday’s draw for the Second Round. The draw sees the continuation of the seeded/non-seeded sections. County will be unseeded, with the confirmation of what clubs are seeded due to be announced after the completion of the first-round ties.
And Flynn took many positives from the Exiles’ victory.
“I’m really delighted and pleased to get through to the next round,” he said.
“I thought the boys were outstanding from start to finish. It’s always nice when the opposition manager comes up to you and says ‘well deserved’ so that goes to show the boys were outstanding tonight.”
As was the manner of victory, Flynn heaped praise on every player post-match.
He said: “Both Tom Owen-Evans and Ben White were excellent, as was Robbie Willmott. Lamar was dangerous at times, Shawn got his goals, Frank came on and was brilliant.
“Labadie was brilliant when he came on, Pipey was solid, Mickey was very good, Joe Day solid, Butler solid and Matty Dolan just kept going and going.
“It was a really impressive night to be honest, but also one that I won’t be getting too carried away with that’s for sure.”
Goal scorer McCoulsky did get further praise, however.
Flynn continued: “He should have scored the header in the first-half but it just goes to show that he’s got the character to keep getting in the right places and he’s scored three in two now so I’m really pleased for him.
“It’s a long season, he’s had a good start and it’s about him keeping going for the time he’s here to impress us and his parent club Bristol City.
“By the way, they were brilliant in helping us get him here, and I thank them for that.”
Flynn elected to make four changes to the side that drew with Stevenage on Saturday. That saw David Pipe return to the defence, Ben White joined him to make his Exiles debut, with McCoulsky and Owen-Evans the other returning players.
And Flynn was pleased with his team-selection.
He added: “I love football and I respect every competition we are in. Some players needed a break, some needed a game to get their sharpness up and I’ll always do what is best for Newport County and that’s what I did today.
“There were a couple of fringe players that came in tonight and put a stamp down for Saturday.
“I’m taking it as a massive positive because I want to have to make tough team selections, I want to have those dilemmas because you don’t want a team that almost picks itself. That allows complacency and we don’t need that at this football club.”
The only slight worry from an otherwise perfect night was the injury sustained by Scot Bennett.
And while Flynn confirmed his substitution was only a precautionary measure, he was unsure as to his availability for the weekend.
“He had a knock very early on to be fair to him but he carried on,” he said.
“I’m all about limiting injuries and it was a precaution to take him off so we’ll have to see how it has settled tomorrow.
“Still too early for Marlon and Ben to return at the weekend so hopefully it’s just those two missing,”
The performance sets the team up for a return to Football League action on the weekend, when they face Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road, the place where it all started for Flynn as manager just five months ago.
And Flynn is excited at the prospect of another difficult challenge.
“Crewe were here, I saw their manager and I’m sure they’ll be going back with a lot of positives from us.
“It’s all about momentum and we want to keep it going all season if I’m honest.
“I’ll be honest and say we will have up’s and down’s throughout the season and it’s about making sure we have more up’s throughout the season.
“For me, I’m starting to feel that the good times might be back for the football club.”
The draw for the Second Round of the Carabao Cup takes place on Thursday live on Sky Sports News following the completion of the Bury vs Sunderland game.
All ties will be played the week commencing August 21st.