Exiles captain Joss Labadie fired in a dramatic 93rd minute winner to ensure the side took all three points from Cambridge United in a 2-1 victory at the Abbey Stadium.
Shawn McCoulsky opened the scoring for County during the game, with a smart reaction finish after David Forde had saved the initial Labadie attempt.
But Jevani Brown equalised with 14 minutes left to play to set up a tense finale in Cambridge, only for Labadie to have the final say with the last kick of the game.
Forde had done well to save a Matty Dolan delivery that evaded everyone in the box, as the ball ricocheted back off Labadie’s right-knee and into the back of the net in-front of the 143 travelling fans.
It was the third time the County captain had scored against the U’s in just 13 days, as he scored both of the goals in the Emirates FA Cup clash at Rodney Parade two weeks ago.
Those goals make up half of his tally for the campaign, as further strikes against Leeds United, Yeovil Town and Luton Town mean Labadie is on six goals already this campaign.
Post-match, he spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about the dramatic stoppage time winner, Shawn McCoulsky reaching 10 goals for the campaign and preparing to welcome play-off contenders Lincoln City to Rodney Parade on Saturday.
On the Cambridge United game…
“It wasn’t the greatest of games to be fair.
“For me, it was arguably the worst that we have been this season, but it just shows the resilience that we have in the team to win the game.
“I’d rather play bad and still take three points every week rather than playing well and losing obviously.
“It’s nice to play well and win but if you can’t then the next best thing is to win when playing bad.
“That’s what we did today, and it just shows the team spirit in the group and how far we have come. We stuck in there and managed to win it at the end.”
On his last-gasp winner…
“It was a total shock!
“It was a great ball in from Matty Dolan to be fair. I don’t really know what’s happened, I’ve tried to follow it in and luckily, it’s come off my right knee.
“We haven’t had a last-minute winner in a little while, so it is a really good feeling.
“It makes it a little bit sweeter because there was only five seconds left in the game for them to kick-off. So it is a bit sweeter.
“But it doesn’t really matter when the goal comes. The main thing is that we hung in there and we’ve done well to get the three points today.”
On Shawn McCoulsky’s 10th goal of the campaign…
“I’m really proud of him.
“He’s a poacher and he’s always in and around it in the box. Always on his toes and that’s the signs of a quality striker. Hopefully he can bag a few more.”
On the goal conceded by the Exiles…
“I don’t like to use the term lucky, but I think Benno has made a tackle, it’s bounced off his shin and fell to the player.
“It’s a great finish so fair play to the lad for it but that only made us show our team spirit again, our heads didn’t go down after the goal and we’ve managed to get the three points.”
On the progress of the club this season…
“All we can do is take each game as it comes. As long as we’re doing our job then that’s all that matters really.
“But I’m really pleased with the start.
“I think everyone at the club, fans, staff, players are all happy. If you said to us at the start of the season that by Christmas we’d be where we are now, then I think most of us would have snatched your hand off for that.”
On Lincoln City’s visit to Rodney Parade on Saturday…
“It’s just another game.
“We will prepare as we always prepare, and we fancy our chances against anyone.
“No-one will be relishing the chance of facing us now I’m sure.
“We’ve faced most of the teams around us now and it doesn’t really faze us. We’re a good team, a force to be reckoned with and I think teams will be fearing us from now on.”