Mike Flynn has admitted that he was again left feeling frustrated after seeing his side concede more late goals in the 2-1 defeat to Barnet at Rodney Parade.
Three goals in the second-half followed a relatively low-key affair in the opening 45 minutes, with only one big chance created by either side, an opportunity that required Ben White to head a Dan Sweeney effort off the goal-line – the 7th time he has done that already this season for the Exiles.
And it looked like it was going to be a perfect night for White on a personal level when he scored his first professional goal with 17 minutes remaining.
Under the testing conditions at a sodden Rodney Parade, an otherwise routine cross from Frank Nouble caused ex-Exile Jamie Stephens some problems in the away goal.
He could only punch the delivery as far as White on the edge-of-the-area, who headed superbly into the bottom corner.
But after falling behind, the visitors responded well and turned the contest on it’s head in the final few minutes.
Substitute Jamal Campbell-Ryce was found in space on the left-hand side after several passing phases and picked out an inch perfect cross for John Akinde to head home the equaliser with two minutes to go.
And the away side completed the turn-around in the first additional minute of time added on.
It was a carbon-copy of the previous goal, only this time Shaquile Coulthirst was the man to head past Joe Day, in the process condemning County to a sixth league game without a win.
And it certainly played on Flynn’s mind post-match that the Exiles conceded goals in the final ten minutes for the third game in succession.
He affirmed: “I don’t think we were good enough really tonight anyway but again we’ve gone and blown a lead in the last ten minutes.
“We shot ourselves in the foot because if the players start to not listen to you in certain situations then you are going to get punished. That’s what happened tonight.”
Asked why County conceded identical goals to the Bees in the latter stages, Flynn thought it was uncharacteristic of his side to give away the goals.
He commented: “I’m not going to try and blind you with science, they didn’t listen.
“If people don’t listen, then you’re going to get more things wrong than you do right - and that’s just a fact in life.
“We do things for a reason and as much as we worked on our set-plays and one paid off Saturday, we knew what to expect tonight and we didn’t really rise to it.
“Free headers in the box, it was terrible.
“If you’d have seen my team-talk before the game, a few points were highlighted – game management and stop crosses.
“We didn’t do any of them really.”
It was a first win in 15 matches for the away side across all competitions, in what was Mark McGhee’s second game in charge of the London club.
And Flynn says it just goes to prove his point that anybody really can beat anybody in League Two.
“We’re Newport County and we have no divine right to beat anybody,” he stated.
“If you don’t take on the message that we give them, and the other players give each other also, it’s not all coming from us because the players are in on it as-well, then you won’t beat anybody.
“We drew with a team second in the table on Saturday and possibly should have won it. Now, we’ve lost to second from bottom.
“I said they had good players, I don’t just say it just to make people feel good about their selves, I know they have good players, knew what they were dangerous at and we didn’t cope with it tonight.”
It now means it is one win from eight games in all competitions for the Exiles, although Flynn is still pleased with their place in the table as things stand.
He commented “I’m not too worried because I’ve had a look at the League Two table and we’re 10th.
“I’m sure you’d be happy with that so I’m not worried, but I am concerned with the late goals that we ship in.
“If it happens three times in a row, then it’s no coincidence is it?
“You know, we’ve tried different scenarios. We’ve tried going for it and getting a second, we’ve tried shutting up shop and what it comes down to is a set of collective errors really.
“And it’s come during a time of the game where we were actually on top, so it’s silly. Shot ourselves in the foot if I’m honest.”
A positive on the night was that first goal in County colours for Ben White.
And Flynn thought it was a deserved reward for another superb display from the Brighton loanee, even if not the result he would have been looking for when he did score his first professional goal.
“It’s a distant memory now,” he stated.
“It’s a sad one now for him but look, he was solid again tonight and I’m just disappointed that we’ve lost the game.”
Captain Joss Labadie also made a welcome return for County, having been missing since the Colchester game last month with a hamstring injury.
And Flynn thought Labadie proved how vital he is to the side during his 33-minute stint as a second-half substitute.
“You saw it tonight, we look a different team with him in it,” he affirmed.
“He’s our captain and he’s our captain for a reason. We gave him some minutes and we’ll have to see how it settles down ready for Saturday.”
But while Mark O’Brien also recovered well enough to start, Flynn confirmed he picked up even more injuries from the game.
“It was a nightmare obviously,” he confirmed.
“Pipey has got a big lump on his cheekbone and couldn’t see out of his one eye.
“Robbie is concussed, delayed concussion I think. His head was bleeding and his nose was bleeding.
“But that’s not why we lost the game tonight – we lost it because of a collective group of errors and not listening to what we told them.”
The Exiles now have a few days to recover before heading to Swindon Town on Saturday.
And Flynn is anticipating another tough test in Wiltshire.
“They are all big teams,” he said.
“I’ve said this before – I don’t take anybody for granted, I don’t over-respect anybody, we do our due diligence on every team whether they are top of the league or bottom of the league.
“We cover everything we need to cover and then it’s the lap of the gods so it seems because we do switch off.”
But Flynn does think he will get a reaction from his players against a side that currently reside in 5th place in the League Two table, only five points ahead of the Exiles.
“They are a great group, I’m not going to come down harsh on them,” he added.
“We are where we are and the form table over the last ten games shows us as 10th and that’s exactly where we are.
“It’s where we are as a team at the moment and the sooner we realise that we need to cut out the errors to be higher than that then all the better because we’ll start climbing the table and winning football matches again.
“We’ve had a good run and we’ve got to raise it again now because we don’t want to go flat and go back to type and start struggling.
“I’m just hoping it’s a blip and we bounce back on Saturday.”
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