Mike Flynn says he was left pleased by the overall performance from his Newport County AFC squad in the 0-0 draw away at Port Vale but was left frustrated by the failure to convert any of the chances created at Vale Park.
An uninspiring first-half saw both sides create just the one solitary opportunity.
Mark O’Brien volleyed high over the crossbar when found in the area from a Mickey Demetriou header, while Valiant midfielder Michael Tonge saw his 20-yard effort cannon back off the post.
But the Exiles came out much better in the second-half and had several chances to take all three points from their trip to Stoke-On-Trent.
Padraig Amond forced a good save from home goalkeeper Ryan Boot with a shot on the angle before the hour mark had elapsed in the game, while also seeing a towering header narrowly go the wrong side of the far post.
Boot produced another smart save to deny Frank Nouble’s volleyed effort, with O’Brien only denied on the rebound from 20-yards by a reactive block from Vale striker Tom Pope.
With ten minutes to go substitute Shawn McCoulsky also came close to finding a winner, although he could only curl wide of the far post when found unmarked 10 yards out.
That meant the Exiles had to settle for a second successive nil-nil draw following the stalemate with Notts County last weekend, but Flynn was pleased with the supremacy that the Exiles were able to assert onto the proceedings away from home.
“I thought we controlled the majority of the game,” he affirmed.
“We had enough clear-cut chances to win two games and it’s just what has cost us all season – not killing teams off.
“I’ll never point the finger at any individual, but we missed a couple of good chances today.
“We looked much better going forward today and we should have won the game.”
The goalless draw ensured that County secured a second successive clean-sheet for the first time since early December.
The Exiles have only kept back-to-back clean-sheets on three occasions this season and Flynn was pleased to see his team restrict the home side to very limited opportunities during the game.
He stated: “It’s a lot better performance than we have had – not last weekend as much but before that.
“We’ve come away, got another clean sheet and dominated a game away from home really.
“We just needed to score. If we would have scored today, then we would have won the game.
“I know that’s easy to say because it finished 0-0 but I couldn’t see them scoring and instead it’s a little bit frustrating that we haven’t killed them off.
“I think you saw today that we were creating the chances, but we just didn’t finish them off.”
The best chance created by the Exiles at Vale Park arguably came through McCoulsky’s late opportunity.
But Flynn refused to attribute any sort of blame onto his striker, preferring to compliment his instincts of getting into space, as it had originally looked like the referee would award County a free-kick instead of playing on.
“At least he was in the right place,” he commented.
“I’m not going to dig the lad out, he’s a little bit down in there I have to be honest, but I’ve just told him I will never have a go at somebody for missing a chance.
“It’s when they don’t work hard, and they don’t apply themselves is what I can’t handle but everybody gave a shift for the club today.”
The draw lifts the Exiles up a place in the table to 13th, although the gap on the play-off positions increased to nine points following wins for the likes of Exeter City, Notts County and Accrington Stanley.
Following playing the first three league games away from home, the Exiles now face the prospect of playing two-thirds of the remaining fixtures at Rodney Parade.
And Flynn feels that fact can give the side some cause for optimism as they head into the final 12 games of the campaign.
“It is what it is,” he said.
“I told you it’s game by game now. We have a big swing now – eight at home and four away.
“Draw away and win at home then it will be an unbelievable run and we won’t be far off.
“Let’s just take it game by game, we’ve got a tough game next weekend against Accrington and I’ll be looking for us to score a few goals.”
County picked up their 48th point of the season at Vale Park – matching their points tally from the entirety of last season and already eclipsing the season before.
And Flynn admits he has been pleased with the turnaround that has revolutionised the fortunes of the club this season.
He continued: “Got the same points now as the whole of last season with 12 games to go.
“I don’t think it’s been a bad turnaround.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m a little bit frustrated because we were in a great position, it’s faltered a little bit, but there have been huge improvements on and off the field.”
During last season’s infamous ‘Great Escape,’ County won seven of their final 12 fixtures alongside one draw and four defeats.
The Exiles are accustomed to clawing back big margins with little time in which to do it, having been 11 points adrift of safety when Flynn took charge of the club last March.
And Flynn believes another run similar to that of last season could see the club finish the campaign in an extremely strong position.
“Yeah we will, it will need to be something similar," he admitted.
“I’m not going to dress it up, but what we did last season was take it game by game.
“When we lost 6-1 at Plymouth and picked up just one point out of nine in the first couple against Blackpool, Luton and Portsmouth we took it game by game.
“We went on a poor run then and we still got out of it. I’m hoping that our poor run is behind us now and we can go on a good run and finish the season really well.”
NEXT UP| We face ACCRINGTON STANLEY at Home. Get Your Tickets Today.
AFTER THAT| It's a mid-week clash with FOREST GREEN ROVERS on 6th March. Join us at Rodney Parade.
NEXT UP ON THE ROAD| A short hop to YEOVIL awaits on the 10th March. Join us at Huish Park.