Mike Flynn couldn’t contain his pride towards his Newport County AFC players for seizing the initiative in the battle for the League Two play-offs with a 3-1 home victory over Bury FC.
After the comprehensive defeat against Grimsby Town at the start of February, County were sent into 14th position and ten points away from the play-off positions.
Now, 14 points from the last 18 has put them just two points away from Exeter City in 7th position and the Exiles also have a game in hand over the Grecians.
The points were secured at Rodney Parade by a truly magnificent performance all the way from the defence to attack as the Exiles continued their recent good form with a win over a side chasing an automatic promotion place.
Mickey Demetriou opened the scoring early on into the contest with a powerful header, Nicky Maynard equalised within 60 seconds, before Jamille Matt restored the advantage all inside the opening 14 minutes of a pulsating fixture.
There’s just something about Demetriou and scoring goals in April – just look at the Great Escape season – and he confirmed the result with an emphatic half-volley with just over a quarter of an hour to play.
Flynn affirmed: “Listen, this is an important three points and all that’s done now is basically put the ball in our court. If we win our last four games, we’re guaranteed a play-off place.
“It’s a huge credit to the players for even getting this close. They are an outstanding group and again we’ve had some forced changes. I just hope they are okay for Monday.
“I’m not getting carried away, but the shoe is on the other foot now.
“We’re in pole position and I know the players will be able to cope with the pressure that brings. We’ve got to go out and prove it.”
When it’s such a solid performance throughout the whole side, it’s difficult to single out players for individual praise.
Demetriou and Matt will rightfully take some of the plaudits for their goals, but Scot Bennett was unbelievable in sticking to Bury FC talisman Danny Mayor like glue and thwarting him from having any impetus on the game.
“They were outstanding from start to finish,” Flynn continued.
“Bury FC’s goal was a touch fortunate in that our players played them onside from touching the ball.
“We showed the character to go and get the other one straightaway and the last goal killed it.
“What we are is a team. I’ve spoken to the players in the dressing room, they know what I think, and to a man every single one of them was excellent.
“If we’re going to do this, we’re going to have to do this together.
“We’ll worry about individuals at the end of the season.”
Fortunately for the Exiles, any potential injuries picked up by Matt or Matty Dolan appear to be minor and not a danger of the pair missing any of the remaining fixtures.
Flynn confirmed: “Jamma is struggling so we’ll have to see how he responds to treatment over the next couple of days and we’ll go from there.
“It was more cramp with Matty. He’s been out for a while, but it was important that he got 67 minutes or around that in the bank.
“It only holds us in good stead, the boys will have a lot of confidence after this result because Bury FC are a very good team.”
It’s now four ‘cup finals’ for the Exiles and a maximum haul of 12 points will secure that play-off berth.
Macclesfield Town are the next side to stand in the way of the Exiles when the side travel to the Moss Rose on Easter Monday.
Flynn added: "Four games to go, over the moon with this result, but we have to push on now and get a result against Macclesfield Town on Monday.
“We’ll do our homework now on Macclesfield and we’ll see what the best way is which we think we can beat them.
“It’ll be good to see Sol Campbell. He’s done a very good job since taking charge.”
NEXT UP | County make the trip to Cheshire on Easter Monday to take on Macclesfield Town. Buy tickets here.
ON PARADE | The Exiles welcome the only side to have so far secured promotion from League Two when Lincoln City head to Rodney Parade on April 27th. Tickets are available now from the ticket office.