Mike Flynn says Saturday’s victory at Cambridge United was a ‘near perfect’ away performance as Newport County AFC kept the pressure on the play-offs with a 3-0 success at The Abbey Stadium.
County had failed to score in the previous two stalemates with Tranmere Rovers and Swindon Town but quickly put that right inside four minutes when Padraig Amond powered home a pinpoint Robbie Willmott delivery.
The advantage was doubled on 34 minutes as the Exiles again profited from a perfectly-constructed corner-kick tactic designed by assistant manager Wayne Hatswell.
Dan Butler peeled away from the cluster in the centre to meet Willmott’s cross unmarked at the far post, he turned back inside before firing through a shot which Jamille Matt deflected into the net.
Into the second-half and Cambridge started to show more attacking intent but found the unmoveable mountain Joe Day in their way, the shot stopper first denying Rushian Hepburn-Murphy then Brad Halliday’s long-range thunderbolt.
They just couldn’t find a way through County, however, who made the scoreline more convincing late on when Harry McKirdy slotted home with his first touch having only been introduced into proceedings 30 seconds previous.
All three points meant it was a sixth successive victory over Cambridge United in all competitions with the Exiles winning 11-3 across the three contests this campaign.
“We could have had a few more goals as well,” Flynn affirmed.
“I thought they should have scored two if I’m being totally honest so it should have been 6-2.
“On their day, Cambridge are a very good team. They’ve just recently gone to Bury FC and won 3-0.
“But the boys defended excellently, and it shows what we’re about. We don’t give up; we keep going and it’s one goal conceded in five home and away.
“We knew this was a tough game so I’m over the moon. The boys were fantastic, and it was a near perfect away performance. It was brilliant.”
Goals for both Amond and Matt meant they reached 40 goals for the campaign as a partnership – Amond leading the way with 22 goals and Matt on 18.
Flynn remarked: “I think it’s amazing. It’s a credit to both of them – Podge has been fantastic for us from minute one since he signed.
“I haven’t got enough nice things to say about them because they’re a credit to this football club.
“They’ve been outstanding. Jamille Matt especially has been struggling all week and he was struggling after 20 minutes again.
“But I just couldn’t take him off. I called him over and I promised him that if he stayed on for as long as I needed him, then I’d give him a couple of days off.
“I’m going to look after him, I’m good to my word, so he’ll have a few days off.
“Jamille Matt just epitomises what we’re about as a football club and what I want from my team as a manager.
“I want them to give it their all, have that bit of quality, and what Jamille does when he leads the line – put it this way, all the defences know they’re in for a game when Jamille plays.
“Jamille hasn’t scored since he had his tooth knocked out. He had it put back in and we made a joke on Friday that he’d score. Lucky tooth. It’s good.”
McKirdy’s neat finish was his first for the club on his eighth appearance during his loan spell from Championship high-flyers Aston Villa.
“I was buzzing for him,” Flynn added.
“First touch as well. He’s a very good footballer and I wanted to get him on.
“He deserved it. He’s been chomping at the bit, knocking on my door every other day and I have a lot of time for that if it’s done in the right way.”
Both Exeter City and Forest Green Rovers in the play-off positions both won so the gap still remains five points from the top seven but there’s still the all-important game in hand for the Exiles.
Flynn continued: “We’re heading into the middle of April and Newport County AFC are still in with a chance of getting into the play-offs. It’s not very often you can say that.
“I’m very proud of what we’re doing as a group and the players deserve all the credit.”
ON PARADE | County host automatic promotion chasing Bury FC on Good Friday – 19th April 2019. Buy tickets online now.
ON THE ROAD | The Exiles only have two away matches left in the regular season, starting at Macclesfield Town on 22nd April 2019. Tickets information to be released shortly.