Mike Flynn says Newport County AFC are managing games better now which means they have been able to propel themselves into pole position for seventh spot in League Two.
The Exiles moved to 11/10 favourites to sneak into the final play-off position following victory over League Two champions Lincoln City, ahead of second-favourite Exeter City (7/4) with the rest of the chasing pack way back in the betting stakes.
It’s been a remarkable turnaround for County who now lead the League Two form table having gone eight unbeaten, keeping six cleansheets in that time.
As Flynn says, the Exiles are finding different ways to win matches and they haven’t dropped any points from winning positions since January 12th.
Victory was secured on Saturday against the League Two champions Lincoln City through another perfect management of proceedings as the Imps threw everything at County towards the end of the contest.
The Exiles scored the matchwinner on seven minutes through an unlikely hero.
Matty Dolan played a clever ball inside Lincoln right-back Neal Eardley for Padraig Amond to race onto and the Exiles top scorer turned provider as he cut the ball back from the byline for Scot Bennett to crash it in off the bar from eight yards.
“They’ve always had spirit in the group and that spirit hasn’t changed," Flynn affirmed.
“What I do think is that they’re managing games better now and seeing things out.
“We’re not being so cavalier. It’s all good going forward and everything but they’re remembering their defensive duties.”
Blustery conditions in South Wales affected proceedings somewhat but at this stage of the season, only the result really matters, and County kept play-off destiny in their own hands by securing all three points.
Flynn continued: “It wasn’t the most attractive game of football I’ve ever seen. In fact, it was probably the worst I’ve seen in my life.
“The difficult conditions didn’t help but I thought my boys were fantastic.
“They stood up to everything Lincoln threw at them and I’ve got to give credit to Lincoln for being champions and still giving the amount of effort and commitment that they gave.
“It just went to show why they are champions. They kept going to the end and it’s a huge, huge win for us.
“It’s a great effort from the lads. We just need to do it for two more games now.”
Remarkably, Bennett’s winning goal was only his sixth strike for the Exiles from 143 appearances.
Flynn joked: “He had a bit of stick actually; we were winding him up saying he was due a goal and he’s gone and popped up with it.
“I’m delighted for him, I thought he was excellent as was everyone else.”
All three points now sets up a grandstand final week of the League Two campaign for County who know two wins will see them into the play-off positions.
The Exiles host Oldham Athletic on Tuesday before concluding the season against Morecambe on Saturday.
“It’s going well at the minute but there’s still a long way to go,” Flynn continued.
“We’ve got to win Tuesday night. We’ve got to do it and then we’re in there. As simple as that really.
“Fingers crossed we can do it.”
NEXT UP | County conclude the regular home season with the massive game in hand against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night. All three points puts County seventh in the table. Buy tickets here.
ON THE ROAD | County only have one journey to complete away from home in the regular season when they conclude the campaign at Morecambe on May 4th. Tickets to be made available through all club channels shortly.