Michael Flynn says there are numerous positives to take away from the 2-2 opening day draw with promotion favourites Mansfield Town, but he couldn’t hide his frustration at throwing away a two-goal lead.
The first-half performance was as good as County have ever played and they could feel aggrieved not to have a healthier advantage. Matty Dolan hit the crossbar, Padraig Amond fired just over on the half volley and Robbie Willmott came close.
Instead, County had to settle for a two-goal half time advantage after captain Joss Labadie calmly slotted home on six minutes and Amond converted a penalty just after the half hour.
But County allowed Mansfield back into proceedings after the break and the Stags were level by 49 minutes – Krystian Pearce powering home a header before a Danny Rose shot squirmed under Tom King.
King then repelled Nicky Maynard’s penalty to prevent a complete turnaround at Rodney Parade, meaning County had to settle for a point after Jacob Mellis’ dismissal late on.
“I thought we were brilliant for 90% of the match,” Flynn affirmed.
“They worked their socks off, we looked by far the better team. We created better chances and should have been 4-0 up by half time.
“It was a really good performance [in the first half], we should have scored more goals. We knew Mansfield would start on us and we shot ourselves in the foot by giving away two very poor goals.
“It’s really disappointing not to have won the football match. But I have to take the positives. I thought we were really good, it’s just a shame those errors have cost us an extra two points.”
It was a classic game of two halves at Rodney Parade with both sides having spells of dominance, although County did control the majority of proceedings.
Flynn continued: “We went through everything at half time – game management, I fired them up, praised them and told them what to be aware of in the second half.
“You never take things for granted but you couldn’t see Mansfield scoring unless it was a mistake from ourselves. What happened? Two mistakes from us.
“It’s a long old season, I told you there would never be a dull moment and I’m just pleased with the way we played, excluding the mistakes.
“All in all, there are a lot of positives to take from the game.”
NEXT UP | The Exiles make the familiar trip to Cambridge United next Saturday – a side they have defeated in each of the last six meetings. Buy tickets now.
AFTER THAT | It’s the arduous midweek journey as County head to Gillingham in the First Round of the Carabao Cup on 13th August. Tickets details to be announced on all club channels soon.
ON PARADE | County host another favourite for promotion, early table toppers Plymouth Argyle, on 17th August 2019. Buy tickets now.