Mike Flynn admitted that he was left extremely disappointed after seeing his Newport County AFC side fall to a 3-0 defeat at Grimsby Town in a result that allowed the Mariners to leapfrog County in the League Two table.
Despite the scoreline, County did start proceedings on the front foot for the opening 15 minutes. Keanu Marsh-Brown saw a shot saved by Sam Russell then former Welsh international Danny Collins blocked another attempt, before Russell thwarted debutant Ben Kennedy’s powerful header.
At the time, Grimsby’s opener two minutes later came somewhat against the run of play as Jordan Cook constructed a shooting opportunity out of nothing, using quick feet to skip past two challenges before picking his spot and finding the bottom left corner.
From there, however, the Mariners seized control and County had Nick Townsend to thank for getting into half-time just the goal behind, after the Exiles shot stopper kept out Wes Thomas’ penalty.
Grimsby wouldn’t be denied their second for too much longer into the second-half and there was nothing Townsend could do but watch Cook’s shot be deflected completely the other way and into the net.
With six minutes remaining, the victory became all the more emphatic as Mickey Demetriou unfortunately turned Martyn Woolford’s cross-shot into his own net when trying to stop it reaching Kristian Dennis at the far post.
That condemned County to their heaviest defeat on the road since suffering defeat to the same scoreline against Mansfield Town on the opening day – and Flynn was again left ruing the lack of clinicality in both boxes.
He affirmed: “First 15 minutes we were excellent, and I was thinking ‘all right we’ve turned up here.’ Then, unfortunately, it was weak and I’ve said it a few times this season, but it wasn’t good enough.
“It was shocking. Terrible defending, didn’t track runners all afternoon and it was lazy defending.
“Even in their box, we put loads of balls into the box and we’re here asking ourselves why we didn’t get on the end of it. The reason we didn’t get on the end of it was because we were never on the front-foot. That’s the same as the other box and it wasn’t good enough.
“I don’t think the conditions were that difficult. Pitch was a bit slippy but that was it really, little bit cold, not windy – no rain – so this was nothing to do with the conditions.
“I just want to get as many points on the board as I can now, Tuesday concentrate on Middlesbrough and then after that, see where we’re at.”
With the trip to Lincolnshire the second in a run of eight matches within 26 days, Flynn decided to shuffle the pack and make five changes to the side from Tuesday’s home draw with Port Vale.
Vashon Neufville was handed his Football League debut, Keanu Marsh-Brown started a league game for the first time since the opening day, whilst Ben Kennedy was the only deadline day signing involved.
David Pipe and Matty Dolan also came back into the side as Padraig Amond, Dan Butler and Mark O’Brien all helped compose the substitutes bench, with Scot Bennett and Robbie Willmott missing from the matchday squad.
Flynn explained: “We made a few changes because we wanted to get some minutes into people’s legs. I thought what I put out there was good enough to win the football match but obviously it wasn’t.
“I thought Nick Townsend was very good, Tyreeq Bakinson was very good, Regan Poole and Jamille Matt – they were the only four to come out of that with any credit.
“Joss Labadie worked his socks off, Ben Kennedy tried – very hard for him coming him, especially when we didn’t even train on Friday because the pitches were frozen. But Ben worked hard.
“I just felt that Ade Azeez and Harry McKirdy needed a few days training with us and we’ll assess them for next weekend [against Mansfield Town.]
“Scot Bennett had a bit of a virus, he should be fine, but I couldn’t risk it spreading throughout the camp, especially when we were travelling on the coach coming up on Friday.
“Robbie Willmott had a bit of a dead leg, so it is what it is.”
AT HOME | County will take on Middlesbrough next Tuesday in an Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round replay live on BT Sport. Tickets are selling fast and have now been placed on general sale – click here for all the ticket information.
LEAGUE TWO AT RODNEY PARADE | County’s next home league match is 9th February 2019 when high-flyers Mansfield Town are the visitors. Buy match tickets online here.
AFTER THAT | The home games don’t ease up for the Exiles as the rearranged fixture with MK Dons has been set for 12th February 2019. Buy match tickets online here.