Mike Flynn hailed an ‘unbelievable’ second-half attacking performance as Newport County AFC secured back-to-back victories in League Two for the first time since late September with a 3-1 victory at Yeovil Town.
In the first-half, County had to show the other side of their game to repel the home side who boasted 67% possession up until the half-time whistle.
Such was the defensive resilience and assertiveness from the Exiles that the Glovers were restricted to just half chances in the opening exchanges and they couldn’t assert any foothold – except possession – on the game.
That gave County a platform to build upon in the second-half and the three points were secured following the unbelievable attacking play that Flynn spoke of.
On 62 minutes, Ben Kennedy provided the pinpoint delivery for Robbie Willmott to power home a header in off the far post, before the Stevenage loanee got a goal himself four minutes later with a deflected 25-yard strike.
Former Cardiff City defender Thomas James halved the deficit with 16 minutes remaining when firing through a host of bodies, but nothing was going to stop County getting the points in Somerset.
Substitute Keanu Marsh-Brown wrapped it all up with an absolute stunner in the first minute of stoppage time, lifting a shot high into the top corner after a menacing run from midfield.
“I thought we were very solid and compact first-half,” Flynn affirmed.
“They didn’t create anything, we’re the away team, they’re fighting for their lives and we knew we’d grow into the game.
“That’s what we did, we defended well, kept in our shapes and our pockets and they didn’t create anything.
“We got hold of the first-half in the last 15 minutes where we took control and then second-half, there was only one team in it.”
He continued: “I still want us to kill teams off and I thought some of our attack play was unbelievable.
“The goals we scored, we worked on them. The patterns of play we went over in training where Ben Kennedy comes off the line, Dan Butler goes on the outside of him and he’s either going to get a shot off or Buts will put a cross in.
“That’s exactly what happened – Ben Kennedy got his shot off with his weaker foot and he’s scored.”
There was a clear game plan from the Exiles in both halves and County cramped up the ascendency to beneficial effect after the restart.
Every player performed extremely well but Josh Sheehan, Joss Labadie and Marsh-Brown stood out and Flynn did pick out a couple of players for individual praise post-match.
He said: “I thought Keanu did very well when he came on, but I thought Josh Sheehan was the best player on the park.
“We had a conversation as staff whether to play him and he was absolutely sensational. He was brave, kept the ball moving, broke play up and got stuck in.
“I thought he was by far the best player on the pitch and it’s about time he had some plaudits.
“There was a lot of good players first-half as well because they did their job and kept to the shape.
“We were compact. We didn’t want to get counter-attacked which Yeovil did to us at Rodney Parade and we knew where we’d get in. I’m absolutely delighted.”
The three points on the road has certainly opened up the prospect of County reaching the play-offs come the end of the campaign.
The gap on 6th placed Forest Green Rovers is just six points and County have two games in hand over Mark Cooper’s side.
“We’ve got a fighting chance,” Flynn stated.
“We’ve still got to get those points on the board – so far, so good.
“I think Swindon are doing very well as well and they’ve just had a great result up at Bury FC.
“There’ll be some twists and turns before the end of the season even with eight games to go. It’s whoever is the most consistent now.
“We’ve got Lincoln, Bury FC, Swindon, Tranmere so we’ve got a few tough ones. They’ll make or break our season.”
Five of the remaining eight games left in the regular season come at Rodney Parade and that run of fixtures starts with the visit of League Two’s form side Tranmere Rovers.
Flynn concluded: “We knew we needed a win away from home and it’s a good start now with an important period of fixtures coming up.
“We’ve got Matty Dolan back now, Crofty will be close and Podge and Benno aren’t far away either.
“We could be firing on all cylinders at the business end of the season.”
NEXT UP | County welcome high-flyers Tranmere Rovers to Rodney Parade on Saturday 6th April. Buy tickets here.
AFTER THAT | It’s another visit from a fellow side chasing the League Two play-offs as Swindon Town travel to Rodney Parade on Tuesday 9th April. Buy tickets here.
ON THE ROAD | The next destination on the road for County this season will be Cambridge United on Saturday 13th April. Tickets to be made available on the website shortly.