Michael Flynn has warned his Newport County AFC players against complacency after they successfully set-up a grandstand finale at Morecambe on Saturday.
Second half goals from Mark O’Brien and Robbie Willmott secured a 2-0 victory over Oldham Athletic which put County into the play-offs for the first time since just before Christmas.
He certainly knows when to come up with important goals, but O’Brien was the man to break the deadlock on 48 minutes with a carbon copy of his Great Escape heroics. Take a touch, swivel with the right foot and blast on the half-volley into the back of the net.
The Irishman may have a shout for the second-goal as well after it appeared he may have diverted Willmott’s attempt past the goalkeeper. Either way, it was an instinctive initial strike from the midfielder, catching Zeus De La Paz off guard at the near post from outside the area.
The result meant County extended their unbeaten run to nine matches with clean sheets coming in seven of those contests.
It took County’s home points total to 48 from the 23 league matches – the current highest in the division – with only Bury FC able to surpass that with the Shakers home on Saturday having already accumulated 47 points.
If they get there, the Exiles would be by far the form team heading into the post-season play-offs, but Flynn knows nothing is done yet.
He affirmed: “We’ve been here before – look what you could have won, Bully’s special prize and all that. I’m coming out with all the clichés, but I don’t want to be the bride jilted at the altar on Saturday.
“It’s a fantastic achievement, 70 points, and one win does it.
“I’m not getting carried away at all. I’ve been in the game too long to know that if you get complacent and you think you’ve cracked it, then you get quickly reminded with a slap in the face.
“I’ve just told the players that they can’t think anything is done. All we are is down to one game and we’ve got to make sure that we’re at our best on Saturday.
“Morecambe are a team in-form. They’ve got an excellent manager and assistant manager in Jim Bentley and Ken KcKenna. The job they do year in year out, I think it’s fantastic.
“I know what kind of men they are. They’ll want to finish on a high as well.”
The victory over Oldham at Rodney Parade was a real test of character for the Exiles who knew the sheer pressure of having play-off destiny in their own hands.
They perhaps started a bit slowly although Matty Dolan came mightily close on 12 minutes, with things running a lot smoother after the interval as helped by the early goal.
“I thought we were poor first-half,” Flynn admitted.
“I wouldn’t say we looked nervous but maybe apprehensive. We were getting caught in the middle of whether to pass it short, switch the play and there was a couple of indecisive decisions.
“It was an apprehensive first-half performance but in the second-half I thought we were excellent. The clearances were better, we played more football and looked more menacing going forward.
“We probably should have scored a few more. I thought we should have gone in 1-0 down first-half then won the second half 4-1.”
ON THE ROAD | The job is simple. Win at Morecambe and a place in the play-offs are secure. The team need YOUR help to get there – join us at the Globe Arena to see the job get completed.