Newport County AFC continued their preparations for the 2020/21 Sky Bet League Two by playing two 50-minute matches against Sky Bet Championship side Cardiff City.
Robert Glatzel's strike and two goals from Wales international Kieffer Moore ensured the home side won both games, although Michael Flynn was able to take plenty of positives from the two matches.
County enjoyed a number of chances on goal throughout the afternoon but were unable to break down a strong Cardiff side, who reached the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-finals last season.
The home side named strong sides for both matches, which saw a number of the Bluebirds' regular first-team players feature over the course of 100 minutes.
The Exiles enjoyed the opening chance of the first game as Scot Bennett intercepted Marlon Pack’s pass before playing in Ryan Haynes. The defender found the path of Josh Sheehan, who saw his effort blocked by Aden Flint as he looked to test out his former County team-mate Joe Day, who left the Exiles in 2018.
Meanwhile, Glatzel brought a fine save from County goalkeeper Tom King in the early stages after he denied the striker’s powerful header from close-range.
But the home side opened the scoring following a quick-counter attack which saw Murphy’s long-ball forward pick out the run of Hoilett, whose pass allowed Glatzel to fire past King.
Tristan Abrahams - who netted against Bristol Rovers on Friday evening - was at the heart of two moves in quick succession as County looked to draw level. First, the striker linked up with Matty Dolan on the edge of the area before Dolan dragged his effort wide of the target. Abrahams then enjoyed a solo run of his own as he weaved his way past the Cardiff defence and forced Day into making another save at his near post.
Joss Labadie had to be alert to deny Glatzel from netting his second goal of the afternoon as he did well to throw his body in the way of the German’s effort.
Flynn’s men turned defence into attack and enjoyed two chances in quick succession as they pressed for an equaliser. Abrahams again did well to hold possession - after being pressurised by two Cardiff defenders - and cut the ball back into the danger zone. Bennett saw his low drive blocked by the Cardiff defence before the home side again threw bodies in the way to deny Labadie’s shot.
First game full-time score: Newport County AFC 0-1 Cardiff City
Cardiff made a number of changes for the second game, which saw Wales internationals Moore and Will Vaulks introduced, alongside former Exiles striker Mark Harris.
And it was Moore and Harris who both combined to score the home side’s opening goal. Harris’ deft touch found the path of his fellow striker, who curled the ball beyond King with a right-footed effort.
The Bluebirds were then awarded a penalty when Labadie was adjudged to have fouled Cardiff captain Sean Morrison in the penalty area. King guessed the right way but was unable to keep out Moore’s effort from 12 yards.
County, as they did throughout the afternoon, continued to create chances but were unable to break down a resolute home defence, with Lewis Collins seeing his effort blocked after he drifted inside from the left flank.
Collins was at the centre of another County in the final minutes after he connected with a delivery into the area, but could only fire his effort over the crossbar.
Second game full-time score: Newport County AFC 0-2 Cardiff City
Newport County AFC first game XI: Tom King, Ryan Haynes, Mickey Demetriou, Matty Dolan, Kyle Howkins, Trialist 1, Scot Bennett, Joss Labadie, Josh Sheehan, Tristan Abrahams, Padraig Amond.
Newport County AFC second game XI: Tom King (Nick Towsend 25’), Ryan Haynes, Mickey Demetriou (David Longe-King 25'), Matty Dolan (Joe Woodiwiss 25’), Kyle Howkins (Ashley Baker 25'), Trialist 1, Scot Bennett, Joss Labadie (Trialist 2 25’), Josh Sheehan (Lewis Collins 25’), Tristan Abrahams (Ryan Taylor 25’), Padraig Amond.