It was heartbreak for Newport County as they narrowly missed out on a place in the Leasing.Com Trophy.
After more than matching Salford City over the regulation 90 minutes, but failing to get a goal, the game had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Both sides struck four of the intial five penalties but after Jamille Matt matched Darron Gibson from the spot and James Wilson edged Salford ahead, it was left to Ryan Inniss and unfortunately the centre-back couln't find the target to end County's cup adventure for another season.
There were welcome returns from injury for Ryan Haynes and Josh Sheehan as the Exiles made four changes. Matty Dolan and Matt were also brought into the starting line-up.
Dom Jefferies was recently recalled from his loan spell at Salisbury and took his place on the bench.
There were plenty of changes for Salford, who introduced seven new faces with former Manchester United midfielder Gibson handed his debut.
County were first to every ball in the opening exchanges as they made an encouraging start.
Robbie Willmott was proving to be Newport’s danger man on the right wing and he combined to great effect with Sheehan to set up Joss Labadie but the skipper’s close-range effort trickled wide.
The Exiles were linking up well on the pitch but were also up for the physical battle, winning a number of free kicks. Inniss and Matt were winning the initial headers from Willmott’s floated crosses but Salford kept County at bay.
The visitors grew into the game and after a couple of warnings from Jake Jervis, the visitors carved out their first real chance with young striker Brandon Thomas-Asante volleying over from a corner.
Tom King was called into action midway through the first half to keep out Asante before Inniss did enough to put off Tom Elliott as the attacker bore down on goal.
It was all to play for as the clock ticked down to half time and the Exiles were willing to put the work in with Sheehan tracking back to dispossess the tricky Jervis.
Rodney Parade erupted 10 minutes after the restart as Labadie went down under a challenge in the box but referee Anthony Backhouse was quick to dismiss the appeals.
That only seemed to spur County on and with the Parade faithful parade behind them they laid siege to the Salford goal.
Willmott continued to find space to cross on the wing while Sheehan saw his effort saved by Chris Neal after Demetriou had two cut backs blocked in quick succession.
With County piling on the pressure, Mike Flynn opted to replace Padraig Amond with the pacey Jordan Green. He then lost Haynes to injury with academy graduate Lewis Collins taking his place.
Both sides cancelled each other out and with just seconds on the clock, Tristan Abrahams replaced Willmott with penalties looming.
Demetriou and Sheehan both scored before Abrahams' penalty was expertly tipped onto the bar.
Labadie kept the Exiles in contention and after King denied Brandon Thomas-Asante, Dolan forced the shoot-out into sudden death.
Matt kept things level after Gibson beat King but Wilson's kick proved to be the winning penalty after Inniss' miss.
✔️ Adam Rooney
✔️ Mickey Demetriou
✔️ Ibou Toure
✔️ Josh Sheehan
✔️ Jake Jervis
❌ Tristan Abrahams
✔️ Craig Conway
✔️ Joss Labadie
❌ Brandon Thomas-Asante
✔️ Matty Dolan
✔️ Darron Gibson
✔️ Jamille Matt
✔️ James Wilson
❌ Ryan Inniss
Newport County AFC (3-5-2): Tom King; Scot Bennett, Ryan Inniss, Mickey Demetriou; Robbie Willmott (Tristan Abrahams 90), Matty Dolan, Josh Sheehan, Joss Labadie (C), Ryan Haynes (Lewis Collins 82); Padraig Amond (Jordan Green 70), Jamille Matt.
Subs not used: Kyle Howkins, Joe Woodiwiss, Dom Jefferies.
Salford City (4-4-2): Chris Neal; Oscar Threlkeld, Cameron Burgess, Nathan Pond (C), Ibou Touray; Richie Towell (Craig Conway 80), Darron Gibson, Jack Baldwin (Adam Rooney 90), Jake Jervis; Brandon Thomas-Asante, Tom Elliott (James Wilson 80).
Subs not used: Kyle Letheren, Scott Wiseman, Luke Armstrong.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse.
Attendance: 4,070 (187 Salford).
Next up for County: Bradford City, February 22 (HOME)