Second-half goals from Dom Telford and Timmy Abraham saw Newport County AFC get their Papa John’s Trophy campaign under way with a 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle.
Telford, who enjoyed an 18-month stint with the Pilgrims before joining the Exiles in January, picked his spot from 25 yards and curled a stunning left-footed effort into the top corner just before the hour-mark.
Abraham - another player who spent time at Home Park - then chalked up his second goal of the campaign late on by curling home an effort into the opposite corner to seal the victory for the Exiles.
Michael Flynn, returning to the touchline for the first time following a period of isolation, rung the changes from the Exiles' defeat against Salford City. County’s deadline day additions Jack Cain and Ollie Cooper, who joined on loan from Liverpool and Swansea City respectively, were handed their first starts.
Matty Dolan returned to the starting line up to captain the Exiles, while academy scholars Harrison Bright and Aneurin Livermore both started.
A well-worked move from the Exiles, which started with Cooper on the halfway line, presented them with their first opportunity of note. The Swans loanee, Telford and Abraham all combined before the latter’s cross was cleared to Willmott, whose powerful strike flew over the crossbar.
Willmott then turned provider to set up another chance for the hosts after his cross into the penalty area was flicked back across goal by Joe Woodiwiss. It forced a save out of Callum Burton, who could only parry the ball into the centre of the box, but Abraham’s shot was deflected past the post.
Abraham forced the Burton into action again two minutes as he skipped past two defenders and opened up a sight at goal, with the Pilgrims goalkeeper getting down low with a strong hand before he pushed the follow-up past the post.
It took 30 minutes for the visitors to cause any real problems of note to County’s goal when they broke away down the left and Law’s low effort was pushed past the post by Nick Townsend.
Law enjoyed another opportunity to test the Exiles shot-stopper again three minutes later after Adam Randell’s low corner evaded everyone and found the midfielder, who failed to hit the target.
Telford, who was previously dubbed “Mr. Checkatrade” for his goals in this competition with Bury three seasons ago, looked lively against his former club and enjoyed a pair of chances just before the half-time interval. First, he forced Burton into making a smart save and then saw a powerful strike pushed out for a corner.
The Exiles finished the half on top although they were close to going behind five minutes after the restart when Law nodded James Wilson's cross the wrong side of the post by Law.
And Wilson was left to rue the missed chance as County made the breakthrough just before the hour-mark. After linking up with Bright and Cooper, Telford gathered the ball on the edge of the area, found a pocket of space and curled the ball into the top corner beyond the reach of Burton.
Iestyn Evans was introduced at the half-time interval for his first senior appearance for the Exiles and almost made a dream start 16 minutes later. The defender’s effort from 35 yards had Burton backpedaling, but the goalkeeper managed to tip the shot over the crossbar.
Massey then met Garrick’s cross and almost brought the away side level, but County responded and ensured the points were secured through Abraham's curling effort six minutes before the end.
Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend, Aaron Lewis, Joe Woodiwiss, Matty Dolan (C) (Iestyn Evans 45’), Harrison Bright, Aneurin Livermore, Jack Cain (Ryan Hillier 61’), Robbie Willmott (Zach Maher 45’), Ollie Cooper, Timmy Abraham, Dom Telford.
Substitutes not used: Evan Ovendale, Charlie Bullock, Tom Stokes, Jonah Williams.