Three first-half goals saw Newport County AFC condemned to a 3-0 defeat by Salford City at the Peninsula Stadium.
Tyreik Wright got the Ammies off to a perfect start in the opening minute as he curled beyond Joe Day and they added their second through Conor McAleny.
Christopher Missilou almost responded for the visitors as his shot from distance came back off the upright before Ian Henderson tapped the ball home into an empty net to put Salford three to the good before the break.
The third arrived after McAleny was denied his brace after firing against the base of the post, while substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante also hit the woodwork in the second half on a frustrating afternoon for the Exiles.
County, who were led by Wayne Hatswell for the final time before Michael Flynn’s return to the touchline, made one change from the 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers last Saturday, with Missilou replacing Finn Azaz in the starting line up.
The Exiles held Tranmere Rovers at bay to chalk up their third clean sheet of the campaign last weekend, but they fell behind after 38 seconds in Greater Manchester. After McAleny’s sliding challenge saw the Ammies regain possession deep in the County half, Ian Henderson slipped a pass through to Wright, who curled the ball into the bottom corner with a cool left-footed finish.
County failed to cause any issues for former Exiles goalkeeper Tom King in the opening stages and they soon found themselves two down. It was a well-worked second from the home side as Jason Lowe’s clipped forward found Josh Morris, who sent the ball through to McAleny. The striker took the ball into penalty area before firing a low effort into the far corner.
And McAleny could have added his second of the afternoon four minutes after the restart as he latched on to a long ball forward and struck against the base of the post.
Missilou almost halved the deficit on the half-hour mark when he turned well and fired Upson’s downward header towards goal from 30 yards, but the midfielder saw his effort cannon off the post and Salford responded by netting their third. Henderson chased down Bennett’s back pass to Day and nipped in to intercept it before taking the ball around the goalkeeper and stroking the ball into an empty net.
Hatswell opted for a switch in tactics before the half-time interval as Missilou and Robbie Willmott made way for Matty Dolan and Timmy Abraham. The latter had the ball in the Salford net 11 minutes after his introduction following Dolan’s curling corner, although the goal was chalked off by Benjamin Speedie after Abraham handled the ball past King.
But Hylton provided the striker with another opportunity to respond for the Exiles after the break, only to see his shot denied by the foot of Corrie Ndaba and Salford survived following a scramble in the penalty area.
Abraham then turned provider by getting the better of Liam Shephard to set up Alex Fisher, who took a touch and fired towards goal but saw his effort denied by King.
Salford carved out two opportunities in the space of a minute to increase their advantage with 13 minutes left, with substitute Thomas-Asante seeing his curling effort come back off the post and then McAleny, who was free in the centre of the area, struck a low shot straight at Day.
Fisher then looked to give the 277 travelling County fans something to shout about as he attempted to catch King off his line with an ambitious lob from 30 yards, only for King to backpedal and pluck the ball out of the air as County fell to defeat.
Newport County AFC: Joe Day, Ryan Haynes, James Clarke, Scot Bennett (C), Priestley Farquharson (Lewis Collins 59’), Cameron Norman, Christopher Missilou (Matty Dolan 37’), Ed Upson, Jermaine Hylton, Robbie Willmott (Timmy Abraham 37’), Alex Fisher.
Subs not used: Nick Townsend, Aaron Lewis, Kevin Ellison.