Matty Dolan was the hero for Newport County AFC as his late brace, including a last-gasp penalty, secured a dramatic comeback against Bradford City AFC at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Exiles had trailed to Andy Cook’s strike 48 seconds after the restart at the Cardiff City Stadium following an error from Priestley Farquharson.
But Dolan struck twice in the final 13 minutes to claim all three points for County to keep themselves in the hunt for promotion.
County had moved to the Welsh capital to help with their pitch problems at Rodney Parade but struggled to threaten the visitors until Dolan’s superb free kick levelled proceedings.
The hosts then piled on the pressure and deep into injury time Levi Sutton was adjudged to have handballed Mickey Demetriou’s long throw-in and Dolan tucked away the resulting penalty.
Michael Flynn made just one change from the victory over Colchester United with Aaron Lewis replacing Ryan Haynes. David Longe-King came into the matchday squad.
After a combative opening from both teams a wayward back pass from Josh Sheehan let Billy Clarke in on goal. He opted to cut back to Cook who wrong-footed Lewis to create a one-on-one with Nick Townsend but the County goalkeeper was alert to the danger and raced off his line to narrow the angle and block the shot.
County were enjoying plenty of possession but struggled to penetrate the Bradford backline with a hopeful long-range effort from Liam Shephard the closest they came to troubling Sam Hornby in the Bradford goal in the first half.
Neither side were able to assert their dominance with the majority of the game played in the middle of the park but a mistake from Farquharson fed Cook and the striker ruthlessly fired beyond the reach of Townsend.
Flynn made a couple of changes shortly before the hour mark with Dom Telford and Ryan Taylor replacing Nicky Maynard and Scot Bennett.
Connor Wood almost put the game beyond County when he unleashed a thunderous effort from distance with Townsend just managing to flick it onto the crossbar.
Having struggled for creativity in the final third, the Exiles, who were playing in their commemorative shirts marking the 40th anniversary of the European Cup Winners’ Cup tie against Carl Jena Zeiss, produced a flowing passing move that involved Dolan, Taylor and Lewis before Telford fired over from the edge of the box. Lewis then picked out Dolan with a searching cross but the defender couldn’t find the target.
With County sensing an opportunity Kevin Ellison and Jake Scrimshaw were introduced for the final 15 minutes and moments later, the hosts drew level. Sheehan drove towards the box and was taken down just outside the area. Dolan stepped up and curled the ball in the top corner.
That goal re-energised the Exiles and Telford went close to a quick-fire double but a late block kept him from testing Hornby.
The men in amber threw themselves forward in the final stages and Bradford had to show their defensive ability to keep County at bay and it looked like they had done that until the final seconds when referee Will Finnie pointed to the spot and Dolan kept his composure to fire home.
Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend; Priestley Farquharson, Matty Dolan, Mickey Demetriou; Liam Shephard, Josh Sheehan, Scot Bennett (Ryan Taylor 58), Joss Labadie (C), Aaron Lewis (Kevin Ellison 74); Padraig Amond (Jake Scrimshaw 74), Nicky Maynard (Dom Telford 58).
Subs not used: Tom King, David Longe-King, Anthony Hartigan.