Newport County AFC slipped to a narrow defeat to Leyton Orient in SkyBet League Two at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Exiles welcomed the London-based side to the Welsh capital looking to get back to winning ways but a second-half strike from Conor Wilkinson condemned them to defeat.
County were given a brief reprieve when the linesman raised his flag but, following a discussion between the officials, the goal was awarded.
The men in amber came close to salvaging a point but Mickey Demetriou’s late header flew just over the crossbar.
There were two changes in the County starting XI as Jake Scrimshaw, who scored in midweek, and Nicky Maynard came into the side in place of Padraig Amond and Ryan Taylor. New signing Joe Ledley, who spent a season playing at the Cardiff City Stadium during his six-year spell with the Bluebirds, made the bench.
Orient made a bright start as they played the ball in the right areas but didn’t really make Nick Townsend work in the County goal. In contrast it took a while for the Exiles to get going as they struggled to turn possession into penetration against a very organised O’s structure.
There was never a lack of effort though and good work from Maynard provided Scrimshaw with the ball to the right of the box. He then slipped in the former Cardiff City forward, who forced Lawrence Vigouroux into a smart stop at his near post.
Matty Dolan’s set piece deliveries are always difficult to defend against and he created two great chances in as many minutes. Firstly, his free kick met the head of Joss Labadie who could only flick it onto the post. From the resulting corner, Scot Bennett fired over when well placed in the box.
The hosts’ wing backs were getting more influential as the half wore on and a searching cross from Aaron Lewis found Liam Shephard at the back post but his first-time return ball just evaded Scrimshaw.
Lewis was at it again minutes later when he fired a dangerous ball across the face of the goal but nobody had gambled at the back post.
The first chance of the second half went to the visitors but Townsend was equal to Wilkinson’s effort from the edge of the box.
County got the first look at their new signing shortly before the hour mark when the man with the most famous beard in Welsh football, Ledley, replaced Dolan. Taylor was also introduced in place of Scrimshaw.
However, within minutes of those changes County fell behind in controversial fashion. Wilkinson tapped in from close range but there was a suspicion that Danny Johnson had got the last touch, which would have left Wilkinson offside. The linesman raised his flag but after a discussion with the referee the goal was given.
Michael Flynn’s response was a triple substitution. Kevin Ellison, Dom Telford and Luke Gambin replaced Scot Bennett, Lewis and Maynard but Orient remained resolute at the back, keeping County at bay.
The Exiles almost came away with a point at the death when Demetriou rose highest at a corner but he couldn’t keep his header down.
Newport County AFC: Nick Townsend; Priestley Farquharson, Matty Dolan (Joe Ledley 56), Mickey Demetriou; Liam Shephard, Joss Labadie (C), Scot Bennett (Kevin Ellison 66), Josh Sheehan, Aaron Lewis (Dom Telford 66); Jake Scrimshaw (Ryan Taylor 56); Nicky Maynard (Luke Gambin 66).
Subs not used: Tom King, Padraig Amond.