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REACTION | Michael Flynn: "It has been an absolute rollercoaster"

24 May 2021


REACTION | Michael Flynn: "It has been an absolute rollercoaster"

24 May 2021

Manager Michael Flynn praised Newport County AFC’s fighting spirit after they booked their place in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final with a dramatic 5-4 aggregate win over Forest Green Rovers.

The Exiles travelled to the Innocent New Lawn holding a two-goal advantage after goals from Matty Dolan and Lewis Collins in the first leg put them in pole position to reach Wembley.

County knew a draw or even a 1-0 defeat would be enough to seal them a place in the final but they saw their aggregate lead wiped inside the opening eight minutes.

Nicky Cadden put Rovers ahead for the first time in the tie but the Exiles came roaring back to retake the lead through Kevin Ellison and Joss Labadie in a topsy-turvy clash.

Former Exiles man Jamille Matt forced extra-time with three minutes left on the clock but Nicky Maynard scored in the 119th minute to send County to the final.

And Flynn, who has tidied the Exiles to Wembley for the second time in three seasons, credited his side for digging deep.

"It has been an absolute rollercoaster," said Flynn.

"We got off to the worst possible start, we knew what to expect and I am not happy with the manner of all four of the goals that we conceded.

"It was very, very unlike us but the players showed character, especially after the third went in and one or two were about to drop their heads.

"The way that was finished the game, we looked so much fitter and stronger, and that’s credit to the players and the way they look after themselves.

"As an advert for League Two, I thought the game was absolutely outstanding. I'm absolutely over the moon."

The Exiles had failed to cause any real issues to Rovers goalkeeper Luke McGee’s goal before a moment of magic from Ellison drew County level.

After being sent on eight minutes earlier, Ellison fired the ball off the underside of the crossbar from 25 yards to inspire the Exiles’ revival. 

He became the oldest player to score in the EFL play-offs, and Flynn paid a special tribute to the forward.

"Kev’s never short of a word or two – I was on the pitch consoling one or two of the Forest Green players and he walks past saying ‘that’s right, just save me for the big games, gaffer!’.

"That’s him in a nutshell, he is brilliant and he doesn’t stop, he is constantly on a wind-up and I think that keeps him youthful. 

"He looks after himself, he’s in fantastic shape and is a credit to himself."

County will now take on Morecambe in the final after they overcame Tranmere Rovers - the side that County lost out to at Wembley two seasons ago - with a 3-2 aggregate win.

Flynn said: "It is going to be a very, very tough game. I said every game would be close in these play-offs because there wasn't much separating the teams.

"Derek Adams has done a fantastic job with Morecambe and it is a game I'm looking forward to. May the best team win and, hopefully, it's us this time."

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