Newport County AFC goalkeeper Tom King tipped his hat to his housemate Joss Labadie after his penalty heroics against Southend United helped the Exiles secure a play-off spot.
The County shot-stopper kept out Matt Rush’s effort from 12 yards to prevent the already-relegated Shrimpers from retaking the lead in a dramatic final-day clash at Roots Hall.
Mickey Demetriou had drawn the visitors level in the second half after Shaun Hobson’s opener before the home side were awarded a contentious penalty.
Liam Shephard was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area but King came to his side’s rescue by making a strong save to deny Rush’s spot-kick.
And the goalkeeper thanked Exiles skipper Labadie for his part in helping him keep the hosts at bay.
“Unfortunately for their penalty taker we’ve got Joss Labadie on our side who manages to guess penalties and directions every single day,” said King.
“I live with him and we watch a lot of penalties, so he talks me through what he sees and the run-ups. He’s seen a lot of football in his time, so their lad is unfortunate that we’ve got Joss on our side.
“He’s the master penalty saver!"
County travelled to Essex needing only a point from their final fixture of the campaign to seal a top-seven finish after picking up 10 points from their last four outings.
King was given the nod after keeping four clean sheets on the spin as Michael Flynn named an unchanged line-up for the fifth successive game.
But, despite their resistance being broken for the first time in 382 minutes of football through the home side’s early goal, King says County's half-time team talk sparked a response.
“We were quite fortunate that we conceded early in the game because it gave us a lot of time to bounce back and regroup,” added King.
“The conversations were really positive at half time in the dressing room and we knew if we kept moving the ball we would score at some point.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and that we would have to face adversity at some point.
“The responsibility was on us as players to achieve the result and we weren’t relying on other results because it was all about us.
“Credit to Southed, they fought to the very end and, for a side that have been relegated, they put in one hell of a shift.”
The Exiles will now face Forest Green Rovers in the play-off semi-final, with the first leg taking place at Rodney Parade on Tuesday 18th May before County head to the New Lawn five days later.
“They are a good footballing team but we know that without Jamille [Matt] they are a different side," added King.
“We’re going to have to be prepared for that and all our focus is switched on to them now. I’m sure we’ll be well equipped when it comes to the first leg against them.”