Newport County had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Grimsby Town at Rodney Parade on Saturday afternoon.
After a goalless first half, Omar Bogle handed the Exiles an early second-half lead when he poked home a smart finish at the near post. Danny Rose then cancelled out his strike just five minutes later, firing home a composed finish past Nick Townsend.
Manager Graham Coughlan named an unchanged side to the one that overcame Barnet in midweek, with Scot Bennett retaining his place in the starting XI. Will Evans also returned to the fold to feature on the substitutes bench.
It was the Exiles who made a purposeful start in South Wales, a well-worked corner resulted in a shooting opportunity for Bryn Morris, although he could only force Harvey Cartwright into a comfortable save inside the opening two minutes.
The next opportunity for County arrived just seven minutes later. Morris’ flick-on found the on-running Seb Palmer-Houlden but the Bristol City loanee couldn't get a shot away in the nick of time. That was before Ryan Delaney's dangerous header was well-defended by the Mariner’s defence.
Midway through the first half, a slick attacking move from a corner saw Shane McLoughlin’s low cross flash across the face of goal, with Anthony Glennon nearly turning into his own net.
With their tales up, the Exiles produced another strong sight of goal just moments after. After Bogle was brought down just outside the box, the former Marine struck a powerful free-kick that flew narrowly wide.
With half-time fast approaching and Exiles full of intent to open the scoring, McLoughlin’s through ball found Palmer-Houlden in behind the visitors’ backline, with his long-range effort deflecting into the path Cartwright.
County kicked off the second half with the same intensity as the first. Lewis Payne broke well down the far right before finding the path of Palmer-Houlden but Niall Maher did well the thwart the attacker of an opportunity.
In the 53rd minute, Bogle found space down the left before delivering a brilliant ball towards the far post, with Palmer-Houlden guiding an effort that cannoned off the woodwork. From the follow-up, Bogle tried his luck from distance, though Cartwright was able to make smart diving save.
Against the run of play, the closest the visitors came to an early chance was when Toby Mullarky’s high cross was met by Harry Clifton on the edge of the area, however, a last-ditch challenge from Delaney prevented the midfielder from range.
In the 72nd minute, the Exiles' pressure finally paid off as they paved the way for a breakthrough. Payne's far post-delivery was recycled by McLoughlin before he found Bogle who tucked home a neat finish at the near post.
The lead was to only last five minutes though as Grimsby hit back almost immediately. Rose beat the advancing Townsend to the ball to hand the Mariners the equaliser, finishing composedly from Mullarky’s low cross.
With nine minutes of the game remaining, Evans was introduced as a second-half substitute as he made his return from injury. Palmer-Houlden went inches close soon after the change, blazing an effort just wide of the upright.
In the dying embers, both sides pushed for a late winner but neither side could find a breakthrough, as the spoils were shared in Newport.
The Exiles return to action next weekend when they travel to face Wrexham at STōK Cae Ras (3pm).
Newport County: Townsend, Payne, Delaney (C), Clarke, McLoughlin, Baker (Evans 81’), Bennett, Wildig (Charsely 85’), Morris, Palmer-Houlden, Bogle.
Substitutes: Maxted, Bondswell, Waite, Wood, Rai.
Grimsby Town: Cartwright, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Conteh (Green 75’), Eisa (Ainley 88’), Gnahoua, Rose (C), Hunt (Holohan 75’), Clifton, Maher, Glennon.
Substitutes: Eastwood, Waterfall, Efete, Khan.
Attendance: 3,809 (238 away)