Cheltenham Town produced a gritty performance to consign Newport County to a rare home defeat at Rodney Parade this afternoon.
The Welsh side boast one of the most impressive home records in League Two, but Mark Yates’ side battled well to restrict their opponents and collect their sixth success on the road this term.
It was the Robins’ first visit to Newport since 1997, when they ran out 5-1 winners in a Dr Martens League match, and they defended their lead manfully, handed to them by Ashley Vincent.
Vincent made his season bow here, starting his first match for the club since March 2009 and it took the winger only 23 minutes to make an impact, providing the eventual winner from close-range.
It wasn’t a classic goal, but that didn’t matter and it was greeted with noisy celebrations at the final whistle by the sizeable travelling contingent.
Cheltenham's first win since Boxing Day is the perfect fillip ahead of the visit of Chesterfield - the league leaders - on Tuesday night.
Yates shuffled his pack, making three changes to the side that slipped to defeat at Bristol Rovers ten days ago.
Troy Brown injured his ankle in the second half of that match and was ably replaced by Mitch Brundle, the Bristol City loanee making his debut for the club.
Jason Taylor dropped to the bench, replaced by Vincent while Terry Gornell came in for Jamie Cureton in attack.
Former trialist and Robins fan Ryan Burge, grandson of director Rod Burge, began the afternoon in the hosts’ five-man midfield.
David Pipe (right back), Sean Jeffers (winger) and Chris Zebroski (striker) completed the Cheltenham connections in the County squad.
The home side started brightly and went close to taking the lead inside the first ten minutes, Andrew Hughes and Zebroski both missing the target with headers from promising positions.
Cheltenham created a couple of chances of their own although Matt Richards’ free-kick, and Steve Elliott’s shot on the turn never really posed a significant threat.
Scott Brown’s first real save of note arrived with quarter of an hour played when Andy Sandell blasted a free-kick straight at him.
And a mistake by Craig Braham-Barrett handed Rene Howe a shooting chance moments later, but Brown dropped to save.
Cheltenham though stuck to their task and grabbed the opener with 23 minutes on the clock.
Jermaine McGlashan had presented Hughes, the County left back, with problems down that side before the break with his acceleration and on this occasion the winger made the byline before cutting it back for Vincent, who bundled home from close-range.
Cheltenham grew into the game after the goal and Byron Harrison had an opportunity to claim the second, beating the offside trap before calling goalkeeper Elliott Parish into a comfortable save.
At the other end, Howe wasted a golden chance to get his side on terms after some good work by Zebroski down the left.
Burge, who scored in the come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Oxford United in midweek, registered the first chance of the second half, hitting his angled free-kick from a promising position directly at Scott Brown.
Gornell brought about a smart save in the 56th minute, testing Parish from range.
Vincent made way for Sido Jombati with 25 minutes remaining, five minutes after Newport boss Justin Edinburgh had made a double substition of his own to replace his central midfield.
The Portuguese should have doubled his side’s advantage three minutes after his introduction, but he scuffed his effort wide after Richards’ cross from the right sparked a goalmouth scramble.
Cheltenham rode their luck ten minutes from time when former Robins loanee Jeffers, who had replaced Howe, raced down the right and sent in a cross that Elliott eventually cleared.
Jombati and McGlashan had late chances to settle the contest, but they both travelled wide. Newport also had their moments in the closing stages but they couldn't produce the necessary quality to unpick the Cheltenham back four, expertly marshalled once again by Elliott.
NEWPORT COUNTY (3-5-2): Parish; Yakubu, Anthony (c ), Hughes; Willmott, Chapman (Crow 60), Minshull (Porter 60), Burge, Sandell; Zebroski, Howe (Jeffers 78). Subs not used: Thompson, Jackson, Naylor, Pipe.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Brown; Brundle, Iheikwe, Elliott (c ), Braham-Barratt; McGlashan, Deering, Richards, Vincent (Jombati 65); Gornell, Harrison. Subs not used: Taylor, Cureton, Roberts, Williams, Kotwica, Lucas.
REFEREE: S Rushton