Cheltenham Town are through to the third round of the Checkatrade Trophy after a 7-6 win on penalties following a 1-1 draw with Newport County at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Padraig Amond’s first half finish after good play down the wide left put the Exiles in front but Alex Addai’s second goal in as many games after the break earned the Robins a draw in normal time.
After seven spot-on penalties from Conor Thomas, Jordan Forster, Chris Clements, Sam Jones, Kelsey Mooney and Tom Field – Scott Flinders saved Mark Harris’ effort to seal victory and progression into the next round on sudden death.
Manager Michael Duff made six changes to the team that started at Accrington Stanley in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday – as Johnny Mullins, Will Boyle, Addai, Jones, Tyrone Barnett and Craig Alcock started.
Forster, Chris Hussey, Ryan Broom, Nigel Atangana, Clements, Luke Varney and Jacob Maddox all dropped out as both sides made wholesale changes for the Checkatrade Trophy second round.
Returning to the starting line-up for the first time in over a month, Jones had the first shot of the match with a powerful drive from outside the area, but Nick Townsend was alert to catch it.
Jones was looking lively as he twisted and turned on the edge of the box again only to see his low effort held by Townsend once more.
A brilliant ball from inside his own half by Exiles skipper Fraser Franks set Harris free inside the 10th minute but despite having a free sight at goal, Scott Flinders pulled off a great save to deny him.
But they were to take their next chance as great work down the left from former Robins youngster Cameron Pring allowed him to cut the ball back for Amond to slot into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
Jones then nearly beat Townsend with a cross at the other end as Duff’s men sought a response – smashing another effort at him shortly after – before somehow firing over on the volley from a corner.
Harris then curled over the bar in front of the Speedy Skips End as Newport went into the interval ahead.
Tyler Forbes nearly doubled the lead for Michael Flynn’s side straight from the re-start, but his deflected effort flew wide after Flinders was wrong footed.
Amond sent Forbes in again as he struck over the top before Charlie Cooper’s long-range effort was parried by Flinders as Newport sought to wrap the game up.
Despite not creating too much in forward areas, the visitors failed to clear a corner and Addai netted for the second time in as many games – smashing into the roof of the net from close range.
Clearly boughed by the goal - Cheltenham started to attack at free will and as the home crowd found their voices – Jones’ deflected strike forced another save from Townsend.
Despite an increase in action, the match ended level and went straight to penalties at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium – with Flinders the hero after 13 successful spot-kicks to send Cheltenham through as the hosts saw off Newport for the second time in two weeks.
ROBINS: Flinders (Gk), Tozer, Mullins © (Forster 72), Atangana, Thomas, Boyle, Addai, Jones, Field, Barnett (Mooney 72), Alcock (Clements 59).
Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), McAlinden, Brennan, Handley.
NEWPORT COUNTY: Townsend (Gk), Butler, Franks ©, Amond, Harris, Sheehan, Foulston (Demetriou 77), Pring, Forbes (Pipe 66) Cooper (Labadie 70), Semenyo.
Subs not used: Day (Gk), Taylor, Hillman, Collins.
REFEREE: Andy Woolmer
ATTENDANCE: 739 (94 from Newport)