Ten man Cheltenham Town fell to a Friday night defeat in south Wales as an unfortunate Chris Hussey own goal proved to be the difference as Newport County ran out narrow winners at Rodney Parade.
Despite shading a first half devoid of many chances, the Robins fell behind ten minutes after the break as Padriag Amond’s lobbed attempt deflected into the net off Hussey when Scott Flinders attempted to keep it out.
A much better second half with chances at either end was then made harder for Cheltenham to get back into as Will Boyle was shown a red card for bringing down Jamille Matt as the last man with 15 minutes to go.
The visitors battled hard even at a man down but it wasn’t enough to prevent a sixth straight Sky Bet League Two loss away from home.
Robins boss Michael Duff named an unchanged team from the side that started and comfortably beat Notts County at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium the previous weekend.
After a scrappy start, some gritty play by the right sided corner flag from Billy Waters and Kevin Dawson allowed Jordan Tillson to scoop the first shot on goal of the game over the crossbar.
The Robins then played some neat football just outside the Newport penalty area as Luke Varney flicked the ball out wide to Hussey, but his low driven cross evaded any touch and squirmed wide for a goal-kick.
Lining up in a similar formation to Michael Duff’s side, the Exiles’ best threat in the first half came from high hanging crosses for their front three to attack, but Cheltenham dealt with their aerial threat well in the opening 20 minutes.
As the first half entered its final stages, the visitors continued to frustrate Michael Flynn’s side, as Tillson tried hid luck again from distance only to see his half-volley comfortably caught by Joe Day.
The hosts came out in the second half having made two subs and changed their shape, which brought about a positive spell of pressure in the Cheltenham half.
That pressure soon paid off, as a ball into the box proved awkward to deal with and Amond span on the spot, before attempting to lob the ball over Flinders, who parried the attempt into the unfortunate Hussey and into the net.
With the wind now firmly in their sails, Newport came close to doubling their lead as Robbie Willmott’s header span off target.
At the other end, following a Ben Tozer long-throw, Chris Clements’ recycled cross was met by a powerful header by Will Boyle, but the Yorkshireman’s effort went wide.
Dawson and Waters then played a quick one-two, but the latter’s attempt was blocked by Day as he was pushed out wide following being closed down.
The frantic action continued, as Ryan Broom faied to get rid of the ball and Jamille Matt raced through on goal – but he ran into Flinders despite having two supporting players with him.
Cheltenham’s task then became much harder, as Boyle struggled to sort his feet out and tussled with Matt before bringing him down and the referee sent him off.
Adebayo Azeez then found himself in on goal, but Flinders made a superb diving save to claw his shot wide with four minutes to go – but it still proved to be the last meaningful action as Tillson’s header from a corner was unable to force an equaliser for Cheltenham.
NEWPORT COUNTY: Day (Gk), Butler, Demetriou, O’Brien © (Pipe 46), Poole, Bennett, Bakinson (Sheehan 46), Willmott, Azeez, Matt (McKirdy 90), Amond.
Subs not used: Townsend (Gk), Forbes, Kennedy, Marsh-Brown.
ROBINS: Flinders (Gk), Hussey, Tozer ©, Dawson (Bingham 64), Broom, Boyle, Waters (Maddox 86), Raglan, Tillson, Clements, Varney (Barnett 65).
Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), Thomas, Forster, Pring.
ATTENDANCE: 3192 (242 from Cheltenham)