Newport County thrashed Cheltenham Town 7-4 in the Leasing.com Trophy in a heavy defeat that meant the Robins exited the competition at the group stage.
Hat-tricks from Taylor Maloney and Tristan Abrahams as well as Matty Dolan’s penalty were enough for a comfortable win for Mike Flynn’s side to keep them alive in the competition.
Max Sheaf’s first Cheltenham goal had brought Michael Duff’s men level at 1-1, and although they came from two down to make it 3-3 with goals from Alex Addai and Sean Long, it would end in defeat.
Captain Ben Tozer turned home Chris Clements’ free-kick to reduce the arrears.
Fresh from his late goal against Swindon at the weekend, Addai tested Nick Townsend early on with a fearsome left-footed strike inside the area.
He had another chance moments later, rising highest to meet Will Boyle’s floated cross to nod high and wide from six yards out.
Rhys Lovett gifted Newport the lead on seven minutes when he dropped the ball under pressure from Abrahams, and Maloney was on hand to tap into an open net.
Corey Whitely almost doubled the lead when he hit the post with a powerful strike from range, with the ball bouncing off the back of Lovett and bobbling just wide.
It was a lovely goal that got Cheltenham level, Rohan Ince picking out Addai on the edge who flicked on to Sheaf, who took a touch and side footed into the net.
Dolan put the visitors back in front from the spot, rolling it into the bottom left corner after Lovett fouled Abrahams who ran onto a poor back-pass by Tozer.
Abrahams made it 3-1 moments later, rounding Lovett after he was too slow in coming off his line to slot into the empty net.
Addai pulled a goal back on 34 minutes after Chris Hussey was fouled just inside the area, Addai scoring the rebound after his low penalty was saved.
And Long brought the Robins level by nodding Hussey’s cross into the far corner after George Lloyd put off the defenders to make it a free header for the Irishman.
Abrahams got his second of the evening making it 4-3, turning in George Nurse’s cross with a terrific left footed shot on the turn.
In first-half stoppage time, Maloney scored to restore the two-goal lead, slotting home from outside the area to make it 5-3 to the Welsh side at the interval.
Maloney completed his hat-trick on 52 minutes, curling past Lovett on the edge of the area after a slight deflection off Tozer.
Abrahams was looking for a hat-trick of his own, running onto a through ball from Nurse to hit a shot straight into the sliding Boyle.
Abrahams did get his third on 67 minutes, turning on the edge of the box before firing a powerful, curling effort that flew past Lovett to make it seven.
Lloyd had a decent chance to reduce the deficit when substitute Reuben Reid’s deflected shot found him six yards out, but his diving header went straight at the ‘keeper with the goal gaping.
Tozer scored a consolation by nudging in from Clements shot from a free kick but it wasn’t enough for a late fightback.
Addai went close as the clock ticked down by getting on the end of Boyle’s lofted through pass, and flashed a shot just wide of the top right corner.
Townsend made a double save in the 90th minute, denying Lloyd one-on-one and Jacob Greaves’ follow up drive.
Cheltenham Town: Lovett, Raglan, Tozer (c), Boyle; Long, Ince, Clements, Sheaf (Reid, 58’), Hussey (Greaves, 58’); Lloyd, Addai.
Subs not used: Flinders, Brennan, Evans-Harriott, Smith.
Newport County: Townsend, Jefferies, Howkins, Woodiwiss (Bennet, 90’), Nurse; Whitely, Dolan (c), Maloney, Collins; Abrahams (Hillier, 77’), Poleon.
Subs not used: Haynes, Labadie, Amond, Matt, Jones.
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Attendance: 774 (63 away)