Salford boss Graham Alexander hailed Mark Howard’s penalty save as the key moment as his side ended Newport County’s 16-match unbeaten run at home in League Two with a 2-1 win at Rodney Parade.
Howard kept out Tristan Abrahams’ spot kick in the 80th minute to protect his side’s lead. Cameron Burgess put them in front with a 40th-minute header and then Lois Maynard got a second in the 55th minute.
In between, Nathan Pond headed into his own net in the 45th minute to make it 1-1 at the break.
“It was a brilliant performance. Newport have got a fantastic home record and you can see why,” said Alexander.
“They put you under immense pressure, the crowd get behind them and they put pressure on the officials as well. You have to defend your box and, apart from the goal, we did that really well.
“We played some good staff at times, even though it was a difficult pitch to play on because of the rain. When we got the ball down we found good pockets of space and we moved it well.
“We needed another goal to ease the pressure we were under at the end, but it was a massive win for us. It was a game for big physical players and that’s why we changed the squad around a little bit.
“It was a massive penalty save from Mark. You need big moments like that to go your way in games. It gave an extra boost to the players to defend for the remaining period.
“It’s important that we carry on improving, carry on feeling we belong at this level and carry on coming to tough venues like this and Mansfield and getting three points. Our away form in the last month or so has been superb.”
County manager Michael Flynn was critical of penalty taker Abrahams, a hero 10 days earlier when he converted from the spot to force a draw against Crawley Town, and of his side’s defending for the two goals.
“We lost the game to two set-plays and it’s not good enough. We worked on them, showed them and did everything, bar mark the players for them,” said Flynn.
“It’s two really cheap goals. Ryan Inniss gets done too easily (for the first) and Matty Dolan (for the second) – it’s not good enough.
“We knew what they were good at, we knew they caused a problem on set-plays, but we caused our own problems. We didn’t get near them. It’s two free headers and it’s not good enough.
“We were the better team and we should have scored four with the chance Podge missed, Sheehan should have scored when he hit the inside of the post and I don’t know what Tristan was doing with the penalty.
“I don’t mind somebody taking a penalty and missing, but not when they go down the middle. It doesn’t sit right with me.
“If he’d scored, we would have gone on and won the game – that’s what we do. If he puts it down the middle and scores then everybody says he did the right thing, but his other penalties he put them right in the corner.
“It should be a harsh lesson for us. I don’t mind if we get played off the park. I can take defeat pretty well, like last week. If you lose to a better team, you’ve just got to hold your hands up. But, not today.”