Newport assistant manager Wayne Hatswell was delighted to see County’s decision to make wholesale changes pay dividends after James Clarke netted a late winner against Walsall.
Exiles boss Michael Flynn made eight changes to the side that was beaten 1-0 by Northampton in midweek and was rewarded with a 2-1 victory.
Mickey Demetriou put the hosts ahead early on but Matty Dolan missed the chance to double their lead when his penalty was saved on the stroke of half-time and Tyrese Shade levelled soon after.
However, Newport claimed the points three minutes from time when Clarke – who left Walsall for Newport this summer – headed the winner in front of the travelling fans to become an instant hero with his new supporters.
Hatswell said: “We’d had a bit of a tough week and that has lifted the spirits. We wanted to get back to winning ways and the players put in an unbelievable shift.
“We made a few changes, but we got the reaction we wanted. We’ve taken three points against a really good side.
“Some of the players who came in have been waiting for their chance a little bit longer than they may have liked. They helped us to play on the front foot, play out from the back again and play well through the midfield.”
Having dominated the first half with almost 80 per cent possession throughout, Newport could and should have moved further ahead.
“We scored in the opening 30 minutes and then we gave them a lift when we missed the penalty. Then they scored with their only shot they had in the first half and they then felt it was game on,” added Hatswell.
“It would have been more difficult for them if we had gone 2-0 up, but it is never over in this league. The fact they equalised so soon after that miss was annoying because it gave them a lift they didn’t really deserve.
“But credit to us, we dug in and stuck at it in the second half. It was a great ball from Cameron Norman for the goal and a great header from James Clarke.”
Walsall were missing former Newport skipper Joss Labadie from their ranks due to suspension and boss Matt Taylor was unhappy at seeing his side’s recent unbeaten streak come to an end.
“It was a disappointing end to what all round was a pretty decent performance,” he said.
“We showed Newport too much respect in the first half, but we were dominant in the second half and didn’t get the result we wanted.
“They gave a performance we wanted, but not the result. It is difficult to take and raw for me at the moment.
“We have to make sure the next seven days are good to take us into our next game against Bristol Rovers.
“We got into enough offensive areas to really hurt the opposition and that’s where we fell down with our performance. We will get better, but the group are working hard and are really together.”
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