Newport manager Michael Flynn hailed a “brilliant goal” from Liam Shephard after his team secured a much-needed 2-0 League Two win over 10-man Crawley at Rodney Parade.
The Exiles remain seventh in the table and their play-off spot is far from sealed, but this was a vital success in their bid for promotion.
Shephard’s goal opened the scoring and – after Crawley’s frustrations were complete late on when Tom Nichols was sent off for elbowing Shephard – Aaron Lewis sealed Newport’s win.
Flynn said: “I thought we were brilliant tonight but when you miss as many chances as we did, you start to think it’s not your night.
“But then Liam went and scored a brilliant goal. It was deflected, but I don’t care who scores really.
“I’ve given up on that because I honestly don’t know what I would have said if we hadn’t scored tonight, made a mistake, and lost the game.
“We went through the amount of points we’ve thrown away this season the other day and it’s 27 – that’s being conservative.
“We have got another tough game at Exeter on Saturday now.
“If we had taken our chances, I could have taken players off and rested some of them. We need to be clinical.
“It’s the business end of the season now and when we are fully focused, we win games.”
County battered a poor Crawley side in the first half but just could not break through.
Padraig Amond scored after captain Joss Labadie struck the post, but the striker was flagged offside.
Irishman Amond then rattled the crossbar from close range but a goal finally arrived early in the second half.
Shephard picked up possession on the corner of the box and 30 yards from goal and the defender’s brilliant strike found the bottom corner after a slight deflection.
County held firm and after Nichols saw red, there were 10 minutes of added time in which Lewis made it two after the ball was put on a plate by Newport substitute Nicky Maynard.
Crawley were disappointing throughout and failed to create clear-cut chances.
Their head coach John Yems said: “We weren’t at it tonight. We weren’t good enough all over the pitch. Newport outplayed us and we didn’t compete. It’s very disappointing.
“All red cards are difficult to take and it’s always frustrating. We have another game to play for and we will move on to the next one now.”
Newport’s Flynn added his disapproval to the chorus of criticism on the planned European Super League, which looks to have died a death with Chelsea and Manchester City set to withdraw.
“I’m glad it’s collapsed as I think it’s an absolute disgrace,” Flynn said.