NEWPORT County coach Wayne Hatswell feels Saturday’s draw with Scunthorpe proved that the Exiles will fight until the last ball has been kicked in their battle to achieve back-to-back promotions.
Chris Zebroski’s injury time volley rescued a point for Newport against the in-form side in the division as County drew 2-2 with Scunthorpe, now 18 games unbeaten in League Two since November.
“That was a high calibre side we faced and in the first half in particular we played them off the park,” Hatswell told the Argus.
“We were looking for a response from our players to two defeats, you’re looking for men to step forward and that’s exactly what they did.
“We felt the point was the least we deserved, in the first half we were exceptional, playing on the front foot and causing them all sorts of problems and where we let ourselves down was in failing to get that second goal.
“I think that would’ve really inspired us to win the game, but the way it’s going we didn’t take our chances and got punished for a 20 minute spell.
“We gave Scunthorpe that chance to show why they are one of the best teams in the league at the moment and with the week we’d had, we knew we needed a positive result.
“But the equaliser from Zeb gives us something to cling to and so does the first half display, we were excellent and set a benchmark with the level of the display.”
Hatswell feels the point re-ignites County play-off aspirations.
“The aim is still the play-offs. We are still seven points off with three games in hand and it’s going to be tight until the end of the season,” he explained.
“We have the desire to get there, the belief we can get there and it’s still in our hands. We need to kick on now and we will look after the players and I’m sure the gaffer will rotate the squad.
“We will dig in and fight to the death; we can’t ease off in training because the minute you do that everything eases off. The players know the schedule and they can battle through and that can be key for us.”
Hatswell does, however, believe County need to be more ruthless in front of goal ahead of tonight’s clash with Fleetwood Town at Rodney Parade.
“We knew it was a problem we didn’t go in more than 1-0 up against a really good side with goalscorers throughout the team,” he said.
“Maybe before the game we’d have taken a point and with a minute to go we definitely would have!
“We have shown we don’t give up, we will fight to the death and have shown we will battle on and take that mentality into tonight’s game.
“The players who came into the side did really well and everyone is keen to play, the boys have shown that even against a top calibre side who spend £400,000 on two players, we can compete.
“We are now relishing Tuesday, the fans will be up for it, we should have a bumper crowd and if we win we’ll be right back on the shoulder of the top seven.”