NEWPORT County enjoyed another pre-season win after edging out Gloucester City 2-0 in Cinderford.
The Exiles produced a spluttering performance before upping their game in the final half hour to beat their hosts thanks to a pair of neat finishes by substitute striker Rene Howe.
They added to victories over Evesham, Cirencester and Weston-super-Mare, although manager Justin Edinburgh will have been given plenty of food for thought by a display that at times was sloppy and lethargic.
But he will be pleased to have given more minutes to his squad and, importantly, avoided any fresh injuries.
The Exiles made a bright start with Christian Jolley striking the outside of the posts with a first-time effort from left-back Andy Sandell’s low cross.
That was as good as it got in a frustrating half as Gloucester, managed by former County boss Tim Harris, took command against an Exiles side that were being too charitable with possession.
It took a fine block on the edge of the box by Ryan Jackson to deny ‘home’ skipper Lewis Hogg before Scott Wilson was inches away from cross from the right.
County bossed proceedings against Conference South side Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday, stretching their hosts and testing them from the channels, but were failing to keep hold of the ball against Conference North outfit Gloucester, much to the frustration of Edinburgh.
In Somerset it was the failure to convert first-half chances that was the frustration while in the Forest of Dean it was the failure to create any.
The second quarter of the game was more even, albeit without either side crafting any clear chances and it was scoreless at the break.
Jolley once again had a chance to strike soon after the restart but his goal-bound shot, after keeper Mark Green had made a mess of coming to collect a high ball, was blocked.
County started to apply some pressure approaching the hour with Lee Minshull’s excellent header from substitute Mark Byrne’s corner headed off the line before Joe Parker forced Green into a routine save at his near post from Chris Zebroski’s lay-off.
But the starters didn’t get their chance to earn a lead because Edinburgh, just as he did in Weston, emptying his bench on the hour.
That prompted an upturn in fortunes with County starting to apply the pressure and use the ball more wisely.
Striker Rene Howe’s left-footed effort on the turn was just over the bar, triallist Chris Jones’ shot was deflected wide and then the winger set up midfielder Yan Klukowski to nod wide from close-range when he really should have hit the target.
But the breakthrough eventually came when Howe sidefooted home on 74 minutes from Ryan Jackson’s low cross from the right after the right-back had been released by Shaun Jeffers.
The Exiles kept pressing in a bid to secure the spoils and the clincher came when Howe coolly slotted when put clean through with five minutes left.
Gloucester City: M Green, M Green, B Jones, S Avery, M Williams, R Winters, L Hogg (captain), A Connolly, A Mann, S Wilson, M Groves. Subs used: C Griffin, W Morford, N Jarvis, E Chamberlain, S Hamilton, T Webb, J Hartson, H Rivers.
Newport County: L Pidgeley, R Jackson, I Yakubu (D Jones 60), A Hughes (K Feely 60), A Sandell (captain, R Willmott 60), A Chapman (M Byrne 45), M Flynn (J Cleaver 85), L Minshull (Y Klukowski 60), J Parker (C Jones 60), C Zebroski (R Howe 60), C Jolley (S Jeffers 60).
Goals: R Howe (2)