PADRAIG Amond’s second goal in Newport County AFC colours was enough to give his side all three points in a rain-sodden clash with Cheltenham Town at Rodney Parade.

The striker had missed a host of chances during Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers but he turned out to be County’s hero.

However, it wasn’t plain all sailing for the Exiles by any means and there were several occasions where their defending left a lot to be desired.

County went into the League Two encounter without skipper Joss Labadie due to the groin injury he picked up during the Wycombe stalemate.

Fellow midfielder Robbie Willmott also dropped out of boss Michael Flynn’s starting XI in the only other change to the side that began the draw against the Chairboys.

He took his place among the substitutes as Tom Owen-Evans and Scot Bennett were both promoted from the bench.

And there was a familiar face in Town’s ranks with Jaanai Gordon, on loan at Rodney Parade last term, one of manager Gary Johnson’s replacements.

Gordon scored his only County goal in the 1-1 draw against Cheltenham at Whaddon Road in early February.

Playing in conditions akin to those witnessed in the Caribbean and southern US recently, Town nearly made the perfect start.

Just over a minute was on the clock when Joe Day flapped at a corner and County had to scramble the ball away from the danger area.

Owen-Evans was then involved in penalty appeals at either end although neither looked convincing enough for referee Gavin Ward to point to the spot.

County, with five at the back, didn’t exactly look watertight in the opening stages, but they did get in a crucial block when Mo Eisa let fly from close range.

Fans’ favourite Owen-Evans was heavily involved in the opening period and he had County’s first real chance courtesy of a long-range effort that stung the hands of Scott Flinders.

Eisa was then gifted a great opportunity after a woeful pass by Matt Dolan sent the striker through on goal – luckily for the Exiles his shot went inches wide.

Despite looking fragile at the back, County were still creating decent openings.

And after Sean Rigg had headed just past the post, only a fingertip save by Flinders denied Owen-Evans.

Town came back strongly and it was panic stations in defence for the Exiles just after the half hour mark.

But, somewhat against the run of play at the time, County went in front on 35 minutes.

Town failed to clear a corner and Amond filled his boots when Ben White’s miscued shot fell perfectly into his path.

Flynn’s men might have made it two soon after but for a superb save by Flinders as Pipe’s thunderbolt headed towards goal.

Town boss Johnson responded with a double change at half-time, bringing Jerell Sellars and ex-County man Gordon on for Danny Wright and Eisa.

Conditions improved in the second half as Town looked for a way back into the game.

Dolan was the first name in the referee’s notebook and substitute Sellars followed him.

Other than that there wasn’t much to get excited about until the 68th minute when Amond fed a galloping Rigg and only a last-ditch Joe Morrell tackle saved Town.

Morrell and his teammates then thought they had equalised.

Kyle Storer’s header seemed to go in slow motion as it beat Day and was then nodded off the line by White – goalline technology may have worked in Town’s favour had it been available.

Willmott and Ben Tozer replaced Owen-Evans and Rigg either side of White’s rescue act and they did a good enough job of shoring up the midfield.

But Town kept pressing until the end and the home fans had their hearts in their mouths right up to the final whistle.

County: Day, Pipe (capt), Butler, White, Demetriou, Bennett, Dolan, Owen-Evans (Willmott 69), Rigg (Tozer 75), Amond, Nouble. Subs not used: Bittner, Cole, Reynolds, Quigley, Jahraldo-Martin.

Bookings: Dolan Cheltenham: Flinders, Cranston, Storer (capt), Pell, Dawson, Wright (Gordon), Winchester, Boyle, Eisa (Sellars 45), Morrell (Hinds 80), Moore. Subs not used: Flatt, O'Shaughnessy, Bower.

Bookings: Sellars

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 2,916 (231 away fans)

Argus star man: Padraig Amond