NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn was left baffled by his side’s slow start that saw them blown away in the opening 35 minutes at Luton Town on Saturday.

Alan Sheehan opened the scoring direct from a free-kick on 12 minutes before Danny Hylton doubled the hosts’ lead 10 minutes later.

Hylton then chipped in a penalty to put the Hatters in complete control before the break.

Joss Labadie’s goal gave County hope 10 minutes after the restart but they could not find a way back into the game and have now extended their winless run at Kenilworth Road to 28 games stretching back to 1921.

Flynn had spoken about needing to freshen up the team before the match but opted to name an unchanged starting XI.

“We had a look at them in the week and they looked really fresh,” he explained.

“Their energy levels and their GPS readings were all bang on and I thought they earned the right to start and go at them.

“I’ll be honest, I fancied us before the game. But we didn’t turn up in the first half and, fair play to Luton, they were very good.

“We looked hesitant and we just weren’t on the front foot.

“Why that happened I don’t know because everything we worked on was to be on the front foot and get at them.”

He added: “Second half we were a lot better but maybe Luton took their foot off the gas a little bit and maybe we improved.

“Well, we definitely improved. It would have been a cricket score otherwise.

“I didn’t make any subs at half-time. Sometimes you can make rash decisions.

“But the subs I did put on didn’t help us at all.”

Flynn was unhappy with referee Mark Heywood, who sent coach Wayne Hatswell to the stands for protesting the penalty award.

“The referee said that he swore but he didn’t,” said the Exiles boss.

“It was actually me swearing at our goalkeeper [after the penalty].

“But the less I say about the referee the better.”

Midfielder Reece Cole has returned to his parent club Brentford as he prepares for surgery on his knee and Malcolm Temple has stepped down from the board of directors and from his role as co-chairman.

But Flynn is focused on the visit of Yeovil Town to Rodney Parade next Saturday.

He added: “We can rest the boys up now and get ready for next Saturday, which is going to be a tough game.”