NEWPORT County AFC missed the chance to climb back into the League Two play-off places as they were pegged back 10 minutes from time at Rodney Parade.

Matty Dolan’s 54th minute strike – his first for the club – looked to have earned Michael Flynn’s men the three points that would have taken them to fifth in the table.

But substitute Anton Forrester grabbed a late equaliser for Port Vale to frustrate the hosts.

Vale have now lost only two of the eight games since Neil Aspin took charge last month, winning five, but this will still feel like a missed opportunity for the hosts, who remain eighth.

Mark O’Brien was passed fit so County reverted to the starting XI that overcame League One Walsall in the FA Cup last Saturday.

But there was no repeat of the Bonfire Night fireworks in a first-half that was full of endeavour from both sides but lacking in entertainment value.

It was a pretty even contest but County just about edged the opening 45 minutes.

Nouble got the fans on their feet in the 17th minute when he burst into the box from the right flank and lined up a shot towards the far corner.

But his curler was blocked, as was David Pipe’s effort soon afterwards.

At the other end Port Vale danger man Tom Pope smashed a half volley into the face of Mickey Demetriou, who put in a commanding display in the Exiles’ back three.

But the visitors seemed content to sit back and contain County in the opening stages and they were definitely wary of Shawn McCoulsky’s pace and balls over the top to utilise it.

McCoulsky went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when he met Dolan’s corner at the near post but his shot was cleared off the line by Vale defender Tom Anderson.

County seemed to lose their shape a little at the beginning of the second half as Vale, who brought on Forrester for Tyler Denton after the break, pushed forward.

But Day’s goal wasn’t seriously threatened and the Exiles will rightly argue that they deserved to take the lead nine minutes after the restart.

The goal was made by Robbie Willmott, who was fired up and fully committed all night.

The utility man, playing in an attacking central midfield role, won the ball on the edge of the box and laid it off perfectly for Dolan to slam a low drive under Vale goalkeeper Ryan Boot.

The goalscorer then picked up his fifth booking of the season following a fracas with Pope in front of the Bisley Stand, meaning he’ll miss next week’s trip to Accrington Stanley.

Aspin went for broke, throwing on new signing Chris Regis and Christian Montano in place of Danny Pugh and David Worrall.

Montano nearly made an instant impact as his shot from Marcus Harness’ cross was blocked before Willmott cleared the danger.

But it was Forrester, another substitute, who earned the visitors a point as he punished some static defending to finish coolly under Day 10 minutes from time.

Exiles substitute headed on target in stoppage time but Boot was equal to it and County had to settle for a point under the Friday night lights.

County: Day; White, O’Brien, Demetriou; Pipe, Dolan, Tozer, Butler; Willmott; Nouble, McCoulsky (Amond, 79)

Subs not used: Bittner, Bennett, Owen-Evans, Rigg, Reynolds, Jackson

Booked: Dolan, Willmott

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 2,876

Argus star man: Willmott