VIDEO: New boys inspire County to vital win and renewed hope
A WEEK is a long time in politics, so they say, and three days can seem like an eternity in football.
Doom and gloom after another demoralising defeat at Rodney Parade on Wednesday gave way to relief and hope for Newport County AFC after Saturday's vital win at Torquay United.
What a difference a few new signings, the return of an old favourite and a bit of luck can make.
The arrival of Wales international Darcy Blake and Irish under-21 defender Kevin Feely on Friday gave everyone around the club a much-needed lift and that transferred to the pitch on Saturday.
With David Pipe banned and Ryan Jackson, Ismail Yakubu, Byron Anthony and Andy Sandell all injured, manager Justin Edinburgh had little choice but to act.
He had to bring in some fresh blood but he was immediately rewarded for his quick response to the defensive crisis.
Edinburgh ditched his preferred 5-3-2 formation in favour of a flat back four and Andrew Hughes and Tom Naylor responded well as they were both shifted to the full-back positions.
The recall of Mike Flynn as captain also proved an inspired move as he bossed the midfield but most of the credit will go to the new boys and rightly so.
There were big question marks over Blake's fitness as he hadn't played a first team game since December 2012 but he lasted the pace and used his experience to help the hugely impressive Feely through the game.
As Edinburgh said, the pair looked like they'd been playing together for months.
"We changed the system slightly and Darcy Blake and Kevin Feely came in and were superb," said the Exiles boss.
"They only met each other and the rest of the team on Friday so they had very limited time to work together but they played very well.
"The whole back four played well. Young Kevin Feely was excellent and he was marshalled superbly by Darcy."
County can play a lot better than they did at Plainmoor on Saturday and they did have luck on their side but, after the last few months, they will argue that they deserved the rub of the green.
The Gulls' fans and management were angry with referee Gary Sutton and Flynn over the straight red card shown to Shamir Goodwin on 34 minutes.
The home midfielder definitely led with his elbow as he challenged Flynn for a high ball but it was hard to tell if there was any malice from Goodwin.
What is certain is that it helped the Exiles to claim a much-needed three points and end a run of just one win in 15 games but they were already 1-0 up before the controversial incident.
The only goal of the game came after only eight minutes with a quick free-kick from Naylor in the right-back position finding Danny Crow in space.
He moved the ball inside to Adam Chapman and an intelligent through ball put Chris Zebroski in on goal.
But there was still much work to do and the Exiles' top scorer did brilliantly to clip the ball over defender Dale Tonge and goalkeeper Martin Rice and into the bottom corner from a very tight angle.
Rock bottom Torquay responded well but only really troubled County from set-pieces with Kevin Nicholson and Billy Bodin both going close.
The sending off put County in charge and Zebroski had two chances to put the game to bed before Andrew Hughes headed against the post from Robbie Willmott's cross.
But the longer the game went on at 1-0 the more the nerves grew for the Exiles and their superb band of 860 travelling fans.
And in the end they were thankful to goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin for a superb double save after a frantic scramble in the box to secure all three points in the dying minutes.
Torquay: Rice, Tonge (O'Connor, 69), Downes, Pearce, Nicholson (Craig, 68); Goodwin, Mansell, Lathrope, Bodin; Showunmi (Yeoman, 59), Benyon
Subs not used: Poke, Harding, Hawley, Stockley
Red card: Goodwin
County: McLoughlin, Hughes, Feely, Blake, Naylor; Minshull, Flynn, Chapman (Porter, 82); Crow (Holloway, 75), Zebroski, Willmott (Jeffers, 90)
Subs not used: Burge, Worley, Jolley
Referee: Gary Sutton
Attendance: 2,874 (860 County)
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