IT SHOULD have been more comprehensive, but Newport County AFC banished memories of last week’s defeat at Morecambe with a much-improved display and a 1-0 win courtesy of Padraig Amond’s second-half strike.

Manager Michael Flynn said he would have taken off eight last week at the Globe Arena if he could have but he restrained himself to four changes to the starting XI and his side responded superbly.

Captain Joss Labadie and key defender Mark O’Brien returned from injury and Sean Rigg and Robbie Willmott were recalled.

Dan Butler, Scot Bennett and Matty Dolan all dropped to the bench, while Tom Owen-Evans was not involved at all.

Former County midfielder Mitch Rose returned to Rodney Parade after his summer move to Grimsby but he wouldn’t have recognised the pitch, which sparkled in the warm autumnal sun.

And there was a familiar face in the away dugout as former Cardiff City manager Russell Slade returned to South Wales, welcomed by a chorus of ‘Cardiff reject’ by the fans behind him in the Hazell stand.

The home supporters had more important things to focus on once the action got under way, however, and they enjoyed an excellent first-half display from their team.

County were dominant from the off and had an incredible five attempts cleared off the line before the break.

Labadie, Amond, O’Brien, Ben White and Mickey Demetriou were all denied by goal line clearances.

Amond and Rigg also hooked efforts just off target in separate attacks and O’Brien and Ben Tozer were denied by Mariners goalkeeper James McKeown.

Flynn’s men were full of energy and they hassled and harried their opponents from the off, displaying the tenacity that the boss felt was missing at Morecambe last week.

At the other end old foe Jamille Matt crossed for Martin Woolford to head into the side netting and the big striker then saw a header of his own easily plucked out of the air by Joe Day, who was a spectator for much of the first 45 minutes.

South Wales Argus:

Rose was taken off at the break as Slade brought on Luke Summerfield in an attempt to change the momentum of the match.

And Grimsby were brighter at the start of the second period as Matt came to a fore.

The former Kidderminster Harriers front man forced a fine save from Day and was also denied by a fine tackle from David Pipe shortly afterwards.

Matt did have the ball in the net only to be denied by an offside flag as the visitors threatened to make a game of it.

But, after a quiet period in attack, County finally got the breakthrough they deserved in the 63rd minute.

A long throw from Ben Tozer found its way to Amond in the box and he poked the ball past his old friend McKeown to claim his third goal in six starts.

Slade made another change, bringing on Diallang Jaiyesimi and the substitute forced Day into a superb with a low drive at the far post.

Fellow sub Summerfield saw a long distance effort deflected behind by Demetriou as the visitors pushed for a way back into the game.

Labadie received a standing ovation as he was replaced by Bennett for the final 11 minutes and O’Brien was also clapped off as he made way for Butler shortly afterwards.

Grimsby felt there was a foul by White on Matt in the box but referee Antony Coggins saw nothing untoward.

And, in truth, there were relatively few scares for the Exiles in the closing stages as they held on for a morale-boosting win that lifts them to eighth in the table.

County: Day; Pipe, O’Brien (Butler, 83), Demetriou, White; Willmott, Labadie (Bennett, 79), Tozer, Rigg; Nouble, Amond (McCoulsky, 89)

Subs not used: Bittner, Dolan, Reynolds, Quigley

Referee: Antony Coggins

Attendance: 3,356 (243 Grimsby)

Argus star man: Labadie