MANAGER Michael Flynn hailed his Newport County AFC side for battling for a point against a Leyton Orient side spearheaded by a giant striker who was one his top summer targets.

The Exiles drew 2-2 with Orient in the League Two encounter at Rodney Parade thanks to substitute Dom Telford’s smart finish with 11 minutes to go.

It had looked like the visitors were going to head back to London with three points after Harry Smith scored two headers either side of a Matty Dolan penalty.

The 6ft 5ins striker was a handful all afternoon to show why Flynn tried to sign him from Northampton, only for the 26-year-old to instead head for Orient on a two-year deal.

“I tried to get Harry Smith all summer,” said Flynn. “I know how good he is and how effective he is but we couldn’t get him.

“We know what a threat he is and for him to have two free headers is a bit disappointing but the attitude and fitness of the players after a tough, tough week was first-class and we should have had a penalty at the end.

“Stopping the cross would have been good for the second goal and when you have somebody as good as Harry in the air, you’ve got to double up on him and block his run.

“We needed a little bit of the dark arts of the game and hopefully we will learn from that.”

Flynn freshened up his defence by bringing back stalwarts Matty Dolan and Mickey Demetriou as part of a defensive three with Cameron Norman, who moved from right wing-back.

The manager turned to his bench to deal with the threat of Smith with Priestley Farquharson, who has had a tough start to the season, doing a superb job on the targetman.

South Wales Argus: IMPRESSIVE: Priestley Farquharson shone off the benchIMPRESSIVE: Priestley Farquharson shone off the bench

“Priestley knows why he didn’t start and I thought he was very, very good when he came on,” said Flynn. “A couple of players looked empty, not just against Salford but against Southampton.

“Some players take longer to recover and get up to speed, with all the away trips that we’ve had already we had to freshen up.”

County had a tough week with seven of their players unavailable through coronavirus or isolation while they had to make a late switch to train in Caerleon on Friday after being told their Spytty Park base was unavailable.

Flynn was content with a point but felt they should have had a chance to make it three from the spot after Ed Upson was pushed in the back.

“We haven’t lost after a difficult week and were playing against a very, very good Leyton Orient team who I expect to be there or thereabouts,” said Flynn.

“It was a great game and 100 per cent we should have had a penalty at the end. It was a poor decision by a ref (Leigh Doughty) who did alright but got one of the big decisions wrong.

“It’s been a challenging week on many fronts and I was pleased with the attitude and determination of the players.”