NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn was happy with a hard-earned point at League Two leaders Harrogate – but fired a warning to his defence after giving captain Matty Dolan the hook at half-time.

The Exiles earned a share of the spoils against the early pace-setters after an entertaining clash at Wetherby Road.

All the goals came in the first half with Scot Bennett’s early strike for County cancelled out by Jack Muldoon, then Robbie Willmott’s header was swiftly followed by a leveller by home striker Luke Armstrong.

Flynn was pleased to tot up another point on the road – five of six games have been away – but was angry at the goals his side conceded.

Harrogate’s first came when a long ball was flicked on and the second was after the hosts got in down the right and the Exiles failed to deal with the cross.

The management responded at the break by taking off captain Matty Dolan, who was at the heart of the defence, and switching from three at the back to a flat four.

South Wales Argus: LEVELLER: County conceded a second poor goal to Luke ArmstrongLEVELLER: County conceded a second poor goal to Luke Armstrong

“The goals that we gave away were nowhere near good enough, and I told them that at half-time,” said Flynn.

“That’s three games now – Salford, Leyton Orient and Harrogate – where we have given away really poor goals. That’s not like us and that’s why we changed the formation by making a change at half-time.

“Anybody who understands or can see a game of football, those goals were terrible. They were awful.

“I am not going to let that continue and people will find themselves out of the team, it doesn’t matter who they are.”

The goals angered the manager but result left him a happy man ahead of the post-match coach journey back to Newport.

South Wales Argus:

“It was a very good point against a team top of the league, high in confidence and who have been together a long time,” said Flynn. “They are a tough nut to crack, especially at home.

“We didn’t play as well on the ball as we can but it’s hard at Harrogate because they get in your face, stop you playing and you can see why they have started the season so well.

“Harrogate played some good stuff and can do a bit of everything, that’s what makes them dangerous and they’ve got an honest bunch of lads who work hard for each other. This is a tough place to come and I’m glad that we got a point.”

County have eight points from six games and now have a pair of games on home soil with Northampton on Tuesday and Walsall on Saturday.

“We’ve played five away games and we are five points better off than coming to those places last season.

“With the amount of travelling we have done so far, and add in Ipswich in the Carabao Cup, it’s a good start. I have an honest group in there and I will back them to the hilt.

“It’s early days but we have two tough home games now to be ready for. There will be players that were not involved trying to get involved, while the boys that came on did very well.

“It’s an interesting selection dilemma for Tuesday and there will be some unhappy boys. They’ve got to work hard every day to get into the team.”

Forward Jermaine Hylton is still not available after missing the last two games while teenage midfielder Aneurin Livermore, who made an impressive cameo against Leyton Orient, missed out at Harrogate through illness but has tested negative for coronavirus.