Dom Telford celebrated being named League Two player of the month by heading home the winner in the second minute of added time at Victoria Park.

It was the County forward’s 11th goal of the season and it couldn’t have come at a more vital time as they extended their unbeaten league run to seven games – and gave new boss James Rowberry his third league win in a row.

Courtney Baker-Richardson gave James Rowberry’s men the advantage with a bullet header from a corner to end a run of two cup ties without a goal for the visitors. Then a wonderful free kick by David Ferguson brought the home team racing back into a fast and furious contest.

But Telford had the final word as he snapped up a bouncing ball in front of goal after a Ryan Haynes cross had been headed back at the far post. It meant County became the first team to win at Hartlepool this season and moved them into the play-off places.

Rowberry made three changes to the side which had thrashed Bristol Rovers 5-0 in the last league outing, with Ed Upson taking over from Robbie Wilmott, Ryan Haynes playing on the left hand side of midfield in place of Aaron Lewis and Cameron Norman replacing Jake Cain.

County found themselves in the eye of storm at the start as Hartlepool came flying out of the blocks. The visitors were forced to defend a corner within a minute of the start as the high-press from the home team forced them to defend deep.

There were certainly plenty of nervy moments for Matty Dolan and his team in the opening 10 minutes, but once they managed to get a bit of control of the ball their passing game enabled them to turn the momentum on its head.

While Hartlepool were all heart, blood and thunder, the more cultured football came from County with on-loan youngsters Oli Cooper and Finn Azaz in the thick of it all.

Starting his first league game since Barrow on 24 September, Azaz forced home keeper Ben Killip into a brilliant save as he thundered the ball goalwards after a 10 pass move that gave him the chance to run into the box and shoot.

That earned County their first corner and Dolan’s delivery caused all kinds of mayhem for the home defence before Courtney Baker-Richardson headed wide. That passage of play gave County the confidence to keep playing on the break.

Cooper, playing in similar style to another former Swansea City loanee Josh Sheehan, was a cut above everyone else on the field in the first half. His passing, running and tackling were all top drawer and one challenge he won just outside the Hartlepool box gave Dom Telford a chance to shoot.

The man who arrived at Victoria Park as the newly crowned League 2 Player of the Month turned quickly on the edge of the area, chipped over Killip and saw the ball land onto of the net inches over the bar.

Now it was County who looked he more likely to break the deadlock and so it proved in the 32nd minute when Dolan delivered a perfect corner to allow Baker-Richardson to power an unstoppable header into the net.

Hartlepool continued to be a threat moving forward and Upson pulled off a crucial tackle on the stroke of half-time on the edge of the six yard box to deny Luke Molyneux.

If they were good value for their interval lead, County were forced to weather another storm at the start of the second half as Hartlepool went in search of an equaliser. Matty Daly volleyed inches over, Molyneux picked up a loose ball and drove into the box before shooting just past the right post.

Then a free kick from 25 yards by David Ferguson missed by a whisker, but he hit the target in the 63rd minute after Mickey Demetriou had picked up a yellow card for crudely pulling down Molyneux just outside his area.

Ferguson needed no second invitation to use his left foot to curl the ball around the wall and into the top right corner. It was nothing less than his side deserved for dominating the second half.

Goals: Hartlepool United: Richardson 63. Newport County: Baker-Richardson 32

Hartlepool United (5 – 3 – 2) Killip; Ogle, Ferguson, Francis-Angol, Liddle, Byrne; Featherstone (captain), Daly, Shelton (Fondop-Talom 80); Molyneux, Cullen (Grey 74)

Subs Unused: Mitchell, Hendrie, Odusina, Crawford, Smith

Newport County: (3 – 5 – 2) Day; Demetriou, Dolan (captain), Clarke; Norman, Haynes, Azaz, Cooper (Caine 71), Upson; Baker-Richardson (Ellison 86), Telford

Subs Unused: Townsend, Lewis, Missilou, Abraham

Ref: Samuel Barrott

Att: 5764