NEWPORT County AFC were not at their best as they overcame struggling Stevenage to continue their push for promotion.

County travelled to the Lamex Stadium in fifth, three points behind the automatic promotion places.

James Rowberry made one change to the team which beat Bristol Rovers last week, with James Clarke returning from suspension, and Ryan Haynes dropping to the bench.

County were certainly not at their best, struggling to control the game for large portions of it – but managed to overcome a stubborn Stevenage side to make it six unbeaten.

The visitors came out of the blocks fastest, with Luke Prosser forced to hook Cameron Norman’s early cross out from under his own bar and out for a corner.

There were limited chances for Rowberry’s side – with Finn Azaz’s effort from the edge of the box the only real shot – however this floated harmlessly wide.

But the hosts, who are struggling towards the bottom of the league, grew into the game, and looked the most likely to break the deadlock.

Nick Townsend was forced into two important saves to keep the scores level.

The County stopper was on hand to stop a Jake Taylor effort from the edge of the box, diving to his right – and almost diving past it – to push it clear.

The ball was then passed back to him, and his clearance ricocheted off the onrushing striker. Fortunately for County, it went clear.

Minutes later, Townsend was called upon once again.

An underhit backpass saw Stevenage break through, but the County stopper slid to ball away. It came out as far Zain Westbrooke, but Townsend was up again to tip over his ranged effort.

Stevenage’s pressure late in the half led to Jake Cain being replaced by Matty Dolan a minute before the break, while Rowberry was forced into a second change at half-time – with Lewis, who had gone down injured in the first half, replaced by Ryan Haynes.

Whatever Rowberry told his side at half-time clearly had an impact.

Within minutes of the restart, the hosts failed to clear a corner from the right, and Telford ended up with the ball on the left wing. His low cross into the six-yard box found Rob Street, who tapped home his first goal for the club.

It was almost two shortly after, as a Matty Dolan free-kick sailed just past the post from 25 yards out, just to the right of centre.

But once again the hosts kept County on their toes. Luke Norris latched onto a ball down the left and struck a fierce shot into the Exiles fans behind the goal.

A double change for the hosts saw Ed Upson, who left Rodney Parade in January, and Jamie replaced by Charlie Carter and Elliott List – and it was List who called Townsend into action once more.

List tried to control a high ball in from the right, but Townsend dived at his feet and got the ball away.

Moments later, it was 2-0 thanks to an unlikely goalscorer.

Ryan Haynes picked up the ball and had half the pitch to run into. He cut inside and curled a right-footed effort into the far corner from at least 25-yards.

With the lead safe, Rowberry saw fit to rest top scorer Dom Telford. It hadn’t really worked for Telford, and he was rested for the last 10 minutes, replaced by Lewis Collins.

Stevenage continued to put the pressure on County, with List firing high and wide when cutting in from the left, and Read curling an effort over from the edge of the box.

But it was the Exiles who secured the win, which saw them rise into the automatic promotion places.