SOMETIMES you just have to throw your hands up and admit that whatever you do, it isn’t going to be good enough.

It might be as you attempt to talk your way out of a parking or a speeding ticket, it might be as you address a prickly teenage son or daughter.

For Newport County AFC, Saturday was one such day.

This was the second time in three away trips that the Exiles have headed back down the M6 beaten and bowed, hammered by a three goal deficit, but the comparisons to Newport’s rotten outing at Rochdale begin and end with the scoreline.

At Spotlands they were gutless and woeful, at Highbury they were certainly unlucky and arguably robbed of the chance to even be competitive.

Make no mistake, few clubs in the land are going to accrue away points on an afternoon where they are reduced to ten men and facing a penalty kick after less than 180 seconds.

Even less would be able to manage a result also dealing with an injury crisis and a refereeing display that will be remembered long after this contest is forgotten about.

Where to start with Mr Andy Haines, the referee in question?

Probably a week ago, when Mr Haines refereed the top-of-the-table Championship clash between Burnley and QPR.

The headlines from the game? Almost exclusively with Mr Haines after he sent off the Burnley mascot Bertie Bee for jokingly offering the assistant referee a pair of spectacles. And that’s quite some thunder to steal considering it was a battle between the top two in the division and Joey ‘never in the papers’ Barton was struck by a bottle thrown from the crowd.

But if Mr Haines was the main event at Turf Moor he was the whole show at Highbury, making his mark throughout and infuriating Newport to the point that an FA charge for Justin Edinburgh for his post match comments seems likely.

It was hard not to sympathise with Edinburgh though, not least because Mr Haines didn’t always seem capable of keeping up with play. Little wonder he has an entire (and not complimentary) Facebook page in his honour.

Newport’s misery began when Willmott failed to clear and the ball bounced back fortuitously for the hosts, meaning Willmott had to attempt to race back to prevent what looked a certain goal.

The irony, of course, is that a goal would’ve punished Newport less than Willmott’s block, with his arm, on the line.

Much like the ‘denying a clear goalscoring opportunity’ rule, the deliberate handball rule has an element of double jeopardy about it and Newport seemed essentially down and out while some fans were still battling the wind and rain to find their seats.

However, despite having every right to feel aggrieved and an excuse for a poor display, the disappointment only seemed to galvanise the Exiles.

After ten minutes they took control of the contest and were on the ascendency until the interval, with the winds at their back they looked a constant threat and they silenced the home faithful. They did all that they could, apart from score.

Chris Zebroski was denied three times, most notably when Scott Davies made a stunning save following Billy Jones’ accurate corner, tipping Zebroski’s firmly struck header around the post.

However, an even better chance arrived for Washington who raced half the length of the field after a fortuitous bounce, the youngster typically doing absolutely everything right as he motored towards goal, but his delightful dink over the goalkeeper came back off the inside of the post.

It seemed unlikely ten men could continue to so utterly dominant 11 and so it proved after the interval, Steve Schumacher scoring a stunner from 30-yards to add to his earlier penalty.

The game was essentially over and we still had over 40 minutes to go, but things became more and more farcical for County.

There was little they could do about an incredibly harsh penalty after Ryan Jackson and David Ball tangled in the area and Schumacher was able to complete his hat-trick, but one could question why Newport didn’t make more on an issue of a floodlight failure that left a portion of the playing field in virtual darkness.

There was laughter from the County bench when they finally got on the scoresheet, a clear handball not even yielding a booking as Zebroski bagged a consolation for County and Edinburgh and Jimmy Dack were left to lament inconsistencies.

However, the hosts got the last laugh; David Ball added some sparkle to an extremely harsh final score despite the Cod Army dominating the second period.

Fleetwood: Davies, Murdoch, Pond, Evans, Schumacher, Hughes, Hogan (McLaughlin 43), Cresswell, Sarcevic, Taylor, Ball (Dieseruvwe 83)

Subs not used: Roberts, Parkin, Blair, Brown, Lucas

Booked: Hogan

Newport: Pidgeley, Jackson, Jones, Oshilaja, Yakubu, Willmott, Minshull (Pipe 43), Chapman, Naylor (Crow 83), Zebroski, Washington (Jolley 83)

Subs not used: Stephens, Flynn, Redman

Booked: Minshull, Jackson, Zebroski

Sent off: Willmott

Referee: Andy Haines

Attendance: 3254