NEWPORT County showed their promotion ambitions are built on solid foundations at Cheltenham, in more ways than one.

The Exiles remain in the play-off positions, deservedly, after a performance that saw them earn a hard-fought point at the Abbey Business Stadium that would on another day have been enough to see them victorious.

To last the course in the rough and tumble of League Two you need character and resilience and all those buzz words coaches love, but that'll only get you so far.

You also need to be a team that is more likely to score a goal than concede one and after an uneven start, Newport now are that side more often than not, including on the road.

This was the best rearguard display of the campaign with goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley largely untroubled and all three Newport central defenders superb.

There is a big responsibility on the trio to contribute with the ball as well as without, especially as manager Justin Edinburgh essentially played 5-2-3 rather than 5-3-2, but the understanding of when to push up and support Tom Naylor and Adam Chapman was eye catching.

And but for a lick of paint and an inch on the goal line, Newport would've scored.

Conor Washington rattled the woodwork and Naylor was inexplicably denied a tap-in from a corner in the second half, but it was in the first period that Newport most underlined their credentials.

County were by far the better side before the break and attacked with more pace and potency.

Not a single Cheltenham player could match the trio of Ryan Jackson, Christian Jolley and Washington for sheer speed and that looked like it would be decisive, perhaps it should've been.

Built on the solid foundations provided by their back five currently impervious to conceding and driven on by the hustle and bustle of Tom Naylor and Adam Chapman, the Exiles were slick and quick.

However, they didn't test home goalkeeper Scott Brown enough, failing to find the target when they produced their best moments.

Hesitancy is punished to its fullest by players with pace and from such a moment the best chance of the first half was produced, Jackson seizing the ball and motoring into the area as Jolley made space for him, but he blazed over from 12 yards.

County were having no trouble containing the wily Jamie Cureton but ex-loanee at Spytty Park Sam Deering had brief moments, firing wide after making a nuisance of himself in the space between midfield and defence.

After the break the quality from County dipped but the legitimacy of their scoring chances only increased, Washington agonisingly denied by the woodwork after slick build-up play saw Naylor slip him through with a great ball.

County went even closer when Cheltenham failed to deal with a Robbie Willmott corner and a scrambled ensued, Naylor getting what appeared to be a decisive touch before intervention from Russ Penn prevented a County winner.

Pidgeley was largely untroubled, pushing away a Cureton effort from range before the only moment of panic in the Newport defence, Cureton missing the target with a free header from close range.

But the Exiles didn't have the same level of efficiency about their attacking play as defensive and struggled to retain the ball in the final third. Danny Crow played very much as the front line player and it seemed curious Edinburgh didn't drop him deeper as the match progressed.

By the death a contest low on chances was veering violently like a basketball match from one end to the other, but neither side gambled enough bodies forward to force a goal, Yakubu producing a perfect tackle to prevent the best Cheltenham chance.

It was from a Newport perspective a great shame because the Amber Army seemed determined to suck the ball into the net, their raucous and huge following - 964 - another foundation on which a League Two promotion push can be based.

Cheltenham: Brown, Jombati, Braham-Barrett, Noble, Brown, Elliott, Taylor, Richards (McGlashen 65), Harrison (Gornell 65), Cureton, Deering (Penn 72)

Subs not used: Roberts, Hanks, Kotwica, Vincent

Booked: Noble, Elliott

Newport: Pidgeley, Jackson, Willmott, Oshilaja, Yakubu, Worley, Naylor, Chapman (Minshull 78), Crow, Jolley (Barker 84), Washington

Subs not used: Hughes, James, Jones, Stephens, Flynn

Booked: Chapman, Oshilaja

Referee: Andy Madley

Attendance: 3501 (964 away)