A BRAVE and spirited display from Newport County AFC wasn’t enough as they exited a second cup competition in four days at Rodney Parade last night.

This was nothing like the humiliation at non-league Kidderminster on Saturday, however, with the Exiles making an extremely good fist of things against a top class Posh managed by Alex Ferguson’s son Darren.

Not until Grant McCann’s deflected effort in injury time could the visitors truly relax despite taking an early lead with their first shot on goal and that’s to Newport’s extreme credit.

Indeed, the Exiles started the brighter side, just as they did at Aggborough on Saturday, but once more they failed to show the killer touch in front of goal we’ve come to expect from them.

Robbie Willmott – moved into midfield – tested Bobby Dejnik early and then Tom Naylor’s header from David Pipe’s centre was also grasped by the goalkeeper.

Newport have been incredibly resolute defensively in all but a handful of clashes this term, but they were cut wide open in the 13th minute and went behind.

It was actually a very Newport goal to score, rampaging fullback Kgosi Nthe – A South African international - given too much time and too much space and he drilled across goal, the ball deflecting into the roof of the net via a big touch from Jamie Stephens who may feel he should’ve done better.

Stephens was one of four changes made by boss Justin Edinburgh with the experienced trio of Christian Jolley, David Pipe and Andy Sandell all recalled and Pipe came within a whisker of producing a leveller on 20 minutes. His perfect cross after a marauding run demanded a finish, but Conor Washington could only scoop the ball over the bar.

The visitors were a quality outfit, as you’d expect from a club who were within seven minutes of remaining in the Championship last season and used the ball more efficiently than the Exiles.

However, County weren’t lacking for effort and endeavour and they were at least resolute, Stephens saving a couple of efforts from range from Lee Tomlin and Shaun Jeffers as the Exiles searched for parity.

The closest they came was with the final sequence of the first half, Robbie Willmott twisting away from his marker and blasting at goal, but Dejnik tipped away acrobatically.

Edinburgh reacted positively at half time by sacrificing Andrew Hughes for striker Danny Crow with Mike Flynn also introduced, but one sensed this was a clash where even a half chance would need to be converted against a mean Posh backline.

They immediately began to exert themselves but once again found their composure lacking in the final third, Flynn and then Christian Jolley both missing the target with volleys.

Jolley was given license to drop off into space and it paid dividends with him seeing far more of the ball, his best effort coming on the hour when his wicked curler was superbly stopped by Dejnik.

The Austrian U21 was in inspired form as Newport pushed and pushed and inevitably became vulnerable to the counter-attack, Robbie Willmott hacking off the line from Grant McCann’s effort as the Exiles dug in.

Edinburgh’s ability to change the game by means of personnel was helped when Stephens was withdrawn with a muscle injury, Lenny Pidgeley sent on with half an hour left.

The Exiles pushed forward far more responsibly than the Kamikaze football they displayed at Kidderminster in the FA Cup chasing a deficit, but the quality of opposition more than anything made the quest for parity an odyssey.

Willmott was again denied by Dejnik as the Exiles threw caution to the wind, Washington blazing over when a cool head was required as the visitors began to fall deeper and deeper in a bid to protect their advantage.

It was stellar stuff from Newport who gave every ounce of energy, but they became susceptible to the break and after making a couple of smart stops, Pidgeley was helpless when McCann’s 20-yarder deflected off the excellent Deji Oshilaja and into the bottom corner.

There was even time for a cruel third, sub Nathaniel Mendez Laing finishing from an acute angle after rounding Pidgeley with the last kick of the contest.

Newport County: Stephens (Pidgeley 62), Pipe, Sandell, Oshilaja, Worley, Hughes (Crow 46), Chapman, Naylor (Flynn 46), Willmott, Jolley, Washington

Subs not used: Minshull, Barker

Booked: Sandell,

Peterborough United: Dejnik, Little (Knight-Percival 37), Bostwick, Brisley, Nthe, McCann, Anderson, Swanson (Ferdinand 64), Tomlin, Assombalonga, Jeffers (Mendez-Laing 70)

Subs not used: Day, Payne, Ferdinand,

Booked: Swanson,

Attendance: 1750 (away 165)

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Argus star man: Deji Oshilaja