IT was far from a happy new year for Newport County AFC as relegation-threatened Northampton Town escaped Rodney Parade with three points.

Goals in either half from Hallam Hope and Darren Carter gave the Cobblers a much needed victory in their battle to beat the drop in League Two.

Harry Worley had cancelled out Hope's opener with a header in first half stoppage time but County were caught out again just after the break as Carter beat Lenny Pidgeley with a fierce drive from the edge of the area.

County missed a host of second half chances and were denied a point when the excellent Matt Duke saved Andy Sandell's 88th minute penalty.