NEWPORT County capped off an impressive display at Rodney Parade tonight with a point thanks to Robbie Willmott’s last-gasp leveller.

The Exiles were on top form throughout this contest but simply couldn’t overcome a stunning display from visiting goalkeeper Chris Dunn and had looked set for a shock defeat.

The combined might of the British police might have left Rodney Parade, but manager Justin Edinburgh will feel like Newport were mugged on Tuesday as the visitors cleared from the line twice, produced a save of the season candidate and saw their woodwork shaken, in addition to scoring with their only clearcut chance.

Indeed, she might be the most famous person in the world currently dealing with morning sickness, but not even the Duchess of Cambridge would have been able to touch Edinburgh this morning when it comes to nausea if it hadn’t have been for Willmott’s late heroics.

An enforced nine-day hiatus for County due to the NATO Summit couldn’t have possibly arrived at a worse time as the Exiles looked to show some impetus from their fine win at Fratton Park over Portsmouth.

However, Edinburgh could do little about his enforced change, injury meaning Shaun Jeffers dropped out of the squad, though Aaron O’Connor had shaken off a dead leg to join Chris Zebroski in spearheading the Exiles attack.

The Exiles were looking for tangible signs of progress following their smash and grab triumph at Fratton Park and they certainly got them in a one-sided first period where the Exiles created enough chances to put the game to bed by the interval.

Just like the M4 last week thanks to NATO this was very much one-way traffic, Newport fashioning more than enough opportunities to take the lead.

They should’ve led on only seven minutes when Lee Minshull headed at goal, but defender Matteo Lanzoni cleared off the line.

It was a stand-out moment for Lanzoni who was tortured for the remainder of the half by Robbie Willmott, County’s left wingback beating his man time and again as the Exiles probed and pushed patiently and pertinently, they did so without their usual aerial bombardment.

This was measured, calculated football and it allowed Adam Chapman and Mark Byrne to control the midfield.

Byrne came close on ten minutes with a 25-yarder just over and he was also involved in the move that allowed skipper Darren Jones to head across for O’Connor, but he couldn’t hit the target.

That was the story of the half for Newport’s number nine who might have had a hat-trick on a different day, missing an even better chance on 30 minutes.

This time it was Ryan Jackson who crossed after Chapman’s exquisite 30-yard pass over the top, but O’Connor kicked fresh air with the goal at his mercy.

The Exiles kept pressuring and Kevin Feely’s header from a corner also came back off the goal-line via a defender.

However, County saved their best chance of the half for last, Willmott again providing the ammunition as he picked out Minshull perfectly, but his firm, downward header (in other words, he did everything right) produced a simply stunning save from Chris Dunn, who tipped away spectacularly.

It was a big ask for Newport to maintain their performance level after the interval and they paid a heavy price for starting slowly as the visitors took the lead with their very first effort on goal.

It was a preventable goal, the Exiles a step slow in trying to clear a hopeful pass and sub Luke Chadwick needed no invitation to slot home brilliantly within 180 seconds of his introduction.

The Exiles didn’t deserve to be behind, but football is a cruel sport, as Chadwick will tell you, no sooner had he scored than a hamstring injury forced him off.

Newport had nothing like the same cohesion after the goal and couldn’t exert the same level of pressure as in the first period, but there was at least a good spirit about them as they chased the arrears.

Fratton Park goal hero Andy Sandell entered the fray as did Christian Jolley as County again looked to pile on the pressure, though they must surely have felt their luck was out when Mark Byrne’s 25-yarder rattled the crossbar.

The Exiles were doing all they could and more having failed to capitalise on close to 20 corners, but finally the goal came with seconds remaining of normal time, Cambridge conceding possession to Sandell who crossed for Willmott who finished with real aplomb to give Newport a point, the very least they deserved.

Newport County (3-5-2): Day, Feely (Klukowski 82), Jones, Hughes, Willmott, Jackson, Byrne, Chapman, Minshull (Sandell 65), O’Connor (Jolley 74), Zebroski

Subs not used: Pidgeley, Yakubu, Flynn, Parker

Booked: None

Cambridge United: Dunn, Lanzoni, Coulson, Nelson, Taylor, Diallo, Hughes, Donaldson, Dunk (Lennon 85), Elliott, Bird (Chadwick 46, Whittall 58)

Subs not used: Norris, Tait, Stockley, B.Taylor

Booked: Elliott

Referee: Steve Martin (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 2594

Argus star man: Robbie Willmott