A THIRD successive win came at a cost for Newport County AFC with Aaron O’Connor sent off and defender Andrew Hughes picking up a knee injury.

O’Connor opened the scoring on 26 minutes and Darren Jones added a second just before the break to see off Stevenage 2-0.

The result extends County’s unbeaten run to nine games in League Two and lifted them to sixth in the table.

But O’Connor’s straight red card for a petulant swipe at Dean Wells in second half stoppage time took a lot of the gloss off the day.

The Exiles intend to appeal against the referee’s decision but unless they are successful the in-form striker will miss the next three games.

O’Connor will have Christmas off as he looks set to miss the trip to his former club Luton Town next Saturday, the Boxing Day clash with Plymouth Argyle and Cheltenham Town away on December 28.

And star defender Hughes could also be sidelined by a knee injury that forced him off in the second half against Stevenage.

“I’m confident that we’ll get the red card rescinded but we may have lost Andrew Hughes as well,” said manager Justin Edinburgh.

“He’ll need a scan early in the week but it looks like he’s got a problem with his knee, which would be a massive blow.

“But all in all it’s been a good day with three points and we continue to look up.”

Edinburgh admitted that his side weren’t at their best in a physical encounter and suggested the two week break from competitive action was to blame.

“The two weeks without a game did show a little bit throughout the performance,” he said.

“There wasn’t the fluency in the passing that we usually have but in terms of effort and commitment it was top drawer from the players.

“The group is focused now and every day in training they are pushing each other.

“The run can go on as long as we keep working as hard as we do,” he added.

“I always say it’s not about me, it’s about the players.

“They earn everything that they get we are on a fantastic run now.

“We had to work hard for it but it this is a tough place to come for any side and we want to continue that.”

Edinburgh praised the performance of Jamie Stephens in goal and Shaun Jeffers up front and backed the youngsters to continue to shine at Luton.

“Jamie made a very good save at 0-0 and Shaun’s hold-up play was excellent,” he said.

“Him and Azza really linked up well and both the youngsters were excellent.

“I’ve got trust in them but everyone did well. We are performing really well as a team right now rather than as individuals and that is very good to see.”