TEN-MAN Newport County AFC concluded their League Two campaign with a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Oxford United.

Kemar Roofe’s stunning strike after half an hour was enough to seal the points before Mike Flynn was dismissed on the stroke of half-time.

It wasn’t the send-off that manager Jimmy Dack wanted in his final match in charge.

And it won’t have impressed manager-in-waiting Terry Butcher, who watched from the stands.

Flynn, making his 100th and possibly his last start for his hometown club, looked distraught as he trudged off and it was a far cry from the scenes before kick-off.

On an emotional day at Rodney Parade Dack got a standing ovation as he emerged from the dressing room before kick-off.

And, despite the result, he received an equally rapturous reception after the game as he said a fond farewell to south Wales after a phenomenal four years of success.

Dack made two changes from last week’s win at York City in his final starting XI as Exiles boss, recalling Flynn in place of Adam Chapman and giving Jamie Stephens a rare start in goal as Joe Day dropped to the bench.

Before it all went wrong there was nearly a fairytale for Flynn after 21 minutes as his vicious volley was heading for the top corner before being bravely blocked by Cheyenne Dunkley.

Oxford, with former County hero Danny Rose impressing, had their first real chance moments later.

Josh Ruffels hassled Aaron O’Connor into giving up possession on halfway and played in Danny Hylton and his goalbound effort was brilliantly deflected into the side-netting by makeshift centre-back Lee Minshull.

The visitors, backed by a 700-strong following in fancy dress, began to stamp their authority on the game and Alex MacDonald should have given them the lead on 27 minutes.

He intercepted a poor pass from Kevin Feely and sprinted forward into the box but skewed his shot woefully wide.

At the other end Miles Storey robbed a defender and tested U’s keeper Jamie Ashdown for the first time with a dipping shot that he tipped over.

And Minshull’s header was blocked on the line from the resulting corner.

That near miss came moments before Roofe’s rocket for Oxford on the half hour.

Rose played him in down the right and the striker on loan from West Bromwich Albion gave Stephens no chance with a fabulous strike into the top corner for his sixth goal in seven games.

Dack’s men almost got back on level terms when a Feely header was cleared off the line a minute before the break.

Then came Flynn’s moment to forget sent off as he lunged at Michael Collins in a desperate attempt to win the ball on the edge of the County area and saw red.

If it is to be his final match for the club it was a sad way for it to end for Flynn.

He posted an apology on Twitter during the second half, which read: “Sorry to let the boys down and the fans today with a red card although I don't think it was it don't change things.”

County were boosted by the return of Robbie Willmott from the bench five minutes into the second half as he replaced Storey.

And, despite their numerical disadvantage, they made a fight of it.

O’Connor thought he should have had a penalty as he tumbled in the box and Mark Byrne fired a fizzing effort straight at Ashdown.

Feely came closest to levelling with a flashing header from a Willmott cross.

Stephens did well to rush out and smother the danger from Hylton after Roofe’s initial shot was blocked by his teammate as Oxford threatened to put the game to bed.

As it was they didn’t need a second even though O’Connor’s blocked effort as the clock ticked down nearly gave the home fans something to cheer about on a day that didn’t quite work out the way anyone connected with County would have wanted it to.

County: Stephens, Jackson, Poole, Minshull, Feely, Tutonda, Flynn, Klukowski, Byrne, O’Connor, Storey (Willmott, 51)

Subs not used: Day, Sandell, Jeffers, Patten, Parker, Collins

Booked: Byrne, Storey

Sent off: Flynn

Oxford: Ashdown, Long (Humphreys, 86), Whing, Dunkley, Skarz, MacDonald, Ruffels, Collins (Hoban, 69) Rose, Hylton (O’Dowda, 89), Roofe

Subs not used: Crocombe, Ashby, Roberts, Hawtin

Booked: Hylton, Ruffels, Roofe

Referee: Mark Heywood

Attendance: 4,295 (Oxford 732)

Argus star man: Lee Minshull