A SPIRITED second-half showing was not enough to prevent another defeat for Newport County AFC at Kenilworth Road.

It is now 28 visits to Luton Town’s famous old ground without a win and this was a game that was lost in the first half.

Michael Flynn said he would think long and hard about freshening up his team for the trip to County’s bogey ground and he must be wishing he had made changes after a nightmare first 45 minutes cost his side dear in Bedfordshire.

The Exiles boss instead named the same starting XI that had beaten Grimsby Town and Crawley Town in the previous two games and they were no match for a rampant Luton side in a first half to forget.

The hosts took the lead in the 12th minute as Alan Sheehan’s free-kick beat everyone and curled into the bottom corner of Joe Day’s net.

And they never looked back from that point on as they ran Flynn’s men ragged.

Day made a fantastic save to deny Harry Cornick but it was 2-0 on 22 minutes as James Collins cut the ball back from the right for Danny Hylton to finish with a cheeky flick of his studs.

There was a brief period of respite as Mickey Demetriou ventured forward to twice head wide from Robbie Willmott set-pieces but it was pretty much one-way traffic.

Collins, Hylton and Cornick were linking up superbly to rip the County defence to shreds but Cornick and Luke Gambin sent two shots high over Day’s bar.

The hosts didn’t need a helping hand but they got it nonetheless with a soft looking penalty on 35 minutes and Hylton rubbed it in by coolly chipping the ball over Day from the spot.

Jack Stacey then hit the post and Hylton went down in the box under a Ben White challenge but somehow it remained at only 3-0 at the break.

Collins also tumbled in the box after the restart and this time picked up a yellow card for diving.

It looked like it would be more of the same in the second half with Flynn opting not to make changes at the break.

But his faith was rewarded as his team produced a much better display in the second half.

Joss Labadie was in the right place to profit from a scramble in the box and slam the ball between Marek Stech’s legs to reduce the arrears on 55 minutes (below).

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Demetriou then hooked a shot just wide and White and Ben Tozer both had goal-bound efforts blocked as the home crowd began to get a little nervous.

Mark O’Brien went into the book for a wild challenge and White had to make a superb block to deny Cornick a deserved goal.

The comeback was still on as Flynn brought on Lamar Reynolds, Shawn McCoulsky and Joe Quigley for Willmott, Labadie and Padraig Amond.

But the trio's impact was limited and there were few scares for the hosts in the closing stages.

County: Day; Pipe, O’Brien, Demetriou, White; Willmott (Reynolds, 72), Labadie (McCoulsky, 76) Tozer, Rigg; Nouble, Amond (Quigley, 78)

Subs not used: Bittner, Butler, Bennett, Dolan

Booked: White, O’Brien

Referee: Mark Heywood

Attendance: 7,681 (296 County)

Argus star man: Nouble