NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn admitted failings at both ends of the pitch cost his side a vital victory over Forest Green Rovers last night.

Paul Hayes claimed a hat-trick in his first start for County after appearing to head in the first goal that was originally credited to Dan Butler.

Forest Green had gone 1-0 up through a Butler own goal before the left-back curled a shot towards the top corner and Hayes helped it on its way.

Hayes then put the Exiles 2-1 up as he nodded in thanks to another assist from Butler and then 3-2 ahead on the rebound after Mark O’Brien’s volley was superbly saved.

But substitute Lee Collins poked home eight minutes from time to earn Rovers a point after County had created and missed several chances to put the game to bed.

“It’s two points dropped,” said a frustrated Flynn. “We conceded three poor goals and we missed too many chances.

“We should have been 5-2 up and out of sight but that’s what it came down to – both boxes.”

Flynn also felt that the visitors’ second goal, scored by captain Gavin Gunning, came from a corner that should have been a goal-kick to his side.

“The second goal was a terrible decision from the linesman – he gave a corner and even someone with the poorest sight could have seen that it came off their player,” added the Exiles boss.

“I’m not one for blaming referees but it was a disgraceful decision and it got them back into it.

“We showed character again to get back in front and we should have killed the game off, it’s as simple as that.”

Flynn’s men climb to 13th in the League Two table and they are now eight points off the top seven with 11 matches to play.

They are next in action at Yeovil Town on Saturday when they will be targeting a first victory since January 19.