NEWPORT County AFC continued their love affair with the cups and their hex over Cambridge United as they cruised through to the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Padraig Amond grabbed a first-half brace before Jamille Matt and substitute Antoine Semenyo struck after the break to seal a crushing victory – County’s fourth successive win over Cambridge.

And, after memorable clashes with Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur last season, the Exiles can again dream of another exciting tie in Thursday’s draw.

Manager Michael Flynn made four changes from Saturday’s 1-0 win over Crewe Alexandra with new goalkeeper Nick Townsend and Bristol City loanee Tyreeq Bakinson making their competitive debuts and Tyler Forbes and Matt earning recalls.

First choice stopper Joe Day and young striker Mark Harris were on the bench but David Pipe and Andrew Crofts rested minor injury problems.

Cambridge made just two changes from their dramatic late win over Notts County with Liam O’Neil and former Exiles loanee Emmanuel Osadebe replacing Jabo Ibehre and David Amoo.

Osadebe, who made little impact at Rodney Parade last season, almost inadvertently created the first goal for the hosts when a clearance hit him and looped over the Exiles defence to Ade Azeez.

But the striker, who scored twice at the weekend, took a poor touch and Townsend quickly smothered the danger.

That was as good as it got for Cambridge in the first half as Amond took centre stage and County took control.

The first goal arrived on 19 minutes when Matt headed a long ball on and Harry Darling’s attempted clearance only succeeded in putting Amond clean through on goal.

The Irishman confidently powered his shot inside the post from the edge of the area to the delight of the travelling fans at the other end of the pitch.

Matt almost made it 2-0 a minute later but his close-range effort was well saved by U’s goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov.

County didn’t have long to wait to double their advantage, however, and Amond’s second goal was the result of a sublime move involving nine players.

Flynn’s men strung 14 passes together with Matt threading the final one beyond an air-kicking George Taft for Amond to slot expertly past Mitov.

The atmosphere at a sparsely-populated Abbey Stadium, already muted, became positively funereal thereafter.

Amond nearly completed his hat-trick inside 26 minutes but his half volley from Forbes’ cross was pushed round the post by Mitov.

Bakinson also went close on two occasions as the visitors dominated proceedings.

South Wales Argus:

That pattern continued after the break and County sealed the win four minutes after the restart with a deserved goal for Matt (above).

The big striker climbed high to meet Matty Dolan’s free-kick and sent a header back across goal and beyond Mitov right in front of the 101 away fans.

Cambridge, who had a big penalty appeal waved away by referee Andy Davies, made a double sub with Amoo and Barry Corr coming on.

But the Exiles continued to threaten with Forbes testing Mitov with a fierce half volley and Matt heading wide from the resulting corner.

With the game won, Flynn withdrew Josh Sheehan, Matt and Dolan to give Semenyo, Keanu Marsh-Brown and Charlie Cooper some valuable game-time.

County never looked in any danger of surrendering their grip on the game and Marsh-Brown went close with a fierce drive before Semenyo (below) put the cherry on the cake with a fine finish four minutes from time.

South Wales Argus:

The only sour note was a last-minute penalty as Forbes fouled Jake Carroll and Azeez sent Townsend the wrong way but that shouldn’t detract from a near-perfect away performance.

County: Townsend; Franks, Bennett, Demetriou; Forbes, Bakinson, Dolan (Cooper, 78), Butler; Sheehan (Marsh-Brown, 68); Matt (Semenyo, 68), Amond

Subs not used: Day, Foulston, Collins, Harris

Booked: Franks

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 1,618 (101 County)

Argus star man: Matt