TEENAGE substitute Mark Harris earned Newport County AFC a deserved point with a late equaliser at League Two promotion hopefuls Exeter City.

The 19-year-old Cardiff City loanee cancelled out Jayden Stockley’s first-half header with a cool finish to rescue a point for Michael Flynn’s men with just nine minutes remaining at St James Park.

Goalkeeper Joe Day and right wing-back David Pipe returned to the starting XI in place of Nick Townsend and Tyler Forbes.

But they were the only two changes from Tuesday’s crushing 4-1 Carabao Cup win at Cambridge United.

Jamille Matt, who claimed his first Exiles goal and two assists at the Abbey Stadium, retained his place alongside Padraig Amond up front.

And Tyreeq Bakinson got another chance to impress in central midfield as skipper Andrew Crofts was ruled out with a toe injury.

Mickey Demetriou captained the side, while fellow centre-back Mark O’Brien returned to the bench after recovering from an ankle problem.

County began brightly and Matt twice went close to breaking the deadlock in the sixth minute.

The striker’s first effort, a fiercely struck half volley, was tipped round the post by Christy Pym.

The second was a hooked effort from the corner that hit Exeter captain Jake Taylor on the line before being hacked clear.

Demetriou then headed just over the bar from another Matty Dolan corner as County continued to look the most dangerous in the opening stages.

The hosts’ main tactic appeared to be hitting long balls over the top of the Exiles’ defence to exploit the pace of Jonathan Forte.

And they rarely threatened Day’s goal until they took the lead against the run of play in the 21st minute after Bakinson was penalised for using his arms in an aerial duel with Stockley.

The former AFC Bournemouth striker found space in the box to meet Lee Holmes’ floated free-kick and glanced a header past Day and into the bottom corner of the net.

South Wales Argus:

It was harsh on County and Bakinson after a promising start but they responded well and could have been level before the break.

Amond thought he should have had a penalty when he appeared to be bundled over in the box and Josh Sheehan (above) should have done better when the ball was returned but he blasted the ball high into the home fans behind Pym’s goal.

The visitors also felt there could have been a red card for the Grecians when Amond tangled with Jordan Tillson and Aaron Martin after Sheehan’s wayward effort.

Pipe took a knock while making a tackle late in the first half and he was replaced by Keanu Marsh-Brown after the break.

Flynn persisted with three at the back as Marsh-Brown slotted in wide on the right and added more threat going forward.

As County pushed for an equaliser the hosts looked dangerous on the break with Tillson shooting high over the bar and Day forced into a fine save to keep out Holmes’ header.

Matt, who didn’t have the same impact as he had at Cambridge, made way for Antoine Semenyo on the hour.

The 18-year-old, who is on loan from Bristol City along with Bakinson, was full of confidence following his first professional goal in midweek but he couldn’t get into the game in the closing stages.

And it was Harris, who performed well on his debut against Crewe Alexandra last week, who would make the difference after he replaced Sheehan.

Exeter nearly extended their lead as Day saved from Stockley and substitute Nicky Law hit the bar from the follow-up.

But Harris made the most of a lucky bounce in the box as he rode a weak tackle and coolly slotted past Pym to claim his first goal in professional football and make himself an instant hero with the 332 travelling fans.

County: Day; Franks, Bennett, Demetriou; Pipe (Marsh-Brown 46), Dolan, Bakinson, Butler; Sheehan (Harris, 73); Matt (Semenyo, 60), Amond

Subs not used: Townsend, O’Brien, Forbes, Cooper

Booked: Bennett, Harris

Referee: Chris Sarginson

Attendance: 4,239 (332 County)

Argus star man: Day