THREE points at Port Vale lifted Newport County AFC to second in the League Two table and manager Michael Flynn proclaimed it the most important win of the season so far for his side.

Scot Bennett and Dan Butler got the goals for County, either side of Tom Pope’s leveller for the hosts, and Flynn’s men defended superbly to hang on for their first away win of the season in the league.

"That for me was the most important win this season,” said the Exiles boss.

“I thought the boys were absolutely outstanding.

“It wasn’t one of our best performances but they dug deep and they defended really well.

“I’ve got an outstanding group of boys. They’re all together, they all work their socks off and they all enjoy playing for the football club.

“It’s a joy for me to be their manager but I don’t think the board will be too happy because the win bonuses go up when we’re in the top two.

“All the boys are doing cartwheels in the dressing room. They enjoyed that one!”

Flynn is not doing cartwheels just yet but he’s delighted with the way his team have started the campaign.

“I’m not getting carried away,” he added. “It’s only September but it’s good that we’ve got these points on the board early.

“We’re going to have tough times, we know that, but this was a good win.”

Deadline day loan signing Cameron Pring was an unused substitute at Vale Park but Flynn again praised the fans who raised the money to secure his arrival from Bristol City.

“It’s a special club,” he said. “It’s not the most polished but it’s definitely a club that values good people and looks after people who give their all and for the fans to do that is very much appreciated.

“I’m happy because I’ve got the number of players that I wanted. In an ideal world, being greedy, I would have wanted one more but as long as we stay injury-free I’m very happy.”

Captain Andrew Crofts missed the match after sustaining an ankle injury in training and Antoine Semenyo was ruled out with concussion.

Robbie Willmott is also still sidelined with a hamstring problem, while top scorer Padraig Amond was forced off this afternoon with what Flynn hopes is merely a dead leg.