MICHAEL Flynn praised his Newport County AFC players for producing the perfect response to a disappointing defeat at Cheltenham Town by beating Northampton Town at Rodney Parade.

Flynn was frustrated by the dismal display from his team as they went down to a 2-1 defeat at Whaddon Road on Saturday.

But he was delighted with the way they put things right last night as first-half goals from Josh Sheehan, Jamille Matt and Padraig Amond blew away Keith Curle’s Cobblers.

County led 3-1 at the break and that’s how it finished as they saw out the game with few scares to move up to fourth in the League Two table.

“I thought we were excellent,” said Flynn. “It was a very professional performance and it was something we needed to do because we let ourselves down on Saturday.

“We were right up for it. We were hungry and on the front foot.

“I thought we were brilliant in the first half and the second half was just as good for a different reason.

“We were solid, resolute, we didn’t take any chances and we saw the game out.

“It’s always a rollercoaster ride with Newport County. How many times have we conceded at the end and been hanging on.

“There was none of that this time. There were a few long throws at the end but they didn’t have a shot on target.

“In the first half we were blistering going forward and scored some good goals. In the second half we just snuffed them out and handled everything that came our way.”

Flynn believes the return to fitness of Andrew Crofts and Mark O’Brien made a big difference.

“Them coming back in was big for us,” said the Exiles boss.

“You could see that they improved us on Saturday [when they came off the bench].

“We looked more solid and it allowed the forward-thinking players to go forward a little more because they knew they had that protection.”

Crofts, who was making his first start since August, was not expected to play the full 90 minutes but Flynn was reluctant to take him off.

He added: “The physio told me at half-time that he’d have to come off but I said ‘there’s not a chance he’s coming off’.

“I went to take him off with two minutes to go but he didn’t want to come off.

“I thought he was excellent. That’s why he’s played at the top level and why he’s such a good professional.

“I’ve told the younger players that they need to look at him and how he conducts himself.

“And that’s why I wanted him here. I wanted him to help the younger boys push forward and that’s what he brings to the table.

“It’s nothing spectacular. He’s not going to do lollipops or drag-backs and stick one in the top corner. Those days are gone.

“What he is going to do is control the game, be in the right positions at the right time and set us on our way.”

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Sheehan also made a positive return to the starting XI and Flynn hopes that the goal will help kick-start the midfielder’s season.

“Josh was excellent,” said the manager. “I was really pleased for him.

“He’s been inconsistent and that’s why he hasn’t been playing.

"I thought he was good at Carlisle but he had a poor game at Met Police when he should have really taken that chance and kicked on.

“But fair play to him for having the character to bounce back.”