DAVID Pipe reckons nobody in League Two would lay a hand on Newport County AFC if they were able to maintain the level of performance that saw them stun Middlesbrough earlier this week.

The Exiles bossed the FA Cup fourth-round replay at Rodney Parade with Robbie Willmott and Padraig Amond goals earning them a sensational 2-0 win and last-16 home tie against Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders Manchester City.

A late substitute for goal hero Willmott on Tuesday night, defender Pipe couldn’t help but be impressed by the way his teammates went about their business.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play in the FA Cup for 20 years and get to the last eight with Bristol Rovers, but it’s that much more special with your home club,” he said.

“I was sat on the bench proud of the boys and then got on near the end, which is always nice.

“Some of the stuff I watched in the first half, the attitude, endeavour and skill set, I thought we were the full package. We totally deserved the win and I’m proud of the boys.

“A lot of higher-level teams have come here and not quite understood the intensity of the place.

“Even if they did do their research, we’re obviously doing something that doesn’t make them comfortable, and we hope to continue that in the next round.”

He added: “I thought we’d scored three or four times in the first half. I was jumping out of my seat and couldn’t control myself on the side.

“Robbie was magical for his goal. He kept going and going, and I’ve seen him play day in and day out and was thinking ‘hit it, hit’.

“I actually thought he’d taken it too far, but Robbie being Robbie, he was probably doing it on purpose just to wind us up.

“Podge (Padraig Amond) is prolific in the box with the runs he makes, and credit to Wayne Hatswell (assistant manager) for that set-piece. The boys are putting them in but it’s his thought process.

“From where I was sat, it was the only place Podge could have put it, in the top corner, and the keeper couldn’t do anything about it.

“I also thought we were so solid at the back, not conceding a goal against a team who are very physical, doing well in the Championship and very dangerous at any set-piece and in open play.

“We should be proud of the clean sheet and going forward, especially in the first half, it was a delight to watch some of the link-up play, and we were definitely unlucky not to score a few goals.”

Three days before the Boro triumph, County had been sunk 3-0 at Grimsby Town, that coming on the back of a goalless draw against Port Vale.

And Pipe, 35, is scratching his head as to why the Exiles can produce such contrasting displays in such a short space of time.

“You can’t explain it,” he said. “I suppose it is easier when you’ve got 6,500 fans in the ground, and whether or not the boys would admit it, there is a bit of pressure off when you play in the cup, especially against a higher-level team.

“After the game we spoke about keeping those levels because if we play like that, no-one in our division will beat us as far as I’m concerned.

“You’re not going to go out and play like that in every game, but you’ve got to try and get close to those levels, either on a personal level or as a team.

“Hopefully we’ll look to take that performance into Saturday’s game.”

County host high-flying Mansfield Town tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).