ONE down, eight to go for Newport County AFC in their pursuit of a League Two play-off place.

Assistant manager Wayne Hatswell revealed on Friday that County were targeting nine wins from their final 13 games to claim a top-seven spot.

And goals in either half from Ade Azeez and Padraig Amond were enough to see off promotion rivals Carlisle United at Rodney Parade as Joe Day saved a late penalty.

Victory saw the the Exiles move up to 12th in the table, only five points off seventh-placed Forest Green Rovers with a game in hand.

And it means they now require eight wins from their remaining 12 games to extend their season beyond May 4.

Azeez came in for his home debut in place of Tyreeq Bakinson in the one change from last week’s defeat at MK Dons.

And he made an instant impact with his pace causing the Carlisle defence all sorts of problems.

Amond, who dropped back into an attacking midfield role, had already seen a snapshot palmed onto the post by Adam Collin in the 11th minute before the Exiles took a deserved lead three minutes later.

It came from another clever corner routine as Mickey Demetriou played the ball back to Matty Dolan. His chipped cross was headed towards the bottom corner by Amond and Azeez helped it across the line to claim his first goal in County colours.

The deadline day signing from Cambridge United almost had a second on 18 minutes after great link play between Amond and Jamille Matt released him down the left of the penalty area but his curling effort was well saved by Collin.

Matt and Amond also forced the Carlisle keeper into saves before the break.

But, as impressive as the hosts were going forward, it wasn’t all one-way traffic.

Flynn’s men were too often vulnerable to long balls through the middle or down the channels and the visitors had plenty of chances of their own.

South Wales Argus:

Before the goal, a Callum O’Hare through ball split the defence and Day raced out to tackle Hallam Hope before Mark Cullen’s shot was deflected behind.

And after they had taken the lead, the Exiles were again thankful to Day for a smart stop to deny Stefan Scougall.

Cullen also wasted a decent chance as he blasted over under pressure from Demetriou and he and Hope were inches away from converting a dangerous Regan Slater cross.

County were forced into an early change as Josh Sheehan replaced the injured Dolan on 31 minutes and the former Swansea City midfielder was soon booked for simulation as he went down dramatically under a challenge from O’Hare.

The Exiles continued to create chances after the break as Matt volleyed over from Sheehan’s free-kick and Azeez miscued his shot after a fine cross from Robbie Willmott on the right flank.

They needed the second goal to kill off Carlisle and it duly arrived midway through the second half.

Once again it was a short corner routine that caught out Carlisle as Willmott played a one-two with Amond before finding the unmarked Sheehan.

His cross was headed back across goal and Mark O’Brien won the loose ball for Amond to prod home his 21st goal of the season from close range.

There were still a few scares as Hope volleyed into the side netting and when O’Brien was harshly adjudged to have fouled Tom Parkes in the box two minutes from time.

But Day rescued County again with a superb penalty save – his second in two games – to deny Danny Grainger and the three points were secured.

County: Day; Poole, O’Brien, Demetriou, Butler; Bennett; Willmott, Amond, Dolan (Sheehan, 31); Azeez (McKirdy, 84), Matt (Labadie, 74)

Subs not used: Townsend, Pipe, Bakinson, Marsh-Brown

Booked: Sheehan, Labadie

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 3,432 (233 Carlisle)

Argus star man: Amond