THE play-off push is on again for Newport County AFC after a thoroughly-deserved win over promotion rivals Carlisle United at Rodney Parade.

Goals from Ade Azeez and Padraig Amond and a late Joe Day penalty save were enough to see off the Cumbrians and ensure that County bounced back from last week’s defeat at MK Dons.

Michael Flynn’s men are now only five points off the top seven with a game in hand and this was a result and a performance to boost belief that their season is far from over.

Both goals came from the Wayne Hatswell book of clever corner routines.

The first, on 14 minutes, saw Matty Dolan play a one-two with Mickey Demetriou before chipping in a cross that was headed goalwards by Amond and helped over the line by Azeez.

The second, on 67 minutes, saw Robbie Willmott and Amond play a one-two before Willmott picked out unmarked substitute Josh Sheehan.

His cross was headed back across goal and Mark O’Brien won the loose ball before Amond prodded home from close range.

The Exiles created plenty of other opportunities, but the manner of the goals frustrated Carlisle boss Steven Pressley.

“I think it was quite an even contest and it was decided by two set-plays,” he said.

“That’s really frustrating because we worked on that all week. I said before the game that we had to deal with the basics of football; we didn’t on two occasions and that proved costly.

“We lost the game from two moments that you have to guard against coming here.

“They’re a very effective team at it, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to stand up to it.

“I’m disappointed because there was very little between the two sides,” he added.

“We had some really good chances in the first half, they had some really good chances and in the second half it was similar.”

Day denied Hallam Hope before Azeez opened the scoring and Stefan Scougall just afterwards, and also saved Danny Grainger’s late penalty.

But County could have had more goals from Azeez, Amond and Jamille Matt before their second and substitute Joss Labadie also went close late on.

“We do our work on wherever we can exploit the opposition, but we should have taken a few more of our chances,” said Flynn.

“We missed three or four good opportunities and in the second half they were brilliant.

“But it could have been interesting had they scored with five minutes [stoppage time] to go, if Joe hadn’t made that great save from the penalty.”

Flynn admitted that referee Ross Joyce was right to penalise O’Brien for a tug on Tom Parkes in the 88th minute, but he did not agree with his decision to book Sheehan for simulation in the first half.

“I don’t think it was a penalty and I don’t think it was a dive, so it shouldn’t have been a yellow card,” said the Exiles boss.

“He was committed, he went for the ball and he was off balance. He’s not dived.”

Sheehan had replaced the injured Dolan after just half an hour but Labadie’s return from a hamstring problem was a big positive ahead of two tough trips to Colchester United next Saturday and Northampton Town a week tomorrow.

He’ll be key if County are to put an end to their current lose-win-lose-win-lose-win league run and record the back-to-back victories that they really need to start putting genuine pressure on the teams above them.

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)