JOE Powell's late thunderbolt earned Northampton Town the points and left Newport County AFC reeling at Sixfields last night. Here are the talking points...

Better, but not good enough

The Exiles were much-improved after a dismal display at Colchester United on Saturday but they somehow still managed to shoot themselves in the foot against the Cobblers.

County created a host of chances to win the game but Northampton’s Welsh goalkeeper David Cornell didn't have a serious save to make against his compatriots.

Jamille Matt was unfortunate to see a header crash off the bar in the first half but he wasted two more opportunities either side of the break and Padraig Amond, Joss Labadie, Tyreeq Bakinson and Mark O’Brien all failed to make the most of their chances.

South Wales Argus:

Set-piece proves County’s downfall

Michael Flynn’s men have earned themselves a reputation as set-piece specialists with their clever corner routines and the long throws of Mickey Demetriou causing havoc wherever they go.

But they got a taste of their own medicine in the dying minutes last night as Northampton's winning goal came from a long throw that first Mark O’Brien and then Mickey Demetriou failed to properly clear.

It was a fantastic strike from Powell on the edge of the area that gave Joe Day no chance, but Flynn was angry that the substitute was unmarked 20 yards from goal with Dan Butler caught in No Man’s Land.

Changes too late to affect the game

After that hammer blow, Flynn made a triple substitution with Harry McKirdy, Ade Azeez and Josh Sheehan all being introduced in the final minute of the match.

It was a last throw of the dice from the Exiles boss but the trio had very little chance of making an impact in their five minutes on the pitch – one minute, plus four added on for stoppages.

County performed well before conceding and Flynn may not have wanted to disrupt the flow but, with a win needed to keep their play-off hopes alive, in hindsight a proactive change to push for a winner would have been the better option.

Awful away form is coming home to roost

Flynn admitted after the match that his side’s away form is not good enough to sustain a top-seven challenge.

This was the Exiles’ 12th defeat on the road in League Two this season and they have won just once away from Rodney Parade – at relegation-threatened Notts County – since September.

Thankfully the next two games are at home and County have to beat Cheltenham Town on Friday night and then Oldham Athletic on March 23 to keep their slim play-off hopes alive before the short trip to Yeovil at the end of the month.