NEWPORT County AFC had to settle for a point against promotion rivals Tranmere Rovers on a frustrating afternoon at Rodney Parade.

In-form Rovers, who had won seven in a row before a midweek loss at Oldham Athletic, hit the woodwork in either half but they will happier with the point.

While it was a must-not-lose game for the visitors, it felt like a must-win for County. But 0-0 is not a disaster for Michael Flynn’s men.

They drop to 13th in the table but remain six points off the play-offs with a game in hand.

Keanu Marsh-Brown was rewarded for an impressive cameo at Yeovil Town, capped by his first goal for the club, as he replaced Harry McKirdy in the one change from the win at Huish Park.

Padraig Amond was made to wait for his 100th County appearance as he was only named amongst the substitutes.

The visitors came closest to breaking the deadlock in a tight first half when Mark Ellis escaped his marker to meet a Kieran Morris corner and headed against the bar with Joe Day beaten.

County showed plenty of attacking intent, with Robbie Willmott to the fore on the right flank and Jamille Matt proving a handful through the middle, but they failed to test Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies before the break.

The central figure, certainly as far as the home fans were concerned, was stand-in referee Alan Young.

He booked Joss Labadie as early as the sixth minute and also cautioned Dan Butler, but appeared to show much more leniency to Rovers.

Young also waved away appeals for an Exiles penalty when Ben Kennedy claimed he was pulled down in the box, although that looked to be a correct decision.

South Wales Argus:

Flynn’s men registered their first shot on target six minutes into the second half when Matt’s header from a Willmott corner was smartly saved by Davies at close range.

At the other end, Day suffered a mad minute when he lost control of the ball and ended up losing possession to James Norwood.

The Rovers number 10 saw his shot deflected behind and Day then dropped Ollie Banks’ corner, allowing substitute Chris Dagnall to poke a shot against the post.

Flynn then replaced Marsh-Brown and Kennedy with Ade Azeez and Matty Dolan as he chased the win his side really needed.

But the game was still on a knife-edge and Day redeemed himself on 72 minutes when he rushed out to deny Norwood after the striker had been played in by Connor Jennings.

Amond notched up his century as he replaced Willmott with eight minutes to go in a last throw of the dice for County.

Labadie thought he’d snatched all three points as he netted from the rebound after Amond’s shot was saved, but he was denied by the offside flag and it ended in stalemate.

County: Day; Poole, O’Brien, Demetriou, Butler; Sheehan, Labadie; Willmott (Amond, 82), Marsh-Brown (Azeez, 62), Kennedy (Dolan, 69); Matt

Subs not used: Pipe, Crofts, Randall, McKirdy

Booked: Labadie, Butler, Poole

Referee: Alan Young

Attendance: 3,970 (670 Tranmere)

Argus star man: Demetriou