NEWPORT County AFC cruised to a sixth successive win over Cambridge United to stay in contention for the League Two play-offs with five games remaining.

Padraig Amond and Jamille Matt both ended their relative goal droughts with first-half headers to put County in charge at the Abbey Stadium.

And goalkeeper Joe Day was again in excellent form as they survived a second-half fightback from the hosts, before substitute Harry McKirdy claimed his first goal for the club to seal a vital victory.

Seventh-placed Exeter City also won, so the Exiles remain five points below the play-off places with a game in hand but this result should be a big confidence-booster.

Matty Dolan returned to the starting XI in place of Joss Labadie, who was ruled out after having 10 stitches in a gashed ankle sustained against Swindon.

Andrew Crofts and Scot Bennett were both fit, but Dolan’s selection indicated an attacking approach from the Exiles.

And so it proved as they tore into a shaky Cambridge defence from the off and took a deserved lead as early as the fourth minute.

Robbie Willmott was the provider with a chipped cross from the right and Amond escaped his marker to head nonchalantly past Dimitar Mitov from 10 yards for his first goal in six games.

That was number 22 for the season for the Irishman and his fourth in three games against Cambridge.

Matt also enjoys playing against the U’s and he too netted his fourth of the campaign against them, his 18th in total and his first in nine games.

It came on 34 minutes when Willmott picked out Dan Butler with a deep corner.

Butler beat substitute David Amoo and his shot was diverted past the helpless Mitov via Matt’s head from around eight yards.

South Wales Argus:

It was no less than County deserved as they took the game to their hosts and Ben Kennedy (above) twice went close to extending their lead as he enjoyed plenty of space to run at the Cambridge back line.

Colin Calderwood’s men offered little in attack before the break, but Joe Day was forced to palm away a Rushian Hepburn-Murphy effort.

Reggie Lambe curled a shot just wide from the edge of the area and Josh Sheehan produced a perfectly-timed tackle to rob Amoo in the box.

After a quiet start to the second half, Butler almost made it 3-0 when Mitov dropped a Willmott corner but his prodded effort was hacked clear by Brad Halliday.

But Crofts replaced Dolan for the final 30 minutes as Cambridge finally showed signs of making a game of it.

Butler got away with a barge on Hepburn-Murphy in the box before Day denied the Cambridge number nine and then Halliday.

At the other end, Crofts and Amond both shot straight at Mitov in the closing stages and Michael Flynn’s men wrapped up a comfortable win as McKirdy poked in with his first touch after replacing Sheehan in the final minute.

County: Day; Poole, O’Brien, Demetriou, Butler; Willmott, Dolan (Crofts, 61), Sheehan (McKirdy, 89) Kennedy (Bennett, 75); Amond, Matt

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

Booked: Demetriou

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 4,294 (181 County)

Argus star man: Willmott