THEY should have won it in normal time and could have lost it in extra-time, but Newport County AFC manager Michael Flynn insists he had “full faith” in his players to prevail on penalties at Mansfield Town.

Nothing could separate the sides after a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade and a 0-0 thriller after 120 minutes at Field Mill.

But Joe Day’s save from Tyler Walker and Matty Dolan’s cool head secured a 5-3 win in the shootout and sealed a place in the League Two play-off final on May 25.

South Wales Argus:

“It’s a fantastic, amazing achievement for these players,” said Flynn afterwards.

“I thought we were excellent; we were absolutely superb. We should have gone three or four up in the first half.

“In the second half they came back into it and they had a few chances.

“And extra-time was like a basketball game with chances at either end. For the neutral it must have been brilliant.

“I was alright during the penalties,” added the Exiles boss.

“It was one of those situations where what will be, will be.

“But I had full faith in these players. We went through the list and I asked them what position they wanted to take penalties in and every single one of them got the position they wanted, and every single one of them scored.

“I told Joe it was about time he saved a penalty, and he saved the best ‘til last!

“He was fantastic. He made a couple of really good saves. He’s been a rock for us.”

South Wales Argus:

Flynn had a simple message to his players after the final whistle.

“I’ve just said to the players, ‘here’s your challenge; in 13 days’ time do we want to be Newport County AFC in League One?’

“It’s an unbelievable achievement [to get to the final] and I cannot praise these players and my staff highly enough.

“They have been absolutely superb.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges, but we’ve got a board who support things as best as they can. There’s no sugar daddy there.

“And we’ve got a fantastic group of supporters who have been there through thick and thin. This is for them.

“I’m hugely proud,” he added.

“I’m going to have to buy a new suit now! I might get a black and amber suit for Wembley.”

Asked if he felt for Mansfield after they were consigned to another year in League Two.

“No, I’ve got to be honest, I don’t,” said Flynn. “I’d rather it be them in that position than me.

“I think David Flitcroft, his staff and his players have been fantastic.

“They finished fourth in the league and, in all honesty, they should have gone up in the position they were in.

“That’s not my concern, but they’re a class act and David is someone I’ve got a lot of time for. I wish him well.”

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