PENALTY shootout hero Joe Day and manager Michael Flynn say getting to Wembley in the League Two play-off final is a reward for the Newport County AFC fans who have supported the team through thick and thin.

After a tense 0-0 draw in Sunday’s second leg at Mansfield Town, the semi-final ended 1-1 on aggregate and County triumphed 5-3 on penalties in front of the 1,118 travelling fans.

Day saved from Tyler Walker before Matty Dolan converted the winning penalty to book the Exiles’ fourth visit to Wembley in seven years.

The club has been allocated 19,000 tickets for the final on May 25 when they will battle for a place in League One next season.

“The fans were amazing throughout the whole game – all 90 minutes and extra-time and the penalties as well,” said Day.

“The whole season they have been brilliant, but to get more than a thousand at Mansfield on a Sunday night is incredible.

“We’re a fan-owned club and what better way to repay them than getting to Wembley?”

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Flynn was also quick to praise the amber army after an enthralling contest at Field Mill.

“We’ve got a fantastic group of supporters who have been there through thick and thin and this is for them,” said the Exiles boss.

“The fans were brilliant. They did not stop. It was loud and you could hear it, especially towards the end of the first half when the Mansfield fans went so quiet.

“It sounded like we were the home team at one point and it’s a massive credit to them.”

County’s last visit to Wembley, after the 2012 FA Trophy final and the 2013 Conference play-off final, was the FA Cup fourth-round replay against Tottenham Hotspur in February 2018.

They also made the fifth round of the competition this season, only bowing out to Premier League champions Manchester City, but Day says winning promotion would top their cup exploits.

“The FA Cup was very special, but they’re one-off games,” said the goalkeeper.

“This is an accumulation of a whole season and, for me, that means that little bit more.

“It’s a long old season and to battle it out and get to this point is amazing.

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“This is a special group of players with a special manager and we never know when to give up.

“I think everyone would have admitted that we were the underdogs coming into this.

“But, with the spirit in our team, we never give up. We fight to the end and this time it was all the way to a penalty shootout.

“Wembley is going to be amazing,” added the 28-year-old.

“We’ll let it sink in and take a couple of days to rest our bodies and minds and then start preparing for another trip to Wembley.

“It’s amazing. It doesn’t come around too often in a career.”

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