NEWPORT County AFC assistant manager Wayne Hatswell was keen to take the positives from Friday night’s 1-1 draw at Bath City.

A first-half strike from trialist Brad Ash put County 1-0 up in the pre-season friendly at Twerton Park, but an inexperienced team was pegged back late on by the National League South team.

Goalkeeper Tom King, defenders Mark O’Brien, Lazar Stojsavljevic and Marvel Ekpiteta, midfielder Matty Dolan and striker Momodou Touray were joined by three trialists and two youth team players – Ioan Evans and Dom Jefferies – in the starting XI.

Two more trialists, one of whom was Barry Town United midfielder Tom Fry, and five more academy prospects – Callum Brain, Jay Williams, Callum Jones, Elis Watts and Ryan Hillier – came off the bench.

And Hatswell was particularly pleased with the performances of the youngsters.

“There were some positives,” said Michael Flynn’s number two.

“We went 1-0 up with a good finish and it was a good workout.

“It was a good runout against a physical, strong, well organised team. They made it difficult for us all night.

“We had a mix of pros, trialists and youth and that was really pleasing.

“I thought a lot of the youth team did really well and a couple of them were playing out of position, which was what we asked them to do.

“It’s been pleasing to see the youth team players doing a lot better.

“They look physically a little bit more capable than they were a year ago, which is good.”

South Wales Argus:

O’Brien, who was sent off in the Exiles’ Wembley play-off final defeat to Tranmere Rovers in May, was the only player to complete the 90 minutes against the Romans.

“OB is suspended for the first game of the season and he’s a little bit of a different animal; he doesn’t like the running too much,” explained Hatswell.

“He probably prefers playing and he’s been getting his fitness back from the games. He prefers that, rather than running on his own at the back.

“It was important to have him there with the youngsters as well, especially with Jay Williams coming on at centre-back and young Callum [Jones] and then when we took off Tom [King] behind him too.

“He’s a good pro, he’s captain of the club and he leads by example, so it was important that we kept him on to hold things together.

“We took Marvel [Ekpiteta] off because he was a little bit tight, but he was another one that we probably want to get a bit of work into.

“He’s adjusting to full-time football and it’s been a bit of a culture-shock to him, but the newbies are settling in well.”

Hatswell emphasized that fitness is still the main objective in the build-up to the League Two kick-off at home to Mansfield Town on August 3.

“Overall it was really good and everyone came off in one piece, which is the main thing for us,” he said.

“They’ve had a lot of minutes this week and we’ve worked them hard because we’re not going to get that time back again.

“We’ve been quite rigorous with them this week and on top of what they were doing in Spain it’s been another good week.

“They’re in tomorrow [Saturday] again and they’re finally coming towards the end of the track runs now.

“Double sessions will probably still apply the week after, but we’ve got a couple of games next week so that might take precedence.

“Players are starting to get 75 and 90 minutes now and we’re getting ready to go in a couple of weeks.”

County travel to Weston-super-Mare on Monday (kick-off 7pm) before hosting Chelsea under-23s in a benefit fixture for former captain Fraser Franks at Spytty Park on Wednesday night.

Read more: Bath City 1 Newport County 1