NEWPORT County AFC failed to make the most of their rearranged fixture at Grimsby Town as they lost a topsy-turvy encounter 4-2 at a chilly Blundell Park.

Grimsby boss Ian Holloway said beforehand that he wanted his side to take inspiration from Tyson Fury and they landed a hammer blow after just 49 seconds.

County goalkeeper Tom King should have held Charles Vernam’s shot but he spilled it straight to Bradley Garmston, who gleefully fired in from close range.

But the Exiles picked themselves off the canvas and recovered well, drawing level in the 10th minute when a cross from the left evaded everyone and allowed Jordan Green an easy tap-in at the far post.

It was the winger’s first goal in County colours since an FA Cup strike against Alfreton Town in November 2016 and it was no less than the visitors deserved for a spirited response.

King was beaten again in the 15th minute when Josh Benson’s long-range missile smashed against the bar and away to safety.

And James Hanson twice went close, but the Exiles should have been ahead in the 33rd minute.

The ball dropped perfectly for Jamille Matt to punish his former club from around eight yards, but the striker snatched at the golden chance and blasted over – much to Grimsby goalkeeper James McKeown’s relief.

And that miss was made to look even more costly five minutes before the interval when Ryan Inniss chopped down Vernam on the edge of the D and Benson curled the free-kick inside King’s near post to restore the hosts’ lead.

George Nurse, back from injury in place of Ryan Haynes in the one change from Saturday’s home win over Bradford City, twice tried his luck from distance in first-half stoppage time without testing McKeown.

South Wales Argus:

Flynn wasted no time in making changes and Inniss and Matt did not re-emerge for the second half as Padraig Amond, another former Grimsby man, and Joss Labadie were introduced to shake things up.

There was no immediate impact but Green almost added a second nine minutes after the restart as he curled a shot just wide from 20 yards.

Green (above) then raced onto a ball down the left flank and pulled it back for Labadie, who sidefooted wide from 15 yards.

Flynn’s men were worrying the Mariners, but the hosts broke away on 62 minutes and Hanson appeared to land the knockout blow as he thumped the ball past King.

County refused to throw in the towel, though, and Amond was in the right place to slot in when Dale Gorman’s shot was parried by McKeown.

With 22 minutes remaining, it was game on again and Flynn threw on Tristan Abrahams in place of Green.

The Grimsby defence would have been happy to see the back of the Barnsley whippet, but Abrahams added more of a muscular presence up front alongside Amond for the closing stages.

James Tilley fired over from distance for Grimsby and Nurse went close at the other end after linking well with Josh Sheehan.

It looked as if the visitors could snatch a point but they were finally sunk by sub Max Wright’s deflected effort six minutes from time.

That was the final significant action in an entertaining contest that saw County leapfrogged by their hosts.

The defeat sees Flynn’s men slide back down to 16th in the table and they are now 12 points below the play-off places with only two games in hand.

County: King; Inniss (Labadie, 46), Bennett, Demetriou; Willmott, Sheehan, Gorman, Nurse; Khan; Green (Abrahams, 71), Matt (Amond, 46)

Subs not used: Haynes, Howkins, Dolan, Collins

Referee: Seb Stockbridge

Attendance: 3,578 (33 County)

Argus star man: Green