TEN-MAN Newport County AFC suffered a sixth successive away defeat in League Two after a nightmare first 45 minutes at Carlisle United.

County could have climbed to 12th with a win in this rearranged trip to Brunton Park, but the contest was over by half-time.

The Exiles conceded early before losing Matty Dolan to injury.

To compound matters, they then gave away a soft penalty to allow Carlisle to double their advantage before Ryan Inniss was sent off in the 44th minute.

Manager Michael Flynn must have been pulling his hair out on the touchline and it was miserable viewing for the 49 brave souls who made the 292-mile journey north on a cold Tuesday night.

The visitors began the evening looking to build on Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Morecambe, with matchwinner Dale Gorman declaring that County were ‘back to their best’ beforehand, but that proved to be a false dawn.

Flynn made two changes to the starting XI with Padraig Amond and Jordan Green replacing Jamille Matt and Tristan Abrahams up front.

But he was soon forced into another as Dolan limped off after just 12 minutes and Joss Labadie, available again after completing his two-game ban, came back into midfield and reclaimed the captain’s armband from Josh Sheehan.

County were already behind by that stage after former Wrexham man Omari Patrick climbed above Scot Bennett and Josh Sheehan to head in from Elliot Watt’s fifth-minute corner.

It wasn’t the start that the Exiles had been hoping for but they steadied the ship and slowly began to offer a threat at the other end.

Gorman went close with an early piledriver after making space for himself with a neat turn.

And Mickey Demetriou forced a couple of corners in quick succession as he made a nuisance of himself in the Carlisle box.

The back three of Bennett, Demetriou and Ryan Inniss kept Carlisle’s lively front three of Patrick, Josh Kayode and Lewis Alessandra quiet for 25 minutes and there looked to be a way back into the game for Flynn’s men.

But all that hard work counted for little when Gorman was adjudged to have tripped Jack Bridge in the penalty area after 33 minutes.

The Carlisle midfielder appeared to go to ground rather easily under minimal contact from Gorman, who was booked for his protests, but referee Graham Salisbury didn’t hesitate to point to the spot and Kayode showed no mercy as he fired into the bottom corner.

Things then went from bad to worse a minute before the break when Inniss was shown a straight red card for a stupid challenge on Kayode that left Salisbury with very little choice.

South Wales Argus:

After that it was simply about damage limitation for the visitors in the second half.

Mike Jones volleyed inches over for the hosts on 52 minutes and Tom King did brilliantly to tip a Nick Anderton drive around the post 10 minutes later.

In between those close calls, Matt replaced Amond and Labadie volleyed over the top from around 12 yards.

It was a big chance for the 10 men in amber and Flynn could be heard urging his players to keep their heads up.

That was easier said than done, but County certainly kept fighting to avoid a repeat of the drubbing at Oldham Athletic.

They rode their luck at times, somehow surviving three further penalty appeals, but they kept plugging away and Labadie had another chance to halve the deficit 15 minutes from the end only to blast wide under pressure.

A 2-0 defeat felt almost like a decent result after a such a disastrous first half but that was little consolation on the long journey home.

County: King; Inniss, Bennett, Demetriou; Willmott, Dolan (Labadie, 12), Gorman, Haynes; Sheehan; Amond (Matt, 56), Green (Waters, 82)

Subs not used: Howkins, Khan, Collins, Abrahams

Booked: Gorman

Sent off: Inniss

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 2,822 (49 County)

Argus star man: King