With Newport County AFC out of action after EFL fixtures were suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re dipping into the Argus archives to relive the club’s miraculous Great Escape from relegation three years on. Follow the action day-by-day as Michael Flynn’s men battle to beat the drop against all the odds…

First published on Saturday, March 18, 2017

MICHAEL Flynn was disappointed to lose for the first time as Newport County AFC manager but couldn’t fault the effort of his players in their 3-1 defeat to Blackpool at Rodney Parade.

Loanee Alex Samuel opened his account for the Exiles to get them back in the game after Bright Osayi-Samuel and a Mark Cullen penalty had put the visitors in charge.

Samuel went close to equalising in second half injury time, before Osayi-Samuel made the points safe for his side with a late breakaway strike.

Despite losing, the Exiles remain seven points from safety at the bottom of League Two with nine matches remaining.

“The first goal was the disappointment for me,” said Flynn. “He had real pace and we allowed him to cut in on his stronger foot and get the shot away.

“I don’t think it was a penalty. The referee shook his head but then he changed his mind.

“The response the players gave me was outstanding and the crowd got behind them, and they sensed an equaliser.

“We threw everything at it except the kitchen sink. I can’t fault the boys’ effort again.

“The third goal is neither here nor there, we put Joe (Day) up and went for the equaliser.

“We wanted to try and salvage something but they went and nicked the third.

“I can’t blame the players. Their keeper made a great save at 2-1 that would have made it 2-2.”

South Wales Argus:

He added: “It’s a first loss under me, and that’s something I’m disappointed in, but we’ve still got matches to play.

“They showed again that they’re fighting, and everyone else lost, so we didn’t lose any ground.”

County will now move on to Tuesday’s game against Luton at Rodney Parade, though they are going to be sweating on the fitness of captain Joss Labadie.

The midfielder was replaced by Mickey Demetriou 41 minutes into the Seasiders reverse after suffering a hip injury.

“We were unlucky that we lost Joss so early,” said Flynn. “It’s right up in his hip flexor so I’m hoping it’s not too bad. He might just miss Tuesday.

“We’ll give him some rest and if it settles down really well he might be available for Tuesday. I’m not ruling him out yet.

“I thought Mickey Demetriou, when he came on, did very well and was almost flawless.”