SCHOOLBOY Sonny Lewis became a Newport County AFC record-breaker but the Exiles suffered a 1-0 defeat to Cheltenham Town in the EFL Trophy.

A second-half header by experienced forward Reuben Reid, who made his league debut in 2006, the year after Lewis was born, settled the clash at Rodney Parade.

It leaves County, semi-finalists last season, with work to do in the group that contains Plymouth and Norwich City U21s.

The Exiles had their chances to take the game to penalties in the closing stages but fluffed their lines, but now thoughts can turn to the real action in the League Two opener at Scunthorpe on Saturday.

South Wales Argus:

Manager Michael Flynn will be pleased with the encounter against a Cheltenham side who made the play-offs last season with a few players giving him food for thought ahead of the weekend.

That fixture is likely to be too soon for Lewis but it was a night that the 15-year-old will remember after the St Julian’s pupil, the school where Wales great Chris Gunter went, slotted into midfield.

In doing so he broke the record set by then 16-year-old Regan Poole as County’s youngest player in 2014, a record that previously was held by Steve Aizlewood.

After some neat touches, plus some battling that earned the praise of his bosses Flynn and Wayne Hatswell, Lewis will hope for more opportunities in the remaining EFL Trophy encounters with Plymouth and Norwich U21s.

Given the hectic schedule in 2020/21, Flynn will no doubt be keen to keep key figures fresh for League Two action.

Squad depth will be key and the manager was true to his word and rang the changes from the win against the Swans with just two survivors in the XI – left-back Ryan Haynes and midfielder Lewis Collins.

At the back, Brandon Cooper slotted into a back four after signing on loan from Swansea while Robbie Willmott came into midfield to provide some guidance for young Lewis.

Forward Saikou Janneh made his debut after signing on loan from Bristol City – he was an unused sub at the weekend – while targetman Ryan Taylor started after coming off the bench to help close the game out in the Welsh derby.

The nature of the performance against the Swans meant it would take something special to force a way into the starting line-up for Glanford Park, but plenty gave it a good crack.

Cheltenham also handed out chances after their 1-0 cup upset against Peterborough with goalkeeper Josh Griffiths the only player retained ahead of their opener at Morecambe.

He was relieved that the opener didn’t come from a mistake after a frantic start, with Amond’s charge down of his clearance drifting wide of the goal.

South Wales Argus:

After a rather manic opening - to be expected given the changes - the best chance fell to Janneh but he fired well over from Taylor's knock down after 16 minutes.

The loanee was full of running alongside fellow forwards Amond and Taylor, who have a fair few more miles on the clock.

At the other end, Tom King was thankful that the flag went up for offside after he spilled Alex Addai’s shot for Reuben Reid to net.

It was a game of few clear chances but the best game on the stroke of half-time when Cooper failed to hit the target from close range with a header from Haynes’ whipped corner.

The openings kept coming swiftly after the resumption with Amond, County’s best finisher, making a mess of a huge opportunity.

The ball came in from the left but the Irishman could only knee the ball towards the goal from six yards out, allowing Griffiths to get a hand to it and for it to be cleared off the line by Will Boyle.

Straight down the other end it took a smart save with his right foot by King to keep County’s clean sheet after Reid fired in shot from the right.

That was followed by a lull until the deadlock was broken in the 70th minute when Boyle clipped a cross in from the left for Reid to neatly nod home.

County didn’t respond immediately but should have been level with six minutes to go when the ball fell kindly to Lewis Collins, who shifted the ball superbly onto his left foot but then blazed over from eight yards out.

Another chance came in the 88th minute but Collins couldn’t connect with a right-footed volley and then Cheltenham escaped with bodies lying everywhere.

County had one last chance to force penalties but, to the fury of Amond, opted for a short corner rather than lumping it in the box and the visitors dealt with the danger to secure the spoils.

Newport County: King, Baker, Haynes (Twamley 83), Cooper, Willmott, Amond (captain), Janneh, Collins, Taylor (Hillier 78), Woodiwiss, Lewis (Shephard 68).

Subs not used: Brain, Dolan, Abrahams, Twine.

Yellow cards: Willmott

Cheltenham: Griffiths, Bowry, Reid, Blair (Clements 45), Boyle (captain), Addai, Freestone (Tozer 63), Lloyd, Bonds (Azaz 63), Chamberlain, Horton.

Subs: Harris, Campbell, Ebanks, Skurek

Yellow card: Horton

Referee: James Adcock