NEWPORT County AFC’s wait for an opening day win in League Two will stretch to eight years after being pegged back by a stunning strike at Glanford Park.

The Exiles were more than good value for a 1-0 lead at half-time after a goal that was celebrated by Tristan Abrahams but credited to fellow frontman Ryan Taylor.

But the half-time loss of Matty Dolan was felt in a more even contest after the break with Iron striker Ryan Loft levelling with a stunning strike approaching the hour.

That was how it ended despite some late pressure and a golden headed chance from a corner for centre-back Kyle Howkins.

A share of the spoils was probably fair and manager Michael Flynn will have been pleased by aspects of his team’s attacking play, especially in a fluent first half.

The amount of space that Scunthorpe were given after the resumption will have been a concern, and that was the prime reason that they weren’t able to bag three points in game one for the first time since beating Accrington 4-1 in 2013.

South Wales Argus:

Opportunity knocked in the two cup encounters that started the season with Flynn using 20 starters.

The boss reverted to those that upset the odds against Championship side Swansea with just one change, Taylor getting a role up front instead of Lewis Collins.

That meant Padraig Amond, who scored in both 2-1 wins against the Irons last season, had to settle for a spot on the bench along with on-loan Swan Brandon Cooper, who made an accomplished debut in the EFL Trophy loss to Cheltenham.

Flynn tinkered with his formation in midweek but went back to three central defenders, with Matty Dolan steering the ship after superb against the Jacks.

County made a bright start and, after left-back Ryan Haynes had shot tamely when cutting in for a right-footed shot, the visitors had the first big chance in the 11th minute.

A corner was worked for Liam Shephard to whip in from the right but big centre-back Kyle Howkins nodded wide on the far post when well placed.

County were on the front foot but it took a smart save from Nick Townsend to keep things level when a thumped clearance set big striker Ryan Loft, a summer signing from Leicester, through on goal and he sent in a low drive from a tight angle.

The Exiles ‘keeper saved well with his right foot and it then took a smart stop by his opposite number Rory Watson to deny Dolan with a long-range effort from a cleared free-kick.

Loft was the focal point for the hosts and he caused trouble in the box on 25 minutes that led to a second excellent save from Townsend, who denied George Hornshaw from close range when the ball fell kindly.

County reaped the rewards of their stopper’s effort when they hit the front shortly after being denied what looked to be a clear penalty.

Abrahams chased a ball over the top and, making the most of indecision, and looked to have been brought down by Watson.

Referee Benjamin Speedie shook his head, much to the forward’s amazement but the two-goal hero from the Swans upset was soon celebrating… although so was his fellow front man.

Good work down the left by Josh Sheehan led to Abrahams cleverly back-heeling towards goal where Ryan Taylor claimed to have got the final touch.

South Wales Argus:

It was one for them to sort out after the game – most importantly County had their lead.

They didn’t sit back and ended the half on top, with new boys Scott Twine and Liam Shephard looking lively, only for the Iron to hang on.

The Exiles were forced into a change for the second half with Dolan forced off and Cooper coming on to the right of the defensive three, Howkins moving to the middle.

County needed to reorganise with some space between defence and the sitting Sheehan that United tried to exploit.

A three-on-three allowed Eisa to fire off a shot from just outside the box but it was simple for Townsend.

The warning wasn’t heeded and Scunthorpe were level after 58 minutes thanks to an absolute rocket from Loft.

Flynn will be furious about the space that he got but the finish from the striker from long-range was fantastic, going into the top left corner past the diving Townsend.

County brought Saikou Janneh on for Taylor in a bid to wrestle back the momentum and the game was in the balance as the clock moved into the 70s and then the 80s.

The Exiles should have edged in front in the 83rd minute when a Twine corner was won by Howkins but the central defender headed down and the ball bounced over the bar.

Another corner was won down the left and this time it was scrambled clear by the hosts, who held on for a point despite some late Exiles pressure.

Scunthorpe: Watson, Bedeau, McGahey, Gilliead (captain), Loft, Eisa, Hippolyte, Spence, Vincent, Cordner, Hornshaw.
Substitutes: Kelsey, Colclough, Green, Jarvis, Dunnwald-Turan, Pugh, O'Malley.
Yellow: Loft, Spence
Goals: Loft

Newport County: Townsend, Haynes, Labadie, Howkins, Dolan (Cooper HT), Sheehan, Abrahams, Twine (Willmott 90), Demetriou, Taylor (Janneh 65), Shephard.
Substitutes: King, Baker, Cooper, Amond, Collins.
Goal: Taylor

Referee: Benjamin Speedie (Merseyside)