NEWPORT County suffered their first defeat of the League Two season as they were beaten 2-1 at Cambridge United.

A goal in either half from home striker Paul Mullin gave Cambridge the three points which saw them jump above Newport on goal difference. The result also saw County fall off the top.

Scott Twine’s wonder goal got Mike Flynn’s Exiles back into the clash, but it was not enough.

In their change red strip, Newport handed Scot Bennett and Padraig Amond their first league starts of the season as Brandon Cooper missed out altogether.

Flynn’s side were the dominant and more dangerous side in the first 10 minutes despite Cambridge striker Mullin shooting from distance. Nick Townsend saved easily before the Newport goalkeeper raced out of his goal to clear a Wes Hoolahan through ball.

Amond headed a Liam Shephard cross wide in County’s first chance.

Cambridge’s Luke Hannant collided with Joss Labadie and was lucky to escape any sort of card for kicking out at the Newport captain.

It would have been no surprise had referee Carl Brook given a yellow or even a red.

Labadie then fired over after Josh Sheehan and Twine had led the charge.


Cambridge had a goal rightly ruled out for offside when Harry Darling headed in from a set-piece as torrential rain came down at Abbey Stadium.

Cambridge were suddenly full of beans. A stunning save from Townsend denied Mullins as former Norwich man Hoolahan pulled the strings for the home side. Bennett, who had already been booked, was given a final warning but it was no surprise when Cambridge moved ahead. It was that man Hoolahan who did the damage setting up Mullin who couldn’t miss.

Brook delayed the start of the second half as the rain which had come at the end of the first period had been so heavy it had left the pitch heavily saturated in certain parts.

Once the ground staff had done their work, the action resumed. Hoolahan had a shot deflected over and Mickey Demetriou defended smartly to stop a Cambridge second.

Amond was robbed on the counter after a superb Sheehan pass and it was his last action as the Irishman was replaced by 41-year-old Kevin Ellison.

After more rain came down, Cambridge made it 2-0 in the 61st minute.

Mullin grabbed his second with a finish into the roof of the net and the goal had been coming.

Saikou Janneh replaced Bennett and out of nowhere Newport got one back.

It was a phenomenal strike from Twine as he carried forward in the tricky, wet conditions and unleashed a thunderous shot from 35 yards into the top corner.

Mullin hit the side netting as he looked for his hat-trick and Ellison and Janneh headed wide as Newport built up a head of steam guided by Twine.

Robbie Willmott was Flynn’s third and final substitution as Mullin also made way, but there was to be no Newport comeback as Matty Dolan blazed over at the death.

Cambridge United (4-2-3-1): Mitov; Knoyle, Taylor, Darling, Iredale, Dunk; Digby, May (Boateng 75); Hannant, Hoolahan (Knibbs 81), Dunk; Mullin (Ironside 81)

Substitutes not used: Cundy, Davies, El Mizouni, Burton

Goals: Mullin 38, 61

Booked: May, Mullin

Newport County (3-5-2): Townsend; Bennett (Janneh 63); Dolan, Demetriou; Shephard (Willmott 78), Labadie (capt), Sheehan, Twine, Haynes; Amond (Ellison 54), Abrahams

Substitutes not used: King, Baker, Woodiwiss, Webb

Goal: Twine 67

Booked: Bennett, Haynes

Referee: Carl Brook

Star man: Wes Hoolahan (Cambridge United)