BOSS Michael Flynn insists his Newport County AFC players are not getting carried away by their table-topping start to the season.

County’s lead at the League Two summit was cut from five points to two on Tuesday night after a below-par display saw them beaten 3-2 by Carlisle United.

Flynn’s men had made the long trip north on the back of a five-match winning run, but they were a clear second best to the Cumbrians, who moved up to fifth with the win.

A contentious penalty, converted by Lewis Alessandra, gave the hosts a 1-0 interval lead, before Jon Mellish’s double took the game away from the Exiles.

Late replies from substitute Jamie Devitt and Josh Sheehan gave the visitors hope of salvaging the unlikeliest of points, but Carlisle clung on to climb into the play-off places.

“I think the best team won,” admitted Flynn after the final whistle at Brunton Park. “I know we were a lot better in the second half, but they probably should have been 3-0 up at half-time.

“We still kept going, kept digging in, kept trying to force the issue and nearly got the equaliser at the end, which probably would have been a little bit harsh on Carlisle.

“They’ve got a very good home record and they’re a good team, we knew that before we came here.

“We just didn’t start, and it was a sloppy penalty to give away.

“They pressed us, which they wanted to do, and we didn’t really back ourselves.

“We got them in at half-time and told them we needed to keep backing ourselves.

“We changed it a little bit and I thought we caused them a lot more problems in the second half and we were a lot better.”

He added: “Without being too harsh on the players, Carlisle deserved to win, it’s quite simple really.

“The lads kept believing and having a go, and the goals were sloppy as well, they were quite cheap.

“The players have done tremendously well, being where they are, but it’s early days and they definitely aren’t getting carried away.”

County now turn their attention to the first round of the FA Cup this Saturday and a clash with Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium.

And Flynn will hope to have the likes of skipper Joss Labadie, Scott Twine and Liam Shephard available.

Labadie hobbled off during the first half of Tuesday night’s fixture, while Twine (dead leg) was an unused substitute and Shephard (knee) didn’t travel.

“It’s all about how we react, and it’s a tough challenge,” said Flynn.

“Obviously, we’ve missed a couple today. Joss Labadie had to go off early, Scott Twine has got a dead leg and Liam Shephard has got a bit of swelling on his knee.

“It’s not ideal but that’s the whole idea of having a bigger squad.”