NEWPORT County AFC will be in with the Premier League big boys in round three of the FA Cup after beating League Two rivals Salford City 3-0 at Rodney Parade.

The Exiles will watch on with interest on Monday evening to see who they draw as they attempt to enjoy another run in the famous competition to go along with a promotion push.

County were beaten on penalties by Salford in the semi-finals of last season’s EFL Trophy and suffered more pain from the spot when Mickey Demetriou was denied early on.

It was goalless at the break but a red card for Brandon Asante helped to swing it County’s way.

Striker Jamie Proctor superbly headed the hosts into the lead after 55 minutes – his first for the club after arriving on loan from Rotherham.

He was replaced by Padraig Amond for the last 20 minutes and the cup king swiftly settled the tie from the spot.

Inspired Salford stopper Vaclav Hladky kept the damage down until lively sub Saikou Janneh slammed home impressively in stoppage time.

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It ended up being a comfortable win for table-topping County, who now have a vital and manic block of League Two fixtures that starts at Forest Green on Tuesday.

Flynn, no doubt with that schedule in mind, tinkered with both his team and formation from the midweek draw against Walsall.

Wales squad member Tom King, who has played second fiddle to Nick Townsend, was in goal for the first time since the EFL Trophy defeat to Norwich U21s at the start of October and he was behind a back four rather than three centre-backs.

Matty Dolan was replaced by Scott Bennett, who partnered Josh Sheehan in midfield rather than slotting in between Brandon Cooper and Demetriou.

Liam Shephard and Ryan Haynes were full-backs rather than wing-backs with Robbie Willmott and Jamie Devitt coming into the XI on the flanks.

On-loan Scott Twine was allowed to play by Swindon, who were knocked out of the competition in round one, and he pushed forward to support striker Proctor.

Salford boast a strong squad for League Two and rang the changes with just two survivors from their win against Morecambe, perhaps suggesting Richie Wellens doesn’t want knockout football to derail their push up the table.

County had the first chance after four minutes with a whipped cross from Devitt falling to Twine, whose shot was excellently blocked by Jordan Turnbull.

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Penalty practice had been on the Exiles’ training schedule and Demetriou had a chance to open the scoring after eight minutes when left-back Kevin Berkoe handled the ball when outfoxed by Willmott.

Practice didn’t make perfect – Demetriou’s placed effort was comfortably saved by Vaclav Hladky to his right.

County were on top, albeit without testing the visiting ‘keeper, with the presence of Bennett ensuring Shephard and Haynes still have licence to bomb on.

It was a game of very little goalmouth action after half an hour passed, with Salford snapping at Sheehan, sometimes legally but often fouling, to prevent the Wales international dictating play.

Salford created a half-chance approaching the break when Devitt was caught sleeping down the left but a cross by Tylor Golden from the right was put wide by George Boyd.

Twine then forced a good stop from Hladky when the keeper was forced to scramble after his own sloppy pass from the back, switched-on defender Oscar Threlkeld completing the escape.

Penalty apart, it was a pretty uneventful half with neither side getting on top but County had a chance to control matters less than a minute after the restart.

A good ball over the top was excellently dealt with by King, who was then clobbered late by Asante. It seemed a genuine attempt for the ball but the forward was shown red after referee Kevin Johnson deemed it was late and dangerous.

Flynn reacted by bringing on forward Saikou Janneh for Haynes and the Exiles’ ambition was swiftly rewarded after 55 minutes, with his strike partner getting up and running in amber.

Willmott checked back to cross from the right and Proctor rose to head across Hladky into the bottom corner.

The energy of Janneh made a big difference while Willmott was causing problems down the right; his delightful clipped cross had County pleading without luck for a second penalty when Proctor went to ground.

The scorer was replaced by Padraig Amond after 71 minutes as the Exiles looked to settle the tie and he did when Twine was tumbled in the box, Berkoe again the offender.

It looked soft – and the midfielder does have a tendency for theatrics – but County weren’t complaining and their striker put too much pace on his penalty for Hladky, who guessed correctly to his left.

The goalkeeper denied County a third with two superb saves, the first at full stretch from a curling Sheehan long-range effort and the second with his body from sub Kevin Ellison’s close-range flick.

Hladky saved his best for the 88th minute with a strong hand to deny Janneh’s chipped effort in a one-on-one.

But there was to be no stopping Saikou in injury time with the Bristol City prospect showing fast feet to work an opening in the box before finishing comprehensively.

County: King, Shephard, Cooper, Demetriou, Haynes (Janneh 52), Willmott, Sheehan (captain), Bennett, Devitt (Ellison 65), Twine, Proctor (Amond 71).
Substitutes: Townsend, Baker, Labadie, Abrahams.
Yellow cards: 
Goals: Proctor, Amond, Janneh

Salford: Hladky, Golden, Eastham (captain), Turnbull, Berkoe, Threlkeld, Fielding, Boyd, Hawkins, Dieseruvwe, Asante.
Substitutes: Evans, Bernard, Hunter, Andrade, Armstrong, Denny, Sargent.

Referee: Kevin Johnson