MANAGER Michael Flynn felt life on the road caught up with his heavy-legged Newport County AFC side at Port Vale – but has called on them to rally for one last effort in the promotion race before a well-earned breather.

The Exiles missed a golden opportunity to put the top three under pressure when they suffered a 2-1 League Two loss at Vale Park on Tuesday evening.

They made a sluggish start and trailed 1-0 after an early goal by Tom Conlon but levelled when Jake Scrimshaw scored after being put in by fellow half-time substitute Luke Gambin.

However, it was the hosts that took the spoils to ease their relegation fears when Devante Rodney slammed home after 74 minutes.

“We started slowly and that’s understandable with the fourth away game in two weeks with some long journeys,” said Flynn, whose lost at Tranmere before winning against Colchester and Morecambe.

"It's been weeks of Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday; we have had four long trips and the players have been super.

South Wales Argus: Kevin Ellison flicks the ball on as County hunt a late levellerKevin Ellison flicks the ball on as County hunt a late leveller

“I am not going to stand here and put them down because they have given everything. As long as they continue to do that then the ball could be in our court because of the teams that we have to play at home.

“Second half we were the better team and got the goal. We looked like we were going to go on and win it then but conceded a bit of a soft goal.

“You have to give Port Vale credit, they came out of the blocks really well. The goals that we conceded were not great and we huffed and puffed late on.

“I can’t fault their effort, they kept tying and we go again on Saturday.”

County remain fourth and need to respond when they welcome Leyton Orient to Cardiff City Stadium.

The Exiles then have a two-week break for the international period while their promotion rivals continue to play.

“It’s a big game now for obvious reasons on Saturday. We want to get back on track and hit the 60-point barrier,” said Flynn.

“That’s the next target, we know that we have a two-week period without a game and want to have as many points as we can.”

It was a missed opportunity in Staffordshire but Flynn stuck with his mantra of not getting too high in victory or too low in defeat.

“Because of where we are in the table and where Port Vale are, people expect you to win,” he said. “But have a look at what happened to Cheltenham (the leaders lost at home to third from bottom Barrow).

“There will be lot of speedbumps along the way, there will be ups and downs. We’ve got to regroup and go again for Saturday because it’s an important game.”

Striker Nicky Maynard missed the defeat at Vale Park with a sore neck but should return against Orient while left wing-back Ryan Haynes remains a doubt with the groin injury that has forced him to miss three games.

County's next game after the Orient fixture is a trip to Barrow on April 2.
That is the start of a hectic nine-game run-in, five at home and four away, in the space of five weeks.

Six of the games are against sides in the promotion mix with Bolton, Carlisle, Cambridge, Crawley and Cheltenham heading for Rodney Parade and a trip to Exeter.