NEWPORT County AFC boss Michael Flynn hailed his makeshift central defensive duo of Matty Dolan and Scot Bennett after a “rugged” performance to end the 14-match unbeaten run of promotion rivals Bolton Wanderers.

The Exiles revived their hopes of pushing for League One thanks to a 1-0 victory at Rodney Parade that was earned by Nicky Maynard’s 64th minute finish.

The veteran striker fired home from a tight angle to earn the lead against a wasteful Wanderers, who were denied deep in injury time by a superb stop on the line by Nick Townsend.

Bolton suffered a first defeat since January to drop out of the top three while County remain seventh, just four points back on the automatic promotion spots with a game in hand.

Flynn’s side took the spoils despite a second-half reshuffle that saw Dolan, who has been converted from being a midfielder to playing at the heart of a defensive three, joining forces with utility man Bennett, who is most comfortable in midfield.

South Wales Argus: RESHUFFLE: County were forced into a change when Priestley Farquharson limped off, with Joe Ledley coming onRESHUFFLE: County were forced into a change when Priestley Farquharson limped off, with Joe Ledley coming on

“They were brilliant, absolutely brilliant,” who took central defender David Longe-King off at half-time as a tactical change to a back four only to see Priestley Farquharson limp off.

“They are outstanding, experienced professionals and they very rarely let me down. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

County dug deep for the spoils after Bolton had wasted a glut of first-half chances, with Flynn not caring a jot about the Exiles riding their luck.

“We were very fortunate to go in level, they missed three really good chances,” he said. “In the second half we grew in confidence even with the makeshift back four that we had.

“I am just pleased with the three points because we have played a lot better in the last three and haven’t got a point.

“I don’t care how the points come. Bolton will be saying they were the better team and that they should have won but we are at the business end of the season and I just want the points.

“It was a rugged performance, we stuck up for each other. When somebody made a mistake, a teammate got them out of it.

“That’s what we haven’t been doing recently. Every single team in the last three that we have played have said how good we are but at the minute I’d rather they were saying ‘we should have battered you there’ after we’ve won.”

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County return to action at Mansfield on Friday when a win would put them in touching distance of the top three and also give them a buffer over the chasing pack.

Of the other promotion contenders, only Salford were winners on Bank Holiday Monday.

“It’s all the play for. We can look at other results today because we took care of business,” said Flynn, whose side ended a three-game losing streak.

“We got away with one on Friday [after losing at Barrow] when results went for us on the whole. Today they have as well, but there will be twists and turns all the way.”

County will have central defender Mickey Demetriou back from suspension for the trip to Mansfield.