RED-HOT Dom Telford hit a hat-trick as Newport County AFC hammered Stevenage 5-0 to extend their unbeaten run in League Two.

The Exiles made it two from two under new boss James Rowberry thanks to a dominant display at Rodney Parade, winning successive games in the league for the first time this season.

County led 3-0 at the break and hadn’t even had to be at their very best.

Telford prodded in from close range in the 12th minute and doubled the advantage with the help of a deflection.

The job was pretty much done after 33 minutes with a Baker-Richardson thumping drive that will be a contender for League Two goal of the season, let alone County’s award.

South Wales Argus: SCREAMER: Courtney Baker-Richardson fires in the thirdSCREAMER: Courtney Baker-Richardson fires in the third

The Exiles came flying out for the second half and led 5-0 after 50 minutes thanks to a curling effort from Telford, who secured the matchball after two successive doubles, and a long-range drive by Finn Azaz.

It was a superb display of attacking verve by County, who broke with pace and thrived thanks to their cunning players in the final third.

Yet it was a win earned by their strike partnership and the difference from last season, when Michael Flynn’s side played some lovely football, is that there are players with a cutting edge.

Telford now has 10 for the season in all competitions to beat Padraig Amond’s nine from 2020/21 while his nine in the league eclipses Matty Dolan’s seven (five from the spot).

His combination with Baker-Richardson, who has scored three of his four goals from distance, is not only hard-working but potent.

The duo ensured that County got the job done by 4.07pm and it could have been a scoreline to surpass Southampton’s 8-0 in the Carabao Cup.

Now the Exiles have another week to work under new boss Rowberry before the mission for some revenge against Morecambe in the FA Cup.

Rowberry stuck with the side that played most of the game in Bristol, giving a start to midfielder Finn Azaz after he replaced the injured Matty Dolan in the opening stages at the Memorial Stadium.

That meant they started in a 4-4-2 with Robbie Willmott sitting in a diamond and the energetic young loan trio of Aston Villa’s Azaz, Liverpool’s Jake Cain and Swansea’s Ollie Cooper giving freedom to get on the ball and create.

Left-back Ryan Haynes and experienced midfielder Ed Upson were back from suspension but had to be content with spots in the bench with Dolan and Chris Missilou the ones to miss out.

Stevenage named the same side that drew 0-0 with Leyton Orient and had earned a point on their last trip to Newport.

The Exiles struggled to get going early on yet hit the front in the 12th minute through in-form striker Telford.

South Wales Argus: OPENER: Dom Telford struck for CountyOPENER: Dom Telford struck for County

A long throw was cleared back to Cameron Norman, who passed to Robbie Willmott to whip in a dangerous ball that was flicked on, hit defender Scott Cuthbert and left the County man with a tap-in.

The Exiles were not at their flowing best and Rowberry was animated on the touchline, but the manager got the second he wanted after 26 minutes.

Cooper won possession and drove towards the box before playing the ball to Telford, who tried his luck and got a second with the help of a deflection.

It was the turn of his strike partner in the 34th minute with a goal of the season contender from another break.

Telford played the ball to Baker-Richardson on the right and he absolutely leathered it from the edge of the box into the top left corner.

That Shearer-eque finish earned a 3-0 lead and it could have been more at the break with Demetriou having a shout for a penalty when seemingly clipped from a slick corner move, Telford denied by a solid stop from a header and Demetriou heading a yard over from a corner.

Rowberry and Wayne Hatswell would have hammered home the importance of County keeping their foot down during the break.

They nearly got the perfect start but Telford was twice denied by blocks from close range in the first minute of the second half.

He didn’t have to wait long to complete his hat-trick with an assist by referee Will Finnie to keep play going after a foul on Azaz, Baker-Richardson playing the ball to his strike partner to curl in left-footed from the edge of the box.

It was soon 5-0 with a goal that normally would have been County’s goal of the month but wasn’t even their goal of the day.

Azaz was given too much space outside the box and cut across the ball to find the top-right corner.

There were more chances to come for County but it wasn’t Baker-Richardson on the end of them after he limped off after 62 minutes to be replaced by Kevin Ellison.

The striker has a history of quad injuries but didn’t appear to be too upset when heading to the dugout, taking time to high five fans on his way.

Ellison thought he’d made it 6-0 after 74 minutes when he slotted from Norman’s header across the box but the flag went up because the right-back had strayed offside.

Telford’s afternoon was over when targetman Alex Fisher was called on for the last 16 minutes then Robbie Willmott was replaced by Upson, a sign of the sometimes-maligned stalwart’s influence over the 2020/21 team.

County could have hit six had Cooper been a little more cutthroat after a dribble into the box – that is a clear work-on for the lively Swansea prospect – but nearly lost their clean sheet in the closing stages.

Mickey Demetriou sold Joe Day short with a back-pass and the goalkeeper wisely given the scoreline opted not to slide in on Elliot List, who cut the ball back only for the man who started it all with the error to produce a big block before holding his hands up.

There was still time for Ellison to go close from a Norman cross but County had to be content with just five on a superb afternoon.

County: Day, Norman, Clarke, Lewis, Demetriou, Willmott (Upson 77), Cain, Azaz, Cooper, Telford (Fisher 74), Baker-Richardson (Ellison 62).
Substitutes not used: Townsend, Haynes, Abraham, Collins.
Goals: Telford (3), Baker-Richardson, Azaz

Stevenage: Smith, James-Wildin, Coker, Reeves, Cuthbert, Prosser, List, Taylor, Norris, Lines, Barry.
Substitutes: Anang, Osborne, Andrade, Vancooten, Reid, Melbourne, Marshall.

Referee: Will Finnie
Attendance: 3,439 (92 away)