NEWPORT County AFC’s endured a flat end to their League Two season after being condemned to a fifth home defeat on the spin by Rochdale.

The Exiles’ promotion bid was scuppered by poor form on home soil and it continued in their finale with a 2-0 loss, James Rowberry’s side failing to hit the heights of their 1-0 win at Port Vale.

County trailed 1-0 at the break after an underwhelming first half with the goal coming from Matt Done, who slammed home after the flag stayed down.

Rob Street missed a golden chance to level after 66 minutes then Dom Telford was twice denied a 26th league goal on his way to the golden boot by blocks.

They paid the price when Abraham Odoh finished smartly from inside the box in added time.

Defeat means County finish 11th in the table, some way off the top seven and with plenty of work to do over the summer if they are to be challengers next season.

South Wales Argus: Finn Azaz on the run for CountyFinn Azaz on the run for County

Rowberry made three changes to the XI from the win at Port Vale with left-back Aaron Lewis and striker Street in for the injured Ryan Haynes and Courtney Baker-Richardson respectively while Ollie Cooper got the nod in midfield ahead of fellow loanee Jake Cain.

Young defender Harrison Bright was again a substitute, hoping for a League Two debut, while he was joined on the bench by Kevin Ellison, with the 43-year-old aspiring coach having a decision to make about playing on.

County got into some promising positions in the opening exchanges without creating any clear chances.

They were then hit by a sucker punch by ‘Dale after 15 minutes when the home defence was caught out for the second time in quick succession.

Ethan Brierley’s through ball put Done through and, after the flag stayed down, he slammed past Nick Townsend with his left foot.

That was swiftly followed by the first change of the afternoon with referee Lee Swabey limping off to be replaced by fourth official Simon Shaw.

The theme continued for County, who were let down by decision-making and their final ball in the final third.

Brierley danced through the midfield and defence too easily after 33 minutes but his shot was weak and straight at Townsend then the Exiles had their first sniff.

The ball fell to Scot Bennett on the edge of the box and he drove powerfully at goal with his weaker left only to be denied by a brave Max Taylor block six yards out, with ‘keeper Jake Eastwood flying to his right behind the defender.

County finished with the edge in terms of territory and possession but failed to build up a head of steam and headed to their changing room 1-0 down.

South Wales Argus: Dom Telford fires in a shotDom Telford fires in a shot

Rowberry made a half-time substitution with Liverpool loanee Cain coming on for Cooper.

County started on the front foot but were still being let down by the final delivery, with Azaz unusually a prime offender.

A big chance was wasted after 56 minutes when Cain put a ball in from the right but Street headed over on the stretch with James Clarke better placed behind him. Was there a shout? Was it loud enough?

County made their second change on the hour when Bennett was forced off, leading to a chance for young Bright down the right. Dolan moved to midfield with Norman at the heart of the defensive three.

It should have been level after 66 minutes when Cain once again provided a big opening but Street, after being played through like Done, opened up his body to use his right and rolled the ball wide in a one-on-one.

The chances were suddenly coming and Dom Telford was denied twice in quick succession, first when a header was blocked by the defence and then by the body of ‘keeper Eastwood when he slammed in first-time effort from Cain’s through ball.

That was his last act – possibly in amber – with Rowberry bringing on Lewis Collins up front with 17 minutes to go.

County went close again with 10 to go when Josh Pask drove forward and had a crack from distance only for Eastwood to solidly save.

Rochdale almost got their clincher in the 89th minute but Josh Andrews fired narrowly wide from inside the area with Townsend beaten.

It came shortly afterwards when Odoh found the corner from inside the box.

County: Townsend, Norman, Clarke, Dolan (captain), Pask, Lewis, Bennett (Bright 60), Azaz, Cooper (Cain 45), Telford (Collins 73), Street.
Substitutes not used: Day, Ellison, Waite, Fisher.

Rochdale: Eastwood, O'Keeffe, McNulty, O'Connell, Taylor, Clark, Brierley, Dooley, Grant, Done, Charman.
Substitutes: Kelly, White, Newby, Odoh, Andrews, Kelly, Cashman.
Goal: Done, Odoh.

Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 5,322 (327 away)