NEWPORT County AFC conceded a late double to suffer a pre-season defeat at Cardiff City.

The Bluebirds took the spoils 2-0 at Cardiff International Sports Stadium thanks to Gavin Whyte's opener after 77 minutes and Tom Crole's clincher.

County agreed to Cardiff's request to switch to a regular 90-minute encounter in Leckwith rather than the planned pair of hour-long games.

However, they still fielded a pair of separate XIs with Priestley Farquharson the only senior player not to feature as he continues his recovery from knee surgery that ended his 2021/22 campaign early.

The central defender could feature for the first time this summer when County travel to Weston-super-Mare on Friday.

That fixture is followed by a Saturday trip to Torquay as James Rowberry starts to think about settling on combinations ahead of the League Two opener at Sutton United.

It was a pair of mix-and-match sides in muggy conditions in the capital with the visitors playing 3-5-2 in both halves.

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It was goalless at the break after a half in which County were almost entirely in defence, offering little fluidity in attack.

Cardiff hit the post in the fifth minute when Ryan Wintle swung in a corner but Perry Ng could only head against the post.

After 14 minutes it took a diving stop to his left by Nick Townsend, now an international after representing Antigua and Barbuda this summer, to deny Tom Sang from distance.

The Bluebirds continued to have the better of things in the muggy conditions with Mark Harris firing wide after Declan Drysdale was caught out by a long ball before the summer arrival from Coventry followed that negative with a positive to bravely block Jamilu Collins' cross/shot after he was worked in down the left.

County had their first sniff after 41 minutes but left-back Adam Lewis was unable to connect properly with Cameron Norman’s deep cross from the right.

It was all change at the break and it took good work by teenage defender Harrison Bright to clear the danger after a whipped ball in from the right by Gavin Whyte.

County had their first big chance after 56 minutes when Offrande Zanzala mugged goalkeeper Ryan Allsop but couldn't hit the target with his chip as the defence scrambled.

It should have been 1-0 at the other end approaching the hour but Whyte failed to make the most of a defensive mix-up.

County then should have hit the front after 75 minutes when Zanzala was worked in down the left but he failed to find a finish with his left-footed shot going across the goal and evading strike partner Chanka Zimba.

Cardiff made them pay after 75 minutes when Crole raced clear and crossed for Whyte to slot from close range.

Evans was unable to hit the target with a header as County hunted a rapid response.

Yet it was 2-0 with 10 minutes to go when Whyte repaid the favour to drive at the defence and play in Crole, who finished powerfully past Joe Day.

Evans suffered a blow to the head in the closing stages with Lewys Twamley coming on as the Exiles took no risks with the youngster having the final act when driving a shot narrowly over in added time.

County first half: Nick Townsend, Declan Drysdale, James Clarke, Joe Woodiwiss, Cameron Norman, Scot Bennett, Robbie Willmott (captain), Jack Karadogan, Adam Lewis, Lewis Collins, Omar Bogle.
County second half: Joe Day, Harrison Bright, Matt Dolan (captain), Mickey Demetriou, Aaron Lewis, Sam Bowen, Aaron Wildig, James Waite, Will Evans (Lewys Twamley), Chanka Zimba, Offrande Zanzala