MANAGER James Rowberry believes Newport County AFC showed a new physical edge after sharing the spoils with Sutton United in their League Two opener.

The opening day clash at Gander Green Lane ended 1-1 after Omar Bugiel’s opener for the hosts was cancelled out in the first half by Omar Bogle on debut, the striker powerfully heading in Mickey Demetriou’s long throw.

The Exiles finished strongly but couldn’t find a winner against a side that also battled for the play-off spots last season.

“I am really pleased, it’s a good start to the season with a point away from home,” said Rowberry. “I was always told that if you draw your away games and win at home then you’ll do alright.

“It’s an improvement and development from last season when we came here and lost [1-0]. We went a goal down and came back from a set play.

“It’s different when you come to Sutton, you have to adapt because they are a tough team to play against but I felt we dealt with that well.”

The hosts were good value for their lead but the Exiles levelled through Bogle and then had the better of the second half.

South Wales Argus:

“I think that we have shown greater physicality,” said Rowberry. “We showed that we can do both elements of the game.

“People talk about the purer side, which we demonstrated last year, but now we have shown that physical element that we need at times.

“Now we can do both but when we went into the front line we showed how well we can link up play, because they really pressed us and got on top of us.”

County will get more fluent as the weeks go on after handing starts to six debutants – central defender Declan Drysdale, left wing-back Will Evans, midfielders Sam Bowen and Aaron Wildig and striker Bogle and Offrande Zanzala.

Cardiff City loanee Chanka Zimba came off the bench in added time while Liverpool left-back Adam Lewis was an unused sub.

“Seven new players made their club debuts and we bear that in mind,” said Rowberry.

“We always have things to work on and you can’t judge our midfield on today because it wasn’t really a game to play through them.

“We went around and beyond Sutton but what pleased me with the three of them was that we could get around first contacts and second balls, we could be industrious.

“There has always been certain question marks about us with that but hopefully we are putting that to bed. Certain games dictate certain style and we showed that today.”

“What will happen now, once you see ‘Oz’ [Zanzala] running in behind, is that teams will have to drop off and then you get Aaron Wildig and Sam Bowen on the ball and you evolve your game that way.”

Next up is a reunion with Michael Flynn whose Walsall side got off to a flying start with a 4-0 win over Hartlepool.